2022 World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA


WASHINGTON — The tiny Arab nation of Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to help spy on soccer officials as part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and hold on to the 2022 World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

It’s part of a trend of former U.S. intelligence officers going to work for foreign governments with questionable human rights records that is worrying officials in Washington and prompting calls from some members of Congress for greater scrutiny of an opaque and lucrative market.

The World Cup is the planet’s most popular sports tournament. It’s also a chance for Qatar, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, to have a coming-out party on the world stage.

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The AP’s investigation found Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting rights by hiring former CIA officer turned private contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on rival bid teams and key soccer officials who picked the winner in 2010. Chalker also worked for Qatar in the years that followed to keep tabs on the country’s critics in the soccer world, the AP found.

The AP’s investigation is based on interviews with Chalker’s former associates as well as contracts, invoices, emails, and a review of business documents.

The surveillance work included having someone pose as a photojournalist to keep tabs on a rival nation’s bid and deploying a Facebook honeypot, in which someone posed online as an attractive woman, to get close to a target, a review of the records show. Operatives working for Chalker and the Persian Gulf sheikhdom also sought cell phone call logs of at least one top FIFA official ahead of the 2010 vote, a review of the records show.

Chalker also promised he could help the country “maintain dominance” over its large population of foreign workers, an internal document from one of Chalker’s companies reviewed by the AP shows. Qatar – a country with a population of 2.8 million, of whom only 300,000 are citizens – is heavily reliant on foreign-born labor to build the stadiums and other infrastructure needed for the tournament.

Qatari government officials did not respond to requests for comment. FIFA also declined to comment.

Chalker, who opened an office in Doha and had a Qatari government email account, said in a statement provided by a representative that he and his companies would not “ever engage in illegal surveillance.”

Chalker declined requests for an interview or to answer detailed questions about his work for the Qatari government. He also claimed that some of the documents reviewed by the AP were forgeries.

The AP reviewed hundreds of pages of documents from Chalker’s companies, including a 2013 project update report that had several photos of Chalker’s staff meeting with various soccer officials. Multiple sources with authorized access provided documents to the AP. The sources said they were troubled by Chalker’s work for Qatar and requested anonymity because they feared retaliation.

The AP took several steps to verify the documents’ authenticity. That includes confirming details of various documents with different sources, including former Chalker associates and soccer officials; cross-checking contents of documents with contemporaneous news accounts and publicly available business records; and examining electronic documents’ metadata, or digital history, where available, to confirm who made the documents and when. Chalker did not provide to the AP any evidence to support his position that some of the documents in question had been forged.

Many of the documents reviewed by the AP outlining work undertaken by Chalker and his companies on behalf of Qatar are also described in a lawsuit filed by Elliott Broidy, a one-time fundraiser for former U.S. President Donald Trump. Broidy is suing Chalker and has accused him of mounting a widespread hacking and spying campaign at Qatar’s direction that includes using former western intelligence officers to surveil FIFA officials. Broidy’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. Chalker’s legal team has argued the lawsuit is meritless.

Former associates say Chalker’s companies have provided a variety of services to Qatar in addition to intelligence work. His company Global Risk Advisors bills itself as “an international strategic consultancy specializing in cybersecurity, military and law enforcement training, and intelligence-based advisory services” and its affiliates have won small contracts with the FBI for a rope-training course and tech consulting work for the Democratic National Committee.

Chalker worked at the CIA as an operations officer for about five years, according to former associates. Operations officers typically work undercover trying to recruit assets to spy on behalf of the United States. The CIA declined to comment and does not usually discuss its former officers.

Chalker’s background in the CIA was attractive to Qatari officials, said former associates.

“That was part of his mystique. All these young wealthy Qataris are playing spy games with this guy and he’s selling them,” said one former associate, who like others interviewed by the AP, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for revealing the spying efforts of Qatar.

The private surveillance business has flourished in the last decade in the Persian Gulf as the region saw the rise of an information war using state-sponsored hacking operations that have coincided with the run-up to the World Cup.

Three former U.S. intelligence and military officials recently admitted to providing hacking services for a UAE-based company, which was called DarkMatter, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department. A Reuters investigation from 2019 reported that DarkMatter hacked phones and computers of Qatar’s Emir, his brother, and FIFA officials.

