Alex Ferguson and referee selection: too many coincidences?
It is a well known fact that
human behaviour is modified by rewards and punishments, therefore in order to
have a fair system of refereeing it is vital that all referees are treated
equally and objectively when it comes to assessing their performances. It
is also vital that for a referee selection process to be free from bias, it has
to be pretty random and free from outside influence. Unfortunately the PGMO's
referee selection and assessment process, run by Mike Riley, is flawed,
subjective and highly subject to outside influence. Mike
objectivity and biashas
been called into question by managers in the past.
Yet another blatant example of
Sir Alex Ferguson having an obvious influence on referee selection has reared
its ugly head this week. Chris Foy, who refereed Manu's defeat to
Tottenham, has been bizarrely demoted to a League 2 game this weekend, his
first League 2 game since 2006. Obviously our friends at the FA deny
this is a 'demotion' and claim it is just part of his normal refereeing
rota. Alex Ferguson insulted the refereeing after the game and should
have been charged by the FA, instead Alex Ferguson appears to have got his own
way yet again.
If one looks back at referees who have dared allow Manchester United to lose
games in recent years, there is a clear trend of great concern after these Manu defeats. Alan Wiley refereed United’s 4-1 loss to Liverpool in 2009 and in that
game, he gave both United and Liverpool penalties and sent off Nemanja Vidic.
All 3 decisions were reasonable and Wiley was praised by Sky TV co-commentator
Andy Gray for his performance; not even Ferguson complained. Later that
year, Wiley was given another United game to referee and despite sending off
Kieran Richardson of Sunderland, Wiley was lambasted by Ferguson for being “fat
and unfit”. The game ended 2-2. That would be the end of Wiley’s
refereeing career. Wiley, it says cryptically on his Wikipedia page, “agreed to
retire” at the end of that season. Agreed with whom? No one knows.
season, Manchester City romped to a 6-1 win at Old Trafford, inflicting on their
rivals their biggest embarrassment under Ferguson. The referee on that day was
Mark Clattenburg. He sent Johnny Evans off in the second half for a clear
professional foul. There have been 34 Man United league games since that
day and Clattenberg has not refereed a single one of them. The same absence of United fixtures after refereeing a United
defeat is common to Martin Atkinson and Chris Foy as well. There are
also some otherremarkable
coincidences after the refereeing of United defeats.
Whether there is rank corruption or just biased decision making as a result of dodgy processes is open to question, however what is clear is that the referee selection procedure and system is far too open to influence and consequently bias. Untold Arsenal's statistical analysis of referee performances show this is now beyond significant doubt. Manchester United have far too much influence within the game and on referee selection, and this is consequently giving them an unfair advantage over their competitors. Referees like Howard Webb know that it is career dynamite to be favourable to Manu with one's decisions making, while it is career death to dare to upset Sir Alex with a defeat.
The PGMO is not fit for purpose, it is simply not good enough that the richest league in the whole of the world has such a hidden and subjective method of selecting referees for games. We have seen in many other countries including in Italy how just a bit of influence on this process can result in massive bias, this appears to be happening under our very noses in the Premier League. The silence of the media is one of the most worrying aspects of this, journalists are either scared of the ability of Ferguson and Manu to end their careers, or they are more involved than we know, either way the world's 'greatest' league is beginning to stink of corruption.