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Ex-Tottenham player Graham Roberts outlines referee conspiracy theory

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Former Tottenham Hotspur star Graham Roberts believes there is a refereeing conspiracy against the club, per talkSPORT.

What’s he said?

Spurs drew 2-2 with Arsenal in a pulsating north London derby on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men took a 2-0 lead at The Emirates but ultimately dropped points, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the scoresheet for the Gunners.

Harry Kane scored his side’s second goal from the penalty spot after Granit Xhaka fouled Son Heung-min, though the Switzerland international was not booked for his challenge.

In the second half, Dele Alli was wrestled to the ground by midfielder Dani Ceballos but no foul was given, while Kane was denied another penalty after appearing to be pushed to the floor by defender Sokratis in the closing moments of the game.

And Roberts believes this is evidence of a conspiracy amongst referees.

He said: “It’s a waste of time having VAR, if you’re not going to use it properly get rid of it. It’s just ridiculous. There were lesser fouls (than Sokratis on Kane) on the pitch given than that one in the penalty area. Anyway, it’s happened, the referees for the last year now, since Pochettino had a go at Mike Dean at Burnley, have been right against Tottenham.”

Asked if he felt there was a vendetta, he added: “100%. I think what they’ve done is, they’ve all ganged up and they say like ‘just don’t give them anything’, that’s obviously what’s happening.”


Spurs didn’t get the rub of the green for some decisions against Arsenal but this is an utterly nonsense take from Roberts.

This is the kind of stuff that should be reserved for fan forums or a personal YouTube channel, not a professional piece of analysis.

Not only would such a conspiracy be incredibly difficult to actually enforce, even if the officials wanted to, but it also doesn’t make much sense.

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Kane wasn’t awarded a penalty because he appeared to look for the contact; Alli was perhaps unlucky but the referee didn’t see it.

That isn’t to mention the fact that Spurs were awarded a spot-kick when Xhaka cut Son down.

Roberts is perhaps being guided by his passions, but he’s just plain wrong.

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Article title: Ex-Tottenham player Graham Roberts outlines referee conspiracy theory

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