Work abroad by ex-U.S. intelligence officials has not always aligned with U.S. interests. The United States was Qatar’s biggest rival to win the 2022 World Cup, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other celebrities were part of the bid effort. One Global Risk Advisors document lists the United States as a “threat” to Qatar while Russia, one of the U.S.’s biggest geopolitical rivals and the host of the 2018 World Cup, was listed as an “opportunity.”

The Sunday Times of London previously reported that unnamed ex-CIA agents helped Qatar’s 2010 bid team. But the AP’s investigation is the most detailed to date of Qatar’s use of former U.S. spies and provides a rare look into the world of former Western spies working in the Gulf for autocratic governments.

“This is a problem for U.S. national security,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, a watchdog group that tracks cyber-surveillance companies. “It’s a really dangerous thing when people who handle the most sensitive secrets of our country are thinking in the back of their mind, `Man, I could really make a lot more money taking this technical knowledge that I’ve been trained in and putting it in the service of whoever will pay me.”‘

When Qatar was picked as the surprise winner in 2010, there was jubilation in the country. Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi, a prominent Islamic scholar said he was “filled with joy” at the announcement and said Qatar had humbled the United States.

But Qatar’s successful bid has long been dogged by allegations of corruption. U.S. prosecutors said last year that bribes were paid to FIFA executive committee members to gain their votes for Qatar.

Qatar has denied wrongdoing but has also had to fend off allegations by labor watchdogs of worker abuses, and an effort by neighboring countries to isolate, weaken and embarrass it through an economic boycott and informational warfare.

Chalker has pitched his companies, including Global Risk Advisors, as an aggressive private intelligence and security agency Qatar needs to fulfill its ambitions.

“The time for half-measures is over and serious consideration needs to be given to how important the 2022 World Cup is to Qatar,” one of Global Risk Advisors’ project documents from 2014, which also promised a “full-court press utilizing unique, non-traditional capabilities against a wide-ranging set of targets.”

Chalker also promised the Qataris the use of I.T. and “technical collection specialists” as well as top field operatives with backgrounds in “highly sensitive U.S. intelligence and military operations” who could “spot, assess, develop, recruit, and handle assets with access to persons and topics of interests” on Qatar’s behalf, company materials show.

He also emphasized aggression and discretion, saying his plans included “patsies,” and “lightning rods,” psychological operations, and “persistent and aggressive distractions and disruptions” aimed at Qatar’s enemies all while giving the country “full deniability,” company records show.

“The greatest achievement to date of Project MERCILESS … have come from successful penetration operations targeting vocal critics inside the FIFA organization,” Global Risk Advisors said in one 2014 document describing a project whose minimum proposed budget was listed at $387 million over nine years. It’s unclear how much the Qataris ultimately paid the company.

Records show Chalker sometimes subcontracted with Diligence, a well-known private investigative firm in London founded by former western intelligence officers.

Diligence conducted surveillance in 2010 on the U.S. bid team by having a fake photojournalist secretly report back on what was happening as FIFA officials toured stadiums in the U.S. and met with the officials from the country’s bid team, a review of the records show. Tasked with getting close to one unnamed individual, Diligence use a fake Facebook profile of an attractive young woman to communicate with the target, records show.

Just ahead of the 2010 bid, Chalker tasked Diligence to obtain communications and financial records of FIFA officials Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, a review of the records show. Blazer, a former top U.S. soccer official who pleaded guilty to FIFA-related corruption charges and worked as an informant for the FBI, died in 2017.

Diligence did not respond to requests for comment. Its Swiss affiliate recently settled a lawsuit with Ghanem Nuseibeh, a London consultant who said his mail was stolen and his emails were hacked after he wrote a report critical of Qatar hosting the World Cup. Diligence previously said in court records that it only conducted lawful surveillance on Nuseibeh.

David Downs, who was the executive director of the U.S. bid effort in 2010, said he’s not surprised to learn that Qatar was spying on its rivals given how weak their bid was compared to others.

“It’s very telling that they would be hiring ex-CIA operatives to get inside information,” Downs said. “A lot of what they did was either bending the rules or outright breaking the rules.”

