"The balance between physicality and player protection is right.........Fewer free-kicks result in things such as an increase in average goals per game and average shots in the game.........Everything in the Premier League is moving towards an exciting game that people want to see."
This is the stuff of the Premier League (PL) propaganda ministry. Mike Riley is head of the PGMOL, the not so 'independent' body which runs refereeing for the PL. Mike Riley was commenting on the fact that the number of fouls awarded has gone down 22% since 2006, sadly he makes the grave error of assuming that fouls awarded is a good marker of fouls committed, it clearly is not.
The original BBC piece is a pretty poor piece of journalism, it fails to objectively analyse the claims made and it simply repeats a few tired old stories. There is an alternative explanation which does fit well with the facts and is far more consistent with the fact that the PGMOL is right in the PL's pocket. It is rather worrying that MPs think the PL runs the FA, the lack of strong independent bodies in football to run the disciplinary process and refereeing is highly concerning.
The alternative explanation does not assume that fouls awarded represents fouls committed. Certainly the PL cares little for fairness and player safety, they are far more concerned with their financial income and a fast blustering violent type of football will sell far better than a calmer more technical type of game. It is arguable that refereeing has simply become more lenient in recent years and many fouls are just ignored, when compared to other major footballing leagues. This fits far better with what happens in the Champions League and the international game, where discipline is far more strictly enforced and the national England side struggles greatly as a result of this chasm in refereeing standards. The same is true on dissent, the number of cards for dissent is going down but dissent is clearly not reducing, the way it is punished has simply become far more lenient.
The argument of less free kicks resulting in more goals is clearly ludicrous, Untold Arsenal have exposed this with yet another neat analysis, something that seems well beyond the propaganda minister of the PGMOL, Mike Riley. The silence from the PL, the PGMOL and the mainstream media on these issues are deafening. In fact the way that the PL and PGMOL behave like communist propaganda ministries is scary, they hide from the public, they never answer questions. It is also sad that so many football hacks are so deeply afraid of exposing the truth and biting the hand that feeds them in the process. The PGMOL continues to hide, it plucks statistics from its derrière and doesn't reveal how they were gathered. Why would these bodies behave like this if they had nothing to hide? Why indeed?