By Walter Broeckx
As if I had not enough to do with all the reviewing of the games, trying to put the reviews on line, writing some other articles I just decided to have a look at the referee world in the EPL.
First I started to have a look at the old website of the PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials). Well the website of the PGMO is dead. As dead as can be. Because whatever page you click on this is the message you get: Sorry, an HTTP Error 500 Internal server error occurred while trying to load this page.
© RefWorld. All rights reserved.
Now surely guys there must be some money left to keep a website alive? Or has all the money been wasted? I just included the copyright line because, well you know.. just be sure they don’t sue Untold Arsenal for taking some text from their website.
So with the website of the refs only accessible in another universe on the internet I had to look elsewhere for information. Luckily there is the internet and all the things online where you can find lots of interesting things. Things that the PGMO is not keen to let you know.
First the real good news. There has been a change. Was it our endless bashing the PGMO for the fact that they had only 16 refs in the EPL last season that caused the change? Well maybe, because from this season on we have 18 refs to do the games. Yep 18.
A few new names have been given a chance this season. We just have seen one at Aston Villa in fact, John Moss and we also have the for me unknown Neil Swarbrick as a new ref. But let us not start dancing in the street too soon because some refs really are nearing their sell-by date (or have passed it without realising it) so it could be that in a year or so we are back to where we were… with not enough refs to do the games.
In fact we have two refs currently in the EPL who are over 50 years old. Mark Halsey and Peter Walton are 50 and 52 years old.
And in total we have 4 refs that are older than 45 years. And 45 years is the maximum age for refs to do games in Europe or for Fifa. In most countries most refs stop doing games at 45 years old. Even the best ref in recent history, and I surely do not mean Webb, but the other bald one Colina stopped doing games completely at 45 years old. Yet in the most demanding league in the world we have 4 refs who are just doing games beyond that age.
And in the reviews we are doing I also gather data to see how the refs do it comparing the first and the second half. And the further the season goes on the more difference you see between the first and second half. In fact in the last games we reviewed of the games in December we see that the gap between the first half and the second half is getting bigger and bigger. The second half is getting very low scores even for refs who started well in their game in the first half. So the fatigue is getting in to the refs performances.
So more and younger refs wouldn’t be a bad thing. And promoting a ref who is already over 41 years old like the for me unknown Neil Swarbrick is not exactly bringing younger refs in to the EPL. John Moss is also 41 years old so there again not really a young one for the future.
But for now we could say that the PGMO has acted a bit and has brought in a few more refs in the EPL so that in it is good news.
But more on the refs in two other articles in the next days or hours. Keep following us as we once again come up with strange numbers.
We’ll be catching up on some of the ref reviews next, and will continue with Walter’s series of articles shortly.
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