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FA: This is the catalyst, things have to change!

By Louis Huglin :  22/10/2007 :  Comments (9) :
I just sent this via email to the FA, and am off to the Post Office to post them a hard copy. Over the top? No, I think this is necessary! I am writing without complete clarity of purpose; forgive me if I seem to lose my thread. My enquiries, demands and statements are not entirely focused upon, but are entirely in response to, the events of the Everton versus Liverpool match that took place on Saturday 20th October 2007. I am an Evertonian ? this, clearly, gives me a certain blue-biased perspective on Saturday?s events. However know also that I am a fair man, and would not be writing to you if my feelings were unjustified from a neutral perspective.

There are many aspects of Saturday?s ?game? that anger and bemuse me. The performance of Mr. Clattenburg was undeniably terrible; it brings shame to the Football Association and the Premier League. I am not going to go into details; David Moyes, Alan Hansen, Gary Lineker, Andy Gray, Tim Rich (of the Daily Telegraph) and a host of other football managers, legends and critics have done that for me. The truth is that action must be taken against Mr. Clattenburg as an example to other referees and to everyone involved in the Premier League. I cannot help but question at least one example: if Everton had been playing away at Anfield, and Andrew Johnson had gone down (as Gerrard did) under a Jamie Carragher challenge, would Carragher have been sent off? Would the penalty have even been awarded? Do not dismiss this as an irate fans blind fury, but instead ask yourself that question and be truthful when you answer.

I fully understand that the people who run the FA at boardroom level are the very same men who run the so called ?big 4? clubs. So it may not be too much for me to question the performance of Mark Clattenburg. In fact, perhaps he is the man who has been wronged! God forbid he should offend the ?big 4?; the people he would offend are in many cases also the people who pay his wages, and he cannot run the risk of being demoted, losing key games from his calendar. No, it is much safer for him to give the odd decision to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal, and keep his employers happy. The people who run the big clubs and the FA are unlikely to leave either position at any time soon, and I would be naïve to think otherwise. But the FA, regardless of any individual club interests, needs to act now to save what is left of the game we all love.

Video technology is not an optional addition to the game, it is a necessity. As in American Football, Rugby, Cricket, and countless other sports, the FA must embrace this technology and utilise it wherever it is possible to do so without damaging the game. A fourth or fifth official, watching the game on a television screen, can view a replay of an incident ? be it a penalty claim, a questionable foul, an of the ball clash ? and within 5-20 seconds have a definite, truthful outcome to give the referee, via a radio headset, so that the decision is given without doubt. This will also aid the referees in dealing with players who think they have the power to change a decision or affect the level of discipline handed out. The FA must also insist on a ruling that bans any player other than the two team captains from even talking to the referee at any point during a game, punishable by a ban for a number of matches.

The FA needs to react with resolve and without hesitation to the issues raised by the Merseyside Derby and reiterated in this letter, for the good of its own reputation and indeed for the good of the English game. The performance of the match officials was farcical and if the FA does not act it will be to its own detriment.

Reader Comments

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Paul Harrington
1   Posted 22/10/2007 at 23:31:29

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Louis you are so right. Looking at the empty seats in many grounds on MOTD on Saturday it seems people are starting to vote with feet. Once the money starts to dry up and the fans walk away maybe then the sport will take the action needed to clean up this whole sorry mess.
glen strachan
2   Posted 23/10/2007 at 00:19:49

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Louis and Paul...........good posts and yes you are so right , Paul..........YOU ARE BEING with your feet is the one thing that will show these twerps that you are not going to continue to line their pockets any more !

Since Mr Clattenburg would not answer the players questions on Saturday surely the entire business revolves around two questions

1) Is Mr Clattenburg guilty of bias ? - in which case he surely should never referee another pro game.

2) the alternative and maybe even less palatable question............was money or were favours of some kind involved ? which case - as in the matter of the allegations placed against the Liverpool and Wimbledon goal keepers a few years ago - the whole sorry mess should be a police matter.

As that incident clearly showed , proving such a case would obviously be very difficult indeed but either way Mr Clattenburg is surely finished as a ’so called first class referee’ .



I hasten to add that I am an Evertonian , did not like the tactics that our side employed for that game and heartily agree that our lack of ambition deserved no points on the day against a very poor Liverpool side but this situation with Mr C is far more important than one team or one match.

There is a principle that is essential to any sporting event and which has always been central to the game of football which I have watched for over half a century around the world.............the official in charge should never contrive a result.

By any reasonable standards , Mark Clattenburg did exactly that on Saturday.
3   Posted 23/10/2007 at 02:01:52

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Is the football league corrupt.

A few years ago Italian football had a massive corruption scandal. This included many top clubs and officials. I really think that this below either shows incompitence or corruption on a large scale in the UK.

I start with a letter sent to Mr Scudamore at the FA from Human Rights watch, which is by what the name says is the international human rights organisation. I would suggest you read this.

They advise the FA that they should at least include an assessment of an individual’s human rights record, his or her record on corporate responsibility, and whether there are credible allegations of corruption or other issues that might call into question whether the person is truly "fit and proper" for ownership of a club. Obviously, the FA is totally unconcerned about these matters, and in fact did nothing.

Although the letter mentions about Mr Thaksin, it is his other dealings that spring to light. He is well known for corrupt dealings. He once famously wanted to buy Liverpool. He also wanted to do it with the Thai government, this is not my argument. He made a lot of money, and especially in power. he, his family and friends became extremely wealthy.

