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Football corruption – not just about gambling, it’s also about influence

By Walter Broeckx

Since this week the possibility of match fixing has been smashed in our faces and from now on nobody can deny that there might be something wrong with the game I want to take it one step further.

Untold was the first publication to speak openly and repeatedly about our serious doubts about the way some games have gone.  And now official instances are confirming what we have been saying for years.

Those of us who write for Untold have been called all sorts of names in the past. But events are starting to tell us that what looked to be the stupid ideas of a few lunatics are not that stupid at all.

So now, with the giant database we are building up with the ref reviews where we can even dig deeper in the performances themselves we get more and more evidence to the effect that some things not being as they should be.

In my years of writing for this blog I have written a lot about referees. I have written a lot about some refs in particular. But I have never have taken the time to analyse the entire career of a ref and put it in a time line. And then add a few other outside circumstances to it that might shed a light on the way things have been going. Now I have taken the time to do this. And the first one to have a closer look at is our friend Mike Dean.

I have previously written about Dean to the effect that I think he is a ref who goes along with the people who have power. And on this point, as on so many others, some people have questioned my mental health and I do appreciate their concern).

But now is the time to move on and see if we can find some strange things in his Mike Dean’s career. Join me in a review of a 13 year long ref career and see the numbers.

Dean starts his career in the PL in 2000.

16/09/2000 Arsenal – Coventry 2-1

09/11/2002 Arsenal – Newcastle 1-0

19/01/2003 Arsenal – West Ham 3-1

27/08/2003 Arsenal – Aston Villa 2-0

01/11/2003 Leeds – Arsenal 1-4

09/05/2004 Fulham – Arsenal 0-1

02/10/2004 Arsenal – Charlton 4-0

06/11/2004 Crystal Palace – Arsenal 1-1

24/09/2005 West Ham – Arsenal 0-0

15/04/2006 Arsenal – West Brom 3-1

 

Games won draw lost

10

8

2

0

Before 2006

80,00%

20,00%

0,00%

 

Dein sits on the FA Board until 2 June 2006.

At this point he was replaced by David Gill, chief executive of Manchester United. So the influence of Arsenal in the FA goes down and the influence of Manchester United goes up at the same time. Can we see a change in the results?

25/11/2006 Bolton-Arsenal 3-1

26/12/2006 Watford – Arsenal 1-2

21/04/2007 Spurs – Arsenal 2-2

05/12/2007 Newcastle – Arsenal 1-1

23/02/2008 Birmingham – Arsenal 2-2

13/09/2008 Blackburn – Arsenal 0-4

30/11/2008 Chelsea – Arsenal 1-2

08/02/2009 Spurs – Arsenal 0-0

16/05/2009 Man Utd – Arsenal 0-0

Games won draw lost

9

3

5

1

2006-2009

33,33%

55,56%

11,11%

 

Well you certainly can see a change in the results. Suddenly the win percentage of Arsenal goes down in a dramatic way. From 80% to 33 %.  It is not yet a complete disaster but you sure can see a change.

June 2009 Mike Riley becomes head of the PGMOL.   By this time Mike Riley is known as a Manchester United ref. Riley who single-handedly ended our unbeaten run at Old Trafford. And what can we see from that moment on?

29/08/2009 Man Utd – Arsenal 2-1

16/12/2009 Burnley – Arsenal 1-1

07/02/2010 Chelsea – Arsenal 2-0

24/04/2010 Arsenal – Man City 0-0

03/10/2010 Chelsea – Arsenal 2-0

07/11/2010 Arsenal – Newcastle 0-1

02/10/2011 Spurs – Arsenal 2-1

26/11/2011 Arsenal – Fulham 1-1

22/01/2011 Arsenal – Man Utd 1-2

26/02/2012 Arsenal – Tottenham 5-2

31/03/2012 QPR – Arsenal 2-1

21/04/2012 Arsenal – Chelsea 0-0

23/09/2012 Man City – Arsenal 1-1

03/11/2012 Man Utd – Arsenal 2-1

13/01/2013 Arsenal – Man City 0-2

 

Games won draw lost

15

1

5

9

Since 2009

6,67%

33,33%

60,00%

 

So the appointment of a Manchester United person in replacement of Dein gave a first change in direction for Dean. But since the day Riley took over at the PGMOL it is clear that Dean has opened all cylinders and has had an open bias against Arsenal. The win percentage goes from 80% down to around 7%!!!!

For your information Arsenal have a win percentage in general of around 53,45 % over the PL years.

So for those who suggested I needed psychiatric help when I said that there is something wrong with Dean and his behaviour, there is still the opportunity to think that is the case and neglect or ignore all the evidence presented.   Everyone in a democracy is free to stick his/her head in the sand.

I have said  before that Dean is not anti-Arsenal because it is Arsenal that he dislikes. No Dean is anti-Arsenal because it helps his career. Dean will follow who ever calls the shots in the PGMOL and the FA.

And for your information I will add that for the last few weeks we have not only have Riley doing the ref appointments at the PGMOL.   There is also now the fact that there is a new chairman in the PGMOL. It is former Blackburn chairman John Williams. After leaving Blackburn Mr. Williams joined Manchester City. And from Manchester City he went to the PGMOL.

So now we have both clubs from Manchester occupying high places not only in the FA but also in the PGMOL.

And each appointment of Dean in any Arsenal game is not just a slap in the face of each Arsenal supporter, it is also a slap in the face of football in general. A slap in the face for those who want football to be a fair sport where the outcome is decided on the field, and not by refs who are far more busy with their own politics and career, rather than caring exclusively with what is fair on the field.

