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I just read this column, and I was wondering: Is there any truth in it. Awaiting Vanquishers well written response. The original thing was in dutch so i google-translated it to english.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... 23KMU3ZfQQ

We had quite a list, but since the end of last football season, Turkey is also found there. The list of countries that have been associated with bribery scandals. Belgium, Italy, Argentina, Greece, and now Turkey. The football world is sick and incurable.

Belgium was one of the first. Zheyun Ye, the gokchinees, was known for his role in the bribery and betting scandal in 2005. Players and coaches he would have offered money in return for influencing specific races. This would be huge profits betting shops. According to the Belgian justice was a pawn of the Chinese Zheyun gokmaffia. Also issued the Belgian justice an international arrest warrant against him after his death in October 2005 after his last interrogation, vanished.

There was hardly forgotten football scandal, or the next was knocking on the door. Italy, 2006. The Calciopoli scandal. The arbitral legal scandal. Spindle and main character in this story, Luciano Moggi. The former general manager of Juventus could include impact on the system where referees were appointed. Final punishment: life suspension of all activities in Italian football. Juventus was the case put back to Serie B, and got rid of two titles. Ultimately, the scandal was a much larger maze, but before I refer you on to the documentary "Operazione Off-Side '.

After the Calciopoli scandal, there are plenty of other bribery and betting scandal has been. But the Calciopoli scandal reminded me of the Manchester United last season.

The English Premier League has also to other leagues in Europe, a referee system. This would result from bad decisions of the executive, at the end of the ride, little effect on competition.

In England Ex-Arbitrator Mike Riley at the helm of that system. That is strange, because Riley openly in the media, has expressed his preference for Manchester United. This preference was also reflected in its decisions as arbitrator being. Thus ended the Arsenal series of 49 unbeaten matches in 2004, abruptly in a game against Manchester. Leader of this contest? Mike Riley. This gave Manchester in the period from 2002 to 2004 in the eight games that Riley whistle at Old Trafford, eight penalties. So did Riley in 2003 during the last game of the season, a few minutes before a penalty to Manchester, allowing European football rival Everton missed.

Controversial decisions by an arbitrator, who now heads a professional referee system. The Guardian ventured to study the reliability of the ex-leader. Not without merit. After all, why has Howard Webb last season, three of the four topduels at Old Trafford against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool assigned? Okay, Webb is an international toparbiter, but in the FA Cup game against Liverpool in Manchester, he ostentatiously in the penalty foul by a grant to The Devils, after a Schwalbe. A referee who whistles topduels much, so it has such influence on the final classification for the Premier League.

Let's go back to February 1 this year. The match between Arsenal and Everton, led by the Catholic Lee Mason. The referee who had already once been suspended due to biased whistle. A strange appointment of a leader. Everyone knows that Everton has a very large Catholic constituency.

Let's not forget the game where the gap to Arsenal Manchester forgot to reduce. In the match against Sunderland where Anthony Taylor, who grew up in Manchester, was the referee. Approved this guide is not a valid goal off? And not coincidentally, he forgot Arsenal a penalty just before time to give?

Another memorable moment was a match in Newcastle, led by Phil Dowd. The appointment of the arbitrator appears to make an informed choice. On paper, in terms of background and statistics not do crazy things. On the field, in terms of singing very bad things. Arsenal led 0-4 in the first half, not peachy keen. But since these gains would catch up with Arsenal losing at Manchester that afternoon, something had to happen. A red card, two penalties and a free-kick created the miracle: 4-4.

Conclusion: Manchester United, the champion last season, is the champion of a possible new scandal. Spindle and main character in this story: Mike Riley.
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People often claim bias on the part of referees. I don't have much experience concerning foreign corruption, though it would be incredibly naive to say it doesn't go on. It's been proven on a number of occasions, with one of the most famous being Italy's match fixing that saw Juventus stripped of their title.

However, there is a huge confusion in terms of corruption and poor decisions. People cry foul when it happens against their teams, but these decisions happen within seconds of the incidents, and often the referees will not have the greatest view point. My own team has been victim of some poor decisions - one of the most important being the goal that never was, against Manchester United, when Roy Carroll spilled into his own net. That season we finished 5th, after half our team came down with food poisoning on the last day and we lost to West Ham. Had we got those 2 extra points, we probably would have snatched 4th from Arsenal.