Global Risk Advisor documents also highlight the company’s efforts to win over Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, a key figure in the soccer world who ran unsuccessfully to be FIFA’s president in 2015 and 2016. In a 2013 document, GRA recommended the Qataris give money to a soccer development organization run by Ali, saying it would “help solidify Qatar’s reputation as a benevolent presence in world football.”

A representative for Ali said the prince “has always had a direct good personal relationship with Qatar’s rulers. He certainly wouldn’t need consultants to assist with that relationship.”

Qatar has a long history of providing favors and family benefits to key influencers within FIFA and European soccer.

Top European soccer official Karl-Heinz Rummenigge paid a massive fine for failing to declare two Rolex watches on his return to Germany from Qatar in 2013 – two years after he suggested there were “questions about the Qatari World Cup.” And the son of a top FIFA official, Belgium’s Michel D’Hooghe, was offered and accepted a job in Qatar shortly after the 2010 vote. A FIFA ethics investigator did not connect the job offer to Qatar’s winning hosting rights and both Rummenigge, and D’Hooghe have denied any wrongdoing.

Swiss prosecutors are currently pursuing corruption charges against Jerome Valcke – FIFA’s CEO-like secretary-general from 2007 to 2015 – in a case that involves his acquiring use of a Qatari-owned luxury villa on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Valcke, who has denied wrongdoing, oversaw or had input into all aspects of the soccer body’s dealings with Qatar for several years. He was listed as a “potential threat” in GRA documents from 2013.

The Broidy lawsuit also alleges that Valcke was one of several FIFA officials Chalker targeted for hacking and surveillance. Valcke told the AP there “was no reason” for Qatar to identify him in such a way and said he never felt “any direct threats or pressure” in his dealings with the country.

In early 2017, the Qataris sent a request that Chalker submit a proposal to provide staff for a cybersecurity unit, as well as training to protect the royal family, conduct intelligence work and provide security in other areas, emails and other records show.

Chalker signed a master services agreement, a copy of which was reviewed by the AP, with Qatar in August 2017. The signed agreement specified that Chalker’s company could provide consulting on surveillance, counter-surveillance, and other areas to “intelligence collection organizations.”

Publicly available annual reports and balance sheets filed in Gibraltar show Chalker-owned shell companies saw large deposits that year and ended 2017 with about $46 million in funds.

The full scope of his work for Qatar is unclear but the AP reviewed a variety of projects Global Risk Advisors proposed between 2014 and 2017 show proposals not just directly related to the World Cup.

They included “Pickaxe ,” which promised to capture “personal information and biometrics” of migrants working in Qatar. “Falconeye” was described as a plan to use drones to provide surveillance of ports and borders operations, as well as “controlling migrant worker populations centers.”

“By implementing background investigations and vetting program, Qatar will maintain dominance of migrant workers,” one company document said.

Qatar relied heavily on foreign workers to build stadiums and the necessary infrastructure for the tournament. It’s faced criticism for how the workers have been treated and has not provided full details and data on worker deaths .

Another project, “Viper” promised on-site or remote “mobile device exploitation,” which Global Risk Advisors said would deliver “critical intelligence” and enhance national security. The use of such technology provided by private firms is well documented by autocratic countries around the world, including the Gulf.

In July 2017, a month after Qatar’s neighbors cut diplomatic ties and began a years-long boycott of the country, Chalker authored a proposal for “Project Deviant.” It called for Global Risk Advisors to provide a robust spying and hacking training program for employees at Qatar’s Ministry of Interior “based on the elite training undertaken by (Global Risk Advisors) officers from the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. ” Deviant included a 47-week “field operations tradecraft course” that would include training on surveillance, disguises, interrogation techniques, asset recruitment, hand-to-hand combat, and other areas, a GRA proposal shows.

The 26-week “technical operations tradecraft course” promised to teach Qataris with just even just a basic IT background to become world-class hackers with the “necessary knowledge, skills and techniques to use highly restricted, cutting-edge tools to penetrate target systems and devices, collect and analyze bulk signals data, and to track and locate targets to ultra-precise locations,” records show.