Those numbers above show something horribly wrong in the entire system of the FA and the PGMOL.  But we are not holding our breath to see Mike Riley take action. He probably will do what he always does when there is a problem: deny it.

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Farewell sad France; Ligue 1 dies as Qatar takes over

By Tony Attwood

When Mr Wenger first came to our club and started bringing in French players like Patrick Vieira and Remi Garde I detected a certain pride among some followers of football in France that their players were getting extra recognition.

I am sure some fans were annoyed that these players were continuing or starting to play outside France, but there was also a feeling expressed in L’Equipe and elsewhere that, over time, Arsenal was becoming a French club playing in the English league.

Now however everything has changed.  Whereas Gilles Grimandi used to turn up at third division matches as the only scout, now he has to do battle with scouts from teams across Europe.  When Mr Wenger had to fly out to chat to the parents of Gaël Clichy and stay there until they were convinced that the player would be a member of the first team squad, now the parents of up and coming players ask, “Are you working with Qatar?”

And as a result, the French league is not quite what it was.

Partly this is due to the changes in the tax situation.  The revolutionary idea that footballers should pay proper tax rates started in Spain where there was a plan announced in 2012 for footballers to pay tax at 56%, rather than the ludicrously low rate previously established under the Beckham Law, as it was called.  But I think I am right in saying that this has not been implemented – or at least in full.

What has changed in Spain is that the Spanish tax offices revealed that Spain’s football clubs had paid more than €300m to them in one year – a record.  The total debt to them however is still €700m.  €55.3m of the amount clawed back had come through seizing property or rights from clubs, with a total of 278 actions of embargo carried out in a 12 month period.

Now France is having a go as François Hollande has announced that he will impose a 75% tax on footballers’ salaries.   It was suggested that many players would leave, and then TV income and attendances would fall.   Hollande retreated somewhat but players are still leaving Ligue 1 faster than before.

But that is only half the story.  Because elsewhere we have PSG for whom money is no object at all, and for whom it seems FFP is just a story that the bogey man tells children.  It has nothing to do with them.  This is because Paris Saint-Germain is owned by Qatar.
(However it should be added that the basis of the Qatari defence of PSG is that other clubs have had 30 years to build up squads and traditions, and they have only had 18 months.  So it is simply “not fair” for PSG to be stopped in its tracks.  As a defence it is quite cute, but doesn’t really have much of a legal basis).

The problem for France is not only is there the talk of high rates of tax, but there is a growing number of places for French players to choose from.  It is no longer all about Arsenal (as witness our recent propensity for players from Spain).   Russia has has a number of billionaire clubs (as shown in our series on The Billionaire Owners – link below).    Turkey has the money but is also mired in corruption scandals, and there are tempting offers from the Middle East, China and Brazil where the economy is growing at an unprecedented rate.

We saw in the transfer window how it plays out.  As the very top players go to PSG or out of the country, so the middling players also move – but not within France.   QPR and Newcastle are now touted as destinations, which is where one starts to feel that things are not going well for the French League.

Loic Rémy and Stéphane Mbia went to QPR and Guillaume Hoarau went to Dalian Aerbin in China.  Perhaps even more tellingly Nene of Brazil went from  PSG to Al-Gharafa in Qatar.

And that last move tells you everything you need to know about what is going on.  Think odd transfers and you think 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.   The PR exercise in buying up football started the moment Qatar knew they were winning the World Cup, and continues to 2022.  After that, who knows.

So just how is Qatar changing football – and how much further will it go?

Al Jazeera Sports (a Qatari company) owns the exclusive broadcasting rights in the Middle East for La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A and others.  In 2011 it bought the rights to French football league games on French TV and and the full marketing rights for the French league outside France. It also has the rights in France for UEFA Champions League 2012-15.  It has launched in America and covers the American football league and international matches.

The main concern of the country is security. It doesn’t want a revolution but it wants to play with the big boys.  70 percent of its income comes from gas exports – it has the third biggest gas reserves in the world.  Between 1998 and 2008, world gas prices tripled and so Qatar became rich.  But what goes up can fall back down,  as the American gas situation has shown.  Prices for gas in the US have fallen so much that they can’t export it, all because they now have so much gas… from shale.

So if gas prices fall there could be a problem – hence diversity.  Qatar built the Shard in London. In Paris, they are investing in the outskirts of towns (the banlieux) which often have high African Muslim populations.  The idea is that if the ruling dynasty is ever threatened by public uprising, there ought to be a few friends around the world ready to help them.

The UK gets half its gas from Qatar, so its involvement in Britain is easy to understand.  This is indeed why Qatar bought Manchester City via Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani.

The influence is everywhere.  The shirts of Barcelona FC, which were supposedly “sacred” now carry the logo of Qatar Foundation, an organisation headed by the emir’s wife.  The Foundation owns top US universities, and has a major role in University College London.

But not everything runs smoothly, as is shown by Málaga CF from whom we have bought two players this season: Cazorla and Monreal.  At the end of 2012 Uefa said that due to unpaid debts, Malaga would not compete in any European competitions for potentially up to four years, after the money dried up.  Although the backer of the club is a member of the Qatari elite, it seems he is not always keeping his eye on the ball.

Thus Qatar plays with the world, buying clubs, buying TV rights, putting up buildings and if the occasional league such as France’s first division gets a bit mucked up on the way, well, that’s unfortunate.  But, things happen.

The Billionaire Files:

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