The system in England is somewhat different to many other countries, from what I understand. We have a tiered system which ranks referees from my understanding. After each game a referee must submit a report to the head of the committee. They are then appraised and receive a score, which if too low for the supposedly higher standards of the Premier League results in relegation to the second tier for x amount of games. Most of the time it would take a couple of poorly officiated matches to result in such a demotion, though, and after one poor game it is often the case that that referee would not receive the high-end assignments, as it is thought that matches like Manchester United vs. Chelsea, for example, will have a greater impact on the high-end standings in the table. Whether it is right to use such a system is a question the FA should be responsible for, but football is a business and the high-end bosses will always look to appease the more influential members as best they can.

Another factor that decides the official of a game is the reports submitted by managers. Again, as the FA often looks to appease the top clubs, they will not send officials who have been singled out for criticism by the top managers to referee them again, for a while at least. Similarly, if they believe the referee has had a poor showing in a match involving a certain team but it has not been highlighted by the manager, they will make efforts to prevent that referee returning to officiate that team for a time.

One thing worth noting is that all referees actually want to officiate the big matches. When it comes to smaller clubs playing bigger clubs, it is often noted that bigger clubs tend to get the decisions going their way. While there is a lot of stress put on this sort of decision, it does hold some truth. Because the referees will not want to anger the managers who do have a say in whether they will referee them again soon, they do sometimes look more favourably on the bigger teams. It's unfortunate, and I don't think it is a conscious decision, but it happens. It's also interesting to note that after a survey conduction, teams in red also tend to get decisions more often than teams in blue, even if the offense is the same.

In regards specifically to the claims Manchester United have been the beneficiaries of refereeing decisions in the past year, and the claims of certain matches specifically, I'll try and answer each point on a case by case basis.

In terms of Mike Riley being a Manchester United fan - I am not sure if he ever actually said that. I know David Moyes was asked a question about it once before (only a couple of seasons ago if I recall) and then there was controversy as he failed to award United a penalty.

The ending of Arsenal's unbeaten streak was essentially decided by a penalty given to United when there appeared to be little contact between Rooney and Campbell. It was a 50/50 decision as I saw it, and had there been consultation with assistants it may have not been given. However, during that time Arsenal certainly got decisions go their way, too, and such decisions will continue to be made throughout the course of the game.

Riley's 8 penalties in 8 games at Old Trafford is interesting. Perhaps worth discussion is the effect the crowd has on the performance of referees, and the lack of retro-active bans for cheating (diving). It is easy to get conned by a players' antics. I have several times, and when playing I've earned free kicks and penalties for going down easily, or even just going down legitimately when no foul was there. When you add pace and footwork to even slight contact and a lack of balance, it is no surprise that players will often go down even if the challenge is fair. It can be for many reasons - to avoid injury, because you lost balance, or because of a foul. Or, of course, diving. I can't remember all the decisions, but I'm sure that with the pressure of 72,000 people screaming for a penalty it must be pretty easy to give, rather than to wave away a claim. Especially when it's against the likes of West Ham or Blackburn - wrong as that may be.

Howard Webb receiving criticisms for such appointments is an interesting one. He is the best referee this country has to offer. That was obvious as FIFA saw it right to give him the world cup final, as well. He garners respect from players and is fair, and is the best at controlling them too. It's important to me as a fan that he gets the bigger matches because refs like Stuart Atwell will get as many (or more) decisions wrong, and often be too quick to go to their cards or get over-awed and players will seize upon that. We all see what happens in continental football especially, where teams surround the referees and wave fake cards and the like. It's an intimidating atmosphere and such behaviour only makes it harder. Webb did go on a short run of poor form last season and was relegated to (without being rude) 'easier' games to officiate, where less talking points will be had and the media won't build up such a fuss over nothing.

The Newcastle vs. Arsenal comment is interesting. From watching that game, and having a decent sized bet on Arsenal to win, I was laughing at half time. However, Diaby was completely at fault for his red card - you cannot raise your hands to players and the referee had no choice - and both penalties were completely justified. Arsenal's implosion in that fixture was entirely their own fault, and had nothing to do with the referee. In fact, I applaud the courage Dowd had to award the penalty at the end, as many would have easily as not.

The Arsenal vs. Manchester United game later in the season had 3 major talking points. Both teams should have had a penalty, and Arsenal did have a goal wrongly ruled out. However, it was ruled out for offside, which is nothing to do with the referee, but his assistant, and again, we're talking fractions of seconds here. How many times are goals incorrectly given or not given due to offsides or fouls or whatever? Highlighting particular errors iis a dangerous game to play.

As for religion affecting a referees performance - such a claim is laughable at best.

If there is corruption in football, it is not so obvious as such an article would have us believe. More likely, it will be that where referees and/or players are paid off, but there are so many people watching over such things now (esp. after Calciopoli) I doubt it will happen in the Premiership, or any of the major European leagues.

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