The Broidy lawsuit also alleged that Chalker provided similar training to Qatar, noting that former intelligence officers are typically prohibited from sharing such skills with foreign governments.

Specific spying and hacking methods the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies teach their officers are classified and divulging techniques would be against the law. But there’s no general ban on working for foreign governments, and distinctions are not always clear between what methods are classified and what are not.

“That line can be hard to draw when it comes to tradecraft that is commonly used,” said Bobby Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who specializes in national security issues.

Wealthy countries in the Gulf have proven eager to hire ex-U.S. intelligence officials. A private company started by retired Gen. Keith Alexander, who once led the National Security Agency, signed a contract in 2018 with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technologies. The country’s leader – and the school’s namesake – has been accused of using spyware against critics, journalists and others. Brian Bartlett, a spokesman for Alexander, said the contract has expired and was “focused on the development of the college’s educational efforts and its cybersecurity curriculum.”

The CIA sent a letter to former employees earlier this year warning of a “detrimental trend” of foreign governments hiring former intelligence officers “to build up their spying capabilities,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by the AP and first reported by the New York Times.

“We ask that you protect yourself and the CIA by safeguarding the classified tradecraft that underpins your enterprise,” wrote Sheetal Patel, the agency’s assistant director for counterintelligence.

US lawmakers too, are taking notice. Congress is advancing legislation that would put new reporting requirements on former U.S. intelligence officers working overseas.

Congressman Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey, said it was “absurd” that Qatar and the UAE had former U.S. officials working the front lines of their information war and said it’s part of a broader problem about how influential those wealthy countries are in U.S. politics and policymaking.

“There’s so much Gulf money flowing through Washington D.C.,” he said. “The amount of temptation there is immense, and it invariably entangles Americans in stuff we should not be entangled.”

Bruce Arena keeps making history in Revolution renaissance


Some of us owe Bruce Arena an apology, though he doesn’t seem the type to care either way even as he re-summits Major League Soccer.

Arena has done an absolutely marvelous job at New England this season, and perhaps it’s fitting that one of the co-authors of the most significant failures in U.S. soccer history has been at the wheel for one of the most impressive successes.

In doing so, Arena has also joined the venerable Sigi Schmid with a league-record 240 career wins, ahead of Bob Bradley and Peter Vermes (so far).

[ MORE: Pulisic returns to Chelsea training ]

That opening paragraph comes with a certain amount of historical bias against Arena that I would hope adds to the meaning of this post, which posits that what Bruce Arena has done in New England is a monumental achievement on part with anything he’s done in his legendary domestic career.

Regardless of what happens with New England the rest of the way, including a one-and-done in the MLS Cup Playoffs, because to do what he’s done in this era of Major League Soccer is almost unbelievable.

(For context: At some point, I may’ve even taken to calling him “Arenasaur” for what felt like outdated opinions and ideas about the game and that was before what happened to his USMNT in Couva).

Perhaps part of the accomplishment can be that the East is down and maybe that’s helped with the historic nature of his triumph, but putting the Revs back atop the Supporters’ Shield stand is a tremendous accomplishment (even if he’s got some backwards-ass way of thinking about the honor).

The Revs’ 19th-ranked payroll of $10.5 million is closer to the lowest in the league — Colorado, and we should have a word about Robin Fraser later — than it is to the top ten… and that’s including the league’s fifth-highest outlay on forwards.

New England is spending the least on midfielders in all of MLS, the second-least on defenders (by less than $20k), and eighth on goalkeepers.

Having a gaudy record in MLS is more impressive than most leagues, if by nature of our gigantic country (or two) alone.

Only three teams this season will be able to say they won more than half of their home matches, and New England’s won 10 and tied four while only losing thrice. The Revs were co-league leaders in away wins in 2020 too, Arena’s first full season in charge.

Now consider his roster, which is obviously capable of doing great things. The team he suited up for his first match with the Revs in June 2019? Five of the 11 starters from that match are still in the 18, a number that jumps to eight if you include those on the bench.

New England is first in the East goal differential, third in expected goal differential, and first in progressive pass distance (xG fans should note that NYCFC is having a historically hilarious — not to them — hard luck season and should really exist single digits back of New England, not 26).