What does spring to mind that Thaksin bankrupted and bullied the national airline out of existence, and created a new one in Thailand called Air Asia, with a partner from Malaysia called Tony Fernandez. This was set up under his company Shin Corp. This was then sold last year for billions of pound and he made a ruling that exempt himself from paying tax. Then the company was sold back to some other person no one has heard of called Veerathammanoon. The company had no office, no one had heard of it so when a consumer group went to the office they found it empty and just a fax machine there. His company bought half the airline with no questions, no bank loan and they just said he had made his money working for DHL.

Anyway a corrupt company from corrupt beginnings whats that got to do with Saturdays result or anything else for that matter.

AirAsia signed a deal to sponsor the English Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body representing all the professional football referees in England. That makes AirAsia the Official Sponsor of Professional Game Match Officials for a period of three years.

They are also the main sponsors of Manchester United. This in itself is ok. But to sponsor referees???

One thing has to be asked is if a Liverpool win would benefit Air Asia in any way, and this answer is obviously and emphatically yes.. The aim of AirAsia is to open up all European airports and cheap flights, similar to Easy Jet to all Eastern locations, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore. Liverpool are by far the biggest supported team in all these areas with a following of millions. If Liverpool and Man Utd are in Europe then this guarantees them business. Surely this needs to be looked into.
Peter Roberts
4   Posted 23/10/2007 at 12:33:43

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I’m not sure if anyone watched Panorama last night, but it was all about corruption at FIFA level, and how top FIFA officials were taking bribes and foul play in order to commercially get what they want. For example, there was a scandal where FIFA broke their contract with Mastercard illegally and signed one with VISA, which, when taken to court, found that FIFA had falsified documents and that one of the officials committed perjury during the hearing.

The other thing about it was the FA’s bid to clinch the 2018 World Cup. Given that the FA are seemingly corrupt at the highest level, surely it is not the slightest bit hypocritical that they are trying to suggest they are playing fair in order to get the World Cup?

One final point: Louis, your idea of only the captain being allowed to talk to the referee is being trialed by Barnet in the Blue Square Premier, due to their appalling disciplinary record, and so far has come up trumps. Unfortunately this wouldn’t help rescind Hibbert’s red on Saturday, as it was the Liverpool captain that got him sent off. It’s at times like this that I can be glad I follow other sports like the NFL in the States, as there is a greater level of equality with the league being a closed group. Although there is still a lot of scandal with drugs and plenty of arrests, the corruption in the game is lesser than the extent to which it is outside of Europe in football (and even in Europe, if Italy is anything to go by)
5   Posted 23/10/2007 at 13:56:14

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What did you do in the war daddy?

Well I wrote to the FA! I demanded an investigation into a morally and dishonest performance. I want to know why it happenned and that it’ll never happen again to our club.

So what did you do?

More need to do the same.
norman merrill
6   Posted 23/10/2007 at 16:27:47

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Louis, Well presented letter, just hope that it gets the response, that it deserves.
colin potter
7   Posted 23/10/2007 at 16:45:55

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Cracking letter Louis,Iwrote to the FA about 12 months ago about the rs being favoured over football decisions,and I accused them of more or less being outright rs supporters.I did get a reply,but they just denied everything i put to them.They are just a bunch of inept lying bastards.Typical red shite!!
Joshua doherty
8   Posted 23/10/2007 at 17:54:55

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Are the FA at fault as much as mr Clattenburg? He was chosen to referee Liverpool in the knowledge that he toured with them in recent asian tournement, not only that, he also dined with them. This showed not only in his performance on saturday but the relaxed ’matey’ body language as well eg. His arm around steve finnans
Louis Huglin
9   Posted 25/10/2007 at 10:14:17

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My reply - the generic one sent out to everyone, no doubt. Just proves my point really - they’re corrupt, and they know it, and they know we know it - but they laugh at us because we can’t do anything about it.

Dear Louis,

Thank you for your email regarding the referee’s performance at the weekend fixture. We are sorry that you were disappointed with the performance in that match.

There is not a formal mechanism for individuals to complain about referees? performances and decisions. However, I thought it would be helpful for you to know the process undertaken by the Professional Games Match Officials, the body which employs all the referees, to monitor, scrutinise and improve the referees performances throughout the season.

Please be assured that the performance of the referee in this fixture, together with all performances by the Select Group Referees, will be reviewed with him in detail in a number of different ways. There is constant monitoring of referees? performances, with a view to improving their performance from week to week. Referees are given both positive feedback and are appropriately criticised if it is felt that decisions were wrong.

The referee?s technical performance in a match is assessed by the Independent Assessor, and their overall handling of the match is reported on by an Independent Match Delegate, who is often a former player, manager or coach. These reports focus on the referee?s fitness, his control of the match, the way that he deals with key incidents as well as the way he communicates his decisions. These reports are shared with the referees on both a formal and informal basis. The aim is to help the referee to improve his performance, taking into account the scrutiny of each performance.

There are a range of tools available to help referees, including coaching, fortnightly feedback sessions and technology. In addition, the Select Group of Referees meet on a fortnightly basis, giving all the referees an opportunity to communicate and discuss issues of concern and ensure a greater consistency of performance.

The aim of the Professional Game Match Officials is to help referees to improve their performance from week to week.

I do hope the above helps clarify how we are constantly trying to improve and maintain standards of refereeing.

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your views.

Kind regards,

Communications Team

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