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Emirates Fixed It For Arsenal – The Gunners’ FA Cup Sponsorship Bias Must Stop

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Bad refereeing calls and easy or home (Emirates Stadium) routes to the (Emirates) FA Cup Final, Arsenal’s FA Cup wins – attended by Emirates customers with 15,000 Emirates air-miles not Arsenal fans – are as dodgy as their FA Cup’s Winner’s watches.

If Prime Minister-elect Jeremy Corbyn is serious about smashing corporate fraud and injustice across British society, he could start by doing it at the football club he supports, Arsenal, who play their football at The Emirates’ stadium and now seemingly part-own ‘The Emirates’ FA Cup.

Early Saturday evening – the traditional 3pm kick-off time was long ago sold by The FA to the highest television bidder, Premier League Champions Chelsea succumbed 2-1 to an Arsenal side that had looked demoralised during much of the season.

True, in what could have been Arsene Wenger’s final match of a fantastic football club reign, The Gunners looked more up for it than they have all season yet, crucially, the game’s first goal was mired in controversy right in front of referee Anthony Taylor’s nose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3up3pfZehg

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez forced the ball forwards with both hands in what Gary Lineker described on the BBC as “basketball” and then there was a controversy over whether Arsenal were offside as Aaron Ramsey was about to score from an offside position putting Chelsea’s keeper off before Sanchez finished. Offside? Possibly not. Handball? Definitely.

Emirates who sponsor Arsenal happen to also sponsor The Emirates FA Cup following a 3-year sponsorship of The FA Cup in 2015 that is thought to be worth £10M per season to the Football Association – and is clearly worth a lot more via the coffers of Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger signed a 2-year contract extension this week but only if Emirates are planning to take over ‘sponsorship’ of The Premier League rather than the FA Cup will his dream of lifting the title again before he retires become a reality.

For the reality is that an aging Wenger, whose Gunners’ team relinquished their 20-year stay in The Champions League with a 5th place top flight finish this year, is being propped up by bought favouritism in England’s oldest domestic competition.

Surely it is a total conflict of interests that the Dubai-airline Emirates sponsor both Arsenal, since 2004 when The Gunners moved to The Emirates stadium, and The FA Cup, which became The Emirates-sponsored FA Cup in 2015?

Its no coincidence since that cosy dual-sponsorship arrangement was announced in 2015 – and work on the deal would have been arranged behind-the-scenes for a long time prior – Arsenal have won the FA Cup twice with some very strange refereeing calls.

On the 19th April, 2015, just a month before the Emirates FA Cup deal was announced, this perfectly good Mario Balotelli goal in the Semi-Final was ruled out ensuring The Gunners had an easy ride against Aston Villa, who finished 17th place in The Premier League that year instead of a tough game against high-flying Liverpool in 6th spot.

Like his Italian compatriot Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, the Italian international player himself was astounded at the call and took to Instagram to express his disgust:

That offside goal denied a perfectly good equalizer by Liverpool, who beat Arsenal in the 2001 Final and would have certainly given Arsenal a better game in the 2015 Final than the struggling Villa side that is now languishing in Championship mid-table obscurity.

As well as benefitting from their fixtures being made easier by calls in preceding matches, Arsenal benefitted directly from big – and importantly, wrong – calls in their own matches notably this opening goal that was wrongly disallowed in the FA Cup Semi-Final on April 23rd when The Sky Blues, unlike The Gunners, did not get the advantage with either Raheem Sterling’s goal or a penalty that could have been given to Sergei Aguero.

Yet the conspiracy theory doesn’t just end with bad refereeing calls benefitting Arsenal – it begins with the very FA Cup draw itself that appears fixed in The Gunners’ favour.

This season it was Arsenal’s ludicrously easy back-to-back Sutton United and Lincoln City draws in the traditionally more difficult 5th Round and Quarter-Final stages while Chelsea faced Manchester United. (The fact that all 8 Premier League teams remaining in the Last 16 draw conveniently avoided each other is material for another article…)

Before this season, when clearly the FA were responding to accusations of bias, it was the 11 home ties in the previous 13 draws which fans of rival clubs have long-railed at as a sign of favouritism and the clearing of a path of Arsenal to Wembley.

Sure, Arsene Wenger is a good man and and manager who doesn’t deserve the vitriol he receives from Piers Morgan and the Arsenal Fan TV idiots yet to have a competition – the world’s original and most-loved football competition no less, the pride and joy of English football – fixed by corporate forces is utter sacrilege of the beautiful game.

Wenger would have done well to bow out on the artificial high of his Chelsea victory after his most torrid season since he took England by storm yet this false victory convincing him to stay on might be setting the Frenchman up for an even greater future fall.

English football must be better than this FArsenal.

 


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Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police

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Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.

According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.

Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.

The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:

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Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch

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Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.

Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.

“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.

“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.

“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”

Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.

“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.

“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.

“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”

 

 

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Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player

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27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.

Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.

Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.

Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.

“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”

“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.

“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”

“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.

“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.

“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.

“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.

“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.

“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”

Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.

“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.

“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.

“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.

“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.

“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”

 

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