And the club is atop the league in assists, expected assists, and key passes despite being mid-table in possession. Their goal creating actions per 90 minutes towers above the field, they don’t allow much danger from the opponents, and when they do they just get it the heck out of there (second-highest in the league in clearances and second-lowest in errors that lead to a shot).

All-told, this is a well-drilled team who has followed a very good playbook for success in MLS: Nail your playmaker signings — Carles Gil in MVP caliber and Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou are league prototypes — and count on tough and experienced domestic talent at the back. Andrew Farrell’s been there forever and DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye are long-time key players too (It helps having a USMNT goalkeeper in Matt Turner, too).

More than most teams, it would seem, the Revs are also spending their money on foreign attack talent and nailing their domestic signings to fill out the roster (Henry Kessler’s drafting was a Godsend, too).

It’s also worth noting for clubs who overlook the MLS SuperDraft — including New England, who “passed” on a pick in what is the most infuriating and dismissive practice in the sport. Just invite a kid to camp. Yeesh. — that college soccer has delivered quality. Check these statuses:

Andrew Farrell – 1st overall pick, 2013 (NE)
Henry Kessler – 6th overall pick, 2019 (NE)
Matt Polster – 7th overall pick, 2015 (Chicago)
Teal Bunbury – 4th overall pick, 2010 (KC)
Brandon Bye – 8th overall pick, 2018 (NE)
Tajon Buchanan – 9th overall pick, 2019 (NE)
Brad Knighton – undrafted (played at UNC Wilmington)
Jonathan Bell – 38th overall pick, 2020 (SJ)
DeJuan Jones – 11th overall pick, 2019 (NE)
Tommy McNamara – 20th overall pick, 2014 (Chivas USA)
AJ DeLaGarza – 19th overall pick, 2009 (Galaxy)
Matt Turner – undrafted (played at Fairfield)

The club also has ex-college players who’ve played less than 500 minutes in Earl Edwards, Collin Verfuth, Scott Caldwell, Emmanuel Boateng, and Justin Rennecks.

Anyway, perhaps this post has plenty to do with a “post when you win, post when you lose” vibe from this writer, who had written off Arena not as a manager but as one of the best in the business.

Respect to the man in the arena… or the Arena in the arena (We’re here all night, Teddy Roosevelt fans).

MLS launching lower-tier player development league in 2022


MLS is launching a lower-tier professional league aimed at developing young players from its academy system.

[ MORE: EURO 2020 scenarios, permutations for group stage ]

The new league, which will rank below the second-division USL Championship, will begin play next year and will include teams affiliated with current MLS clubs as well as independent teams.

The name of the league has not been announced. Some 20 clubs are expected to participate in the first season, which will start in March and run through the fall, concluding with a championship game in December.

MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott said the new league is an outgrowth of the MLS Next platform and team academies, providing elite players who may not be quite ready for the top division with an accelerated pathway to a professional career.

[ MORE: 10 things we learned at EURO 2020 (so far) ]

“The key missing piece for us was this place where our young players could get meaningful minutes in high-level competition,” he said.

MLS Next, launched last year, is designed to fill the gap after U.S. Soccer disbanded its development academy.

Beyond player development, MLS also sees business opportunities for clubs participating in the new league, especially in markets that don’t currently have an MLS teams. Likewise, it will provide career opportunities for coaches and support staff.

Abbott said the new league is not meant to supplant the USL Championship or League One, but he expects the MLS clubs currently participating in those leagues to migrate. The new league has applied for Division III sanctioning from U.S. Soccer.

[ MORE: Munich mayor wants rainbow-colored stadium for Germany v. Hungary ]

“Our anticipation, is that the USL, who we have a great relationship with, will remain a very strong and vibrant league, and continue to do as much for player development as they have and continue to help grow the sport in this country,” Abbott said. “I think we’re going to see that league continue to thrive. But over time I would anticipate that most (MLS) clubs will all ultimately be in this league.”

In a statement, the USL said: “The more pathways there are for young players across the country, the better. We wish MLS success in their efforts and look forward to continuing our work together to grow the sport of soccer in the United States.”

[ MORE: EURO 2020 hub ]

The new league will be run out of MLS headquarters in New York. A commissioner has not yet been named.

