Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, has today revealed it is launching a “full scale investigation” into last months poll ran on mertonsocial.com titled, ‘Who is the best left back at the club’.
The official enquiry follows 1,150 complaints from Alex Gooding after it was revealed that Merton Social’s December poll winner Ian Taylor, may have voted for himself up to 15 times!
The original issue was picked up on after Taylor, 65 from Surrey, was caught using the same IP address 15 times to vote, with most attempts trying and failing to be scrambled through Switzerland and the Baltics.
Taylor took 58.8% of the 34 votes over Christmas, beating Regional Sales Manager Kyle Hart who came insecond place with 29% of the votes.
“We’ve opened an investigation to determine whether voters of mertonsocial.com’s website poll, who may have used valuable data allowances to vote, were misled about the competition,” a spokesperson for Ofcom confirmed in a statement.
The investigation, which can take up to 50 days, will determine whether Merton Social are in breach of Ofcom rule 2.14 which states: “Broadcasters must ensure that viewers and listeners are not materially misled about any broadcast competition or voting.”
Ofcom declined to say whether the football club will face a fine if they are found to be in breach, but it is understood that fines are usually imposed for particularly serious or repeat breaches.
Website creator Simon Morton has previously said he would welcome an investigation, and issued a statement apologising to players and fans.
“The fans of Merton have to trust us and know exactly what goes on, online" Morty told the Daily Mirror after the initial fan backlash. Morton added that “Merton have an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ policy at the club, however if Taylor is found guilty it would mean him losing not only his title to Kyle Hart, but also his positions as club secretary”. If that were to happen the hot favourite to succeed him would be 2ft 3ins fullback Eddie Suich, aged 8, who “really really” wants the job.
Forgotten about in all this, is complainer and Bronze medallist Alex Gooding – who insists he is definitely not a vote cheat. “All 4 of my votes were, like, totally legit” maintained Alex – whose votes also came from the same computer. “Myself, my Mum, Dad and Brother all voted however we all share the same iMac, it's in the lounge next to the piano”.
When asked about Alex, a spokesman for Ofcom said “I really couldn’t give a flying f**k about Alex, he hardly ever gets picked anyway...”