Everton 2:5 Arsenal. The Right Result Does Not Mask Corrupt Refereeing


Another week in the BPL, another example of refereeing corruption, backed up by the storytellers masquerading as commentators.

The Rooney Narrative

The scene was set. It’s Goodison Park, over a decade after a 17-year-old Wayne Rooney, took the Premiership by storm, scoring his first of many league goals against league kings Arsenal.

Now Rooney was back in Everton blue, facing Arsenal yet again. Would he score once more against Arsenal for Everton after all of these years, even though he is now over the hill? Of course he would, the referee would not allow for things like Rooney’s decline to get in the way of a good story; with the commentary team in tow, ready to spin fantasy into reality.

Everton was in the midst of being dominated by Arsenal, not knowing where the chances would come and just waiting for the inevitable Arsenal goal. But the chance was created by the referee, and gladly taken by who else but Wayne Rooney. A script writer could not have written the scenario any better. Rooney mirrors that goal against Arsenal after so long.

The missed refereeing call

But what about the foul on Xhaka by Gueye? Not a foul, if the commentators were to be believed. The picture below depicts a clear foul.

Gueye’s tackle on Xhaka deemed not a foul by the referee and the commentators.

Keep in mind the clear contact shown in the above. Gueye is tackling from behind which even without contact, is a foul. However, he does make contact, which should have made this call doubly easy for the referee. But he swallowed his whistle and the commentators ignored the incident.

The Awful Commentary.

“>Wayne Rooney has gone deep into the memory bank and produced another stunner 15 years on.

>Wonderful tackle by Gueye which sets up the opportunity…Manages to get it (the ball) just at the end of his boot Gueye.

Well all those years ago it was David Seaman who was rooted to the spot. Today it’s another master of the goalkeeping art Petr Cech who could get no where near it. Rooney’s 15th goal against the Gunners down the years. He’s not scored more against any other team…and an exasperated Wenger… he feels there was a foul in the build up to the goal. We’ll have a look at that in just a second.

Pay careful attention to the narrative drawn. This is what drives the commentary and even contributes to these bad refereeing decisions. Rooney’s debut goal against the Arsenal for Everton is well known to close followers of the BPL. His return to his boyhood club Everton, is also a well-known event. How great of a story would it be to have him score against Arsenal for Everton once more after so long? Surely the script writers wouldn’t be able to come up with a better story than that?

Then boom! One missed call later, and the script went from hoped for to true; with the commentator claiming that Gueye’s foul on Xhaka was in fact a “wonderful tackle”. Looking at that picture above, that ball doesn’t look anywhere near Gueye’s boot when his leg collides with Xhaka’s.

The other commentator continued with the narrative. “15 years on…” It’s all really very transparent. Almost as if they don’t bother hiding the scripts they’re given before matches anymore. Rooney just had to score didn’t he, the illegality of the means didn’t matter.

Whingeing Wenger

The possibility of a foul was finally brought up in the context of course, of a whingeing Wenger (another famous BPL narrative).

>Was it a foul or not?

Well it certainly got Arsene Wenger upset. I actually felt he (Gueye) clearly wins the ball. Obviously he makes contact…the player’s (Xhaka) always looking to go down. He’s always looking for the foul before he finishes the move of actually keeping the ball and repelling Gueye.

So to the question “Was it a foul?” The commentator replies no. Even though he admits that there was contact. Neither commentator even acknowledges that the tackle was from behind. And then the commentator blames Xhaka for going down after getting fouled; thus conceding the goal.

Deliberately ignoring the rules is part and parcel of commentary and refereeing these days. Once these rules get in the way of a pre-written narrative that is. Rooney had to score. He just had to score. The foul had to be ignored for his goal to stand. So it was. Thankfully, the result was not affected by the call. But the bad refereeing call was compounded by even worse commentary. Neither should be overlooked.


Dean Nestor

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