The league is considered by MLS to be crucial to player development in the United States as a record 20% of roster spots on MLS clubs are filled this season with players from the academy system.

As a pro league, players will earn salaries unless they aim to retain college eligibility.

QPR, longtime USMNT defender Geoff Cameron signs with Cincinnati


CINCINNATI — Former U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron has signed a two-year contract with Cincinnati of Major League Soccer.

The team said the deal announced Thursday includes a 2023 option.

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The 35-year-old Cameron scored four goals in 55 appearances for the U.S. from 2010-17 and started three matches during the 2014 World Cup.

He has played for Houston (2008-12) in MLS and Stoke in England’s Premier League (2012-18) and second-tier League Championship (2018-19). He spent the past two seasons with Queens Park Rangers in the League Championship, appearing in 34 league matches and one FA Cup game this season.

“We have prioritized adding to our current backline and we welcome the opportunity to add Geoff Cameron to our team,” Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp said in a statement. “He has been a consistent contributor in nine seasons in England and we believe he will compete with our current players to earn regular minutes.”

A native of Attleboro, Massachusetts, Cameron signed with Houston after playing college soccer for West Virginia and Rhode Island.

Scott Parker rips VAR after Arsenal equalizer, details Fulham anger (video)


Fulham came so close to a massive win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, with hopes of a win left dangling a few minutes after the Cottagers conceded a late equalizer to Eddie Nketiah.

VAR review decided that Arsenal’s Rob Holding was not offside when he didn’t play the ball before Nketiah tapped home off a late corner kick, and Cottagers boss Scott Parker was left fuming with the decision.

[ MORE: Three things learned from Arsenal – Fulham ]

Parker approached the referees on the field but saved his vitriol for the tunnel, where perhaps he thought the cameras wouldn’t be as prevalent and he wouldn’t put the officials on blast prior to his post-match comments.


Parker was caught lighting up the referee team, and he laid out his frustrations on NBCSN after the game.

Parker confounded by non-offside call, VAR system

“I’m disappointed and I’m gutted and the overriding factor is the team have given absolutely everything to come to a place like this against a very good side, managed to get a nose in front. We had to weather a little bit of course and we came under it quite a bit and in the last action, I’ve just seen it back. He just looks offside to me. Holding is standing in an offside position. People maybe don’t understand but that has a consequence of where my keeper’s positioning, where the defenders are, whether he’s gone for the ball or not, he’s two yards away from the goal line and he’s in an offside position. I just don’t know.”

Parker then went on to ask why the decision was taken “miles away.”

“Residing factor is that late decision and the rules of that. To be honest the linesman probably sees that he’s in an offside position. We then go upstairs to someone who is a few miles away and he just doesn’t see or maybe just takes the law to the letter and it’s just offside for me. I’m not just saying that because I’m standing on the edge of a loss, er, a draw, it’s because it’s football.”

Does he have a point?

Before we go any further, we should probably note that there are some pretty big admirers of Scott Parker on this site, so the proceeding will not be some sort of anti-Fulham tirade.

Look, if you hate what VAR is at its core then you can side with Parker. Fulham supporters are also welcome to do that.

That said, it’s not so much that Holding pulled back considering that Alphonse Areola laid out and got to the ball and review appeared to show he was not put off and maybe even not worried about Holding

It should also be said that there is almost as much interpretation in the pausing of a replay at a perceived moment for offside review as there is deciding what a goalkeeper is thinking.

There will never be a 100 percent successful rule, though that shouldn’t stop the PL and PGMOL from refining how it uses the rulebook and VAR.

And while Parker doesn’t get the same “cooling off” period American college sports gives its coaches and players before speaking to the media, in time he’ll accept that Fulham’s gotten as many perceived breaks as slights.

That’s probably irrelevant to this single case, but let’s also address the idea of going “miles away” to the VAR.

That is exactly where this decision should go unless the referee needs to weigh in on something ground-related. The best way to get the correct decision in most cases is to take the call out of the hands of a human who would certainly prefer to be proven correct.

Heartbreaking for Fulham nonetheless, who would’ve thought nothing was coming from this game and gladly taken one before kickoff, only to begin to believe in an unlikely three points and left dissatisfied by one!