The decisions given against Chelsea in this weekend’s game may be viewed by many people as a mere co-incidence and that it was honest mistakes on the part of the officials. Moreover, conversations will centre on, “accepting the referee’s decisions in the true spirit of sportsmanship”. This appears to be what being English is all about but it has played into the hands of blatant cheats and those who favour Manchester United sub-consciously.
If anyone has read some of my previous articles, then it puts what happened on Sunday at Stamford Bridge into clear perspective. The question that needs to be asked is why the controversy revolves around questionable decision that go in Manchester United’s favour Manchester United are never the victims of poor decisions. The decision will continue to pour in Manchester United’s favour so long as spineless governing bodies are not prepared to address the root of the problem.
To spell it out again, Manchester United is the Premier League’s number one product to maximise world-wide revenue in the form of television and other commercial rights therefore the success of the Premiership brand hinges on their number one product, with the largest following in the world, being successful. If Manchester United fails, then the international appeal of the Premier League will be lost. As a result of billions of pounds being at stake, the administrators are prepared to live with this evil. The cliché that it is all about money rings true.
If any team wishes to compete with Manchester United on an equal footing, they can forget doing so because a minimum allowance of ten points has to be built into the equation to offset so called poor refereeing making a generous contribution to the United cause.
On Sunday, it certainly was not the “invisible man” who scored Manchester United’s third goal from an off-side position. Even with ten against eleven, the only likely winner appeared to be Chelsea as was evident by their domination, but the referee ensured that there would be no Chelsea victory. Many respected journalists described this as the worst display by a referee in Premier League history. If the official was unsure of the decision then he should have ruled accordingly.
United have had great teams in the past that have won titles on merit but they have not always had great teams yet with the interventions of officials, they have chalked up nineteen league titles. They are well below Chelsea and Manchester City at present but they have been kept in the frame by the goodwill of the officials. How long will other clubs accept this situation? Recently Roberto Martinez stated how hypocritical the officials are when it came to Manchester United. He was duly fined for telling the truth. That is the manner in which the league ensures that the voices of protest are stifled.
Another clear tactic employed by the officials is to give poor decisions against teams that pose a threat to Manchester United in those team’s own fixtures. Examples of this have been evident this year as seen through Crouch handling the ball for a goal for Stoke against Manchester City and Chelsea being denied two clear penalties in a drawn game. I have not even highlighted the fact that Manchester United score goals from corners that should have been goal kicks and other such decisions. Many people think that it is because of United’s superb defending at Old Trafford that penalties have not been awarded to visiting teams for so many years.
The perception is that the Premier League is a league of integrity and long may that be, but the reality is that unless these so called co-incidences are addressed people will start to ask more questions than there are answers given. United will continue to accrue undeserved points unless something is done to address this scourge. They are up against my beloved Arsenal this weekend at Old Trafford so I am hoping that we get treated fairly.
I think, considering that the spotlight is firmly on the officials and if they have two bad weeks in a row in favour of Man United, then that would be too much of a co-incidence we should receive unbiased decisions which would make a refreshing change.
Written by Goolam Rawat
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