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The corruption fallacy - they’re all out to get us!

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“I’m not an “agendas” guy but that gets me thinking…”

This is an immediate response of the late Crystal Palace penalty by a Man City fan on BlueMoon two weeks ago. Rather than acknowledging the blatant fact that Foden had obviously mistimed a clearance and caught the Palace striker, the fan quickly assumed that the referee’s decision was down to an apparent dark, sinister influence that led to the dramatic intervention. In short…it’s just plain and simple corruption and it’s there for all to see. The conspiracy is in the works. The fix is in.

We all see it. Nothing could be clearer.

Apart from the fact that it really probably isn’t.

Similarly but also very differently, the Everton fans cried foul a few weeks ago following their 10-point reduction due to ongoing financial missteps over a period of time. More corruption at play. They all held up pinky-reddish cards to add weight to their cause. It was more agendas working hard to kill off a football club.

Closer to home, Luis Diaz’s wrongly disallowed goal against Spurs in September was hard to take. Galling in fact. The first defeat in months for Liverpool down to a terrible mess caused by the nonsense of VAR and the hubris of self-satisfied officials. Despite an immediate acknowledgment from the PGMOL that they’d messed up, the noise from Liverpool fans was dominated by a single word: “corruption”.

The three examples are quite dissimilar in how they came about, but the common thread that runs through them is that football fans of different colours are absolutely convinced that a hidden force is working against their club’s interests and it’s there for all to see. Nothing could be more obvious.

After Burnley away on Boxing Day, we return to the theme that the refs are against us due to two controversial disallowed goals.

Big Six©️bias, London bias, Greater Manchester bias, pro-UAE bias, Red Shite bias…take your pick. My club is persecuted and I have the receipts to prove it!

Create your narrative and your version of events will fall neatly into place. Corruption is everywhere, by all accounts, and your team is suffering as a result. As a fan, you’re the victim. By chance, you happen to support the football club that the sinister forces that control football have decided to destroy. It sucks but you have to suck it up.

Or is it that simple?

Is the immediate jump towards accusations of corruption and malfeasance the most intelligent interpretation of events? Is there a chance it’s more emotional than logical? Are fans…possibly…completely unreasonable when it comes to accepting disappointment? Injustice certainly happens on the football pitch, but is it deliberate or just plain human error?

Maybe…just maybe…fans are just completely daft. Maybe grown men will argue anything to explain away their team’s performance. Maybe grown men never really grow up and, over time, become experts at finding reasons why their team has lost. Accusations of cheating is the easiest. It’s the low hanging fruit we need. We’re not over-burdened with a requirement for lots of proof. Our indignation is enough. Our sanctimony will offer the evidence to show that our team is hard done by. We tally-up the incidents that were unfair as our proof. We can ignore the fortunate and favourably decisions that go our way as they only exist to offer a slight counter-balance to the appalling corruption at play.

Obviously this is all complete lunacy. We’ve arrived at a point where the post-match space is now completely dominated with this type of noise. Forums, twitter and well-edited compilations all serve to cultivate a false reality that genuinely convinces fans that there’s more than meets the eye.

Logically, most of this stuff is pure nonsense. Conspiracy and corruption takes place in back rooms, with cynical actors working to manipulate events in their favour. But fans don’t preoccupy themselves with the really sinister parts of football - the governance of the world game protecting corporate interests while facilitating sports washing on an industrial scale. Instead, fans become obsessed with local tribalism and become convinced that the game is controlled in such a way to help their rival and hurt their own team.

It’s simplistic rubbish and actually distracts from the genuinely worrying aspects of administration and the obvious direction of travel around player ownership and club acquisition. Obsessing over who Michael Oliver supports is genuinely small potatoes when it comes to things we should be worried about. Yet, this is food and drink for football fans across the board.

I think refereeing is in bother. I think the way the laws are administered, via VAR, have created a neurosis in the minds of referees to the extent that most of them appear lost and rudderless and scared of the repercussions. Second guessing themselves and ballsing up on a weekly basis.

Maybe we should grow up a bit. Defeat is part of sport. It’s not always about you and your team - Liverpool will win this league if they’re good enough. That’s it.

Liverpool were good enough to win it - yet they didn’t because of referee decisions. Twice.

Is it corruption, mafia style one? Hardly. But is it corrupted at its core by maintaining poor standards, not honestly reflecting on mistakes, not pointing out and polishing biases? Most certainly it is.

So we continue spinning on this designed merry-go-round of artificially created controversy and to our own detriment - because as you pointed out nicely, bigger fish is being fried without our consent or input. Yet it could all be resolved with institutional focus on collaborative, transparent, rules-focussed framework in which referees would operate. Even the VAR would not be an issue then. Instead we are gaslighted, actors are protected internally from blowback and completely insulated from external questioning and reviews. Obviously this kind of structure can only breed what we are witnessing today.

Very well thought out and reasoned Fitzy. I think the main problem now is that there is a definite and repeated issue with certain officials and the total lack of consistency in the application of VAR and general standards of refereeing. The VVD and Curtis red cards being 2 examples, plus the city penalty last night vs the Odegaard non penalty on Sunday. It’s also noticeable that the corruption line is more prevelant online than actually at the game, other than the obvious chants at certain refs.

I do wonder what psychological tests refs undergo, particularly in relation to unconscious bias and handling player pressure.

Unfortunately, VAR has been badly implemented and has caused bigger issues than is acceptable in so many ways, not least because there is no recourse for teams affected wrongly and no real accountability for those making bad errors and decisions.

Of course we are all, as supporters of different clubs, going to see perceived bias, but when the likes of Paul Tomkins takes time to analyse things and can prove we get dealt it worse, then you have to wonder.

Tierney - always seemed to have an issue with LFC, now hates Klopp and you can see this in his refereeing.

The linesman who elbowed Robbo in the face gets off scot free

The monumental fuck up at Spurs and the generally dodgy officiating all game,  involving 3 officials who had just come back from an all expenses paid trip to referee in Abu Dhabi - Hooper has since shown a bias towards Spurs in another game

Taylor - From heavily Utd supporting area Wythenshawe, Manc family, does enough to disrupt our play in games

Kavanagh - From Ashton U Lyne - I've been told with 95% certainty he's a Utd fan. Denies Everton a stonewall penalty v City the season we lose the league by 1 pt

Oliver - Newcastle supporter

Coote - doesn't give us a blatant handball v Arsenal, gives City a very questionable one last night

It might not be brown envelopes, but there will be and there is personal biases that manifest when they referee us.


Fans are the same everywhere. They will ask for the manager sacking, blame players or referees, have crazy theories. It's normal.

What matters :

Is the standard of refereeing acceptable? No and for or a very long time.
Even with the help of video replies its very bad. This is not a fan opinion it's a fact based how many times the PGMOL had no choice but to apologize for the crazy decisions that happened.

What steps were taken to improve this ? Nothing.
The bad referees get promoted and become in-charge after they retire. It won't be surprising to see Paul Tierney becomes PGMOL’s first chief refereeing officer later on.

The PGMOl should be called out until things change. It's that simple.
Terrible organization that should be disassembled. Fk them and Fk everyone who is trying to defend them and make it about fans being emotional.


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