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Giving each ref each team only twice a season would solve the ref crisis at a stroke

Mike Riley and the refereeing crisis – part 3

By Walter Broeckx

In an earlier article I talked about the secret garden of Mike Riley where he tell us which rules they use to appoint refs but apparently as it all is a big secret he can do as he like and pleases whoever he wants to please.

How could he solve the problem? Well in fact it is very easy.

They say (and I quote again):  The appointment of match officials for matches is traditionally announced each Monday with 19 referees available to officiate 10 Premier League matches and six selected Football League matches.  The appointments are made by the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB)  that they have 19 EPL refs. And we know that in the EPL each team has to play 38 games.

Now I don’t know if my maths are still correct but in the long gone days I went to school if I divided 38 by 19 I got a result of 2.

So with 19 refs they all could be assigned 2 games of each team in a season. That would be that each team would get the same ref in one home game and in one away game.

The individual impact of each ref on each team would be a maximum of 6 points. So Arsenal could know at the start of the season they have to calculate a loss of 6 points as they will have a particular referee (who for the sake of argument we will call Dean) who is biased against them twice in the season. Now and the season isn’t over yet we have had a risk of losing 15 points under one such ref. (We lost 12 of them by the way). And like I said the season is not yet over so I expect him once and even maybe twice around Arsenal this season. If we have him 6 times this would mean that he can have an impact of 18 points in one season. This is a totally ridiculous impact.

And by the way things are going for the moment with the PGMOL sending the same ref to us  every 3 or 4 games to Arsenal it could well be that we will have him 6 times (even 7 would be possible) this season. That is 3 times more than the maximum games that should be allowed.  Just his presence on our football field takes away 50% of the abilities of our team.

The same goes the other way round. Manchester United having the same ref 5 times in a season (who for the sake of a name we will call Webb) could bring them 15 points and at least a couple of highly debatable penalties in their favour.

It would also mean that there is always a cool down period when a ref has had a bad game. In fact they could appoint the refs even before the fixture list is made up. They could appoint and I just take an example Ref Dowd for the first Arsenal game at home and then he only will come back for the 20th game away from home. So even if he would screw us like he did at Newcastle last season it would take almost half a year before you face him again. By then any dust flying around will have settled. Now I remember we had him again just a few weeks  after the Newcastle game.

A bit like when Marinner last season did the Chelsea- Man United game and SAF was very angry about his game. And so they gave him a cool down period of about one year of no Man United games. Funny how we never seem to have had such a cool down period when Dean or Webb came to our fields and screwed us over?

But with the system I present all this would not be possible. And each ref would only pay one visit to Old Trafford in a year. Or the Emirates. Or any other PL stadium. And would see their players and manager back after a few months only.

I never like to go back to the same team in the same season. And this is the same for most refs. And in Belgium they do try to keep it that way. But in Belgium they have far more PL refs so they can interchange their refs in a better way.

In fact most refs don’t  like to go to the same stadium twice. If you face a team 4 or 5 times in a season,  the chance of the ref taking bits and pieces of the previous game in to the next game becomes more possible.  And as a ref you should start each game with a empty sheet. But if you face the same players every 3 or 4 weeks you build up a history with them. It can be a good one or a bad one but I don’t think it is a healthy situation.  Not for the players and not for the ref.

So maybe the PGMOL doesn’t mind such dangerous  relationship?

Now the defence of the PGMOL will be that they give the top games of the top teams to the top refs. Okay this could be a fair statement but this in fact is a bullshit statement if you ask me. So the PGMOL in fact is telling in public that some refs are not fit or qualified enough to do some games. And yet we (the managers, the players, …)  cannot question those refs? But by saying what they say the PGMOL themselves is telling us that some refs are not good enough.

Well, Mike Riley, let me tell you that some of the refs that have a Fifa badge (the top refs) have been really rubbish this and last season in the top games.

Another result is that apparently the top teams deserve to get the “better” refs (and of course I am writing “better” in sarcastic mode). And a result is that the lower teams have to do with those not that good refs. Now if we would take the point of view that the better the ref, the better the decisions are this means that the worse the ref, the worse his decisions will be. And as a result the lower placed teams have a greater chance of getting wrong decisions. So this alone means that lower placed teams have it more difficult than the better placed teams. I don’t know about you but this really sounds very unfair to me.  Again the 2 games under each ref does sound much fairer than the way the refs are appointed now.

If the system I propose will be applied a ref that loves you can bring you a maximum of 6 points. And a ref that hates you can cost you a maximum of 6 points. Still not perfect but in any case much better than the system the PGMOL and the PL are using for the moment where one individual can cost you up to 18 points in one season.  That is a possible 15 % of the points you can get. 18 points could be the difference between winning the league and ending outside the champions league spots.

How can any person with some sanity accept such a massive impact from one person that could be biased against your team or in favour of your team? I really think this is unacceptable and opens the door to malpractices of all kind.  And as I said before: we don’t know the ref his bias but the PGMOL and the PL know his bias all too well because as they have said themselves: they take it in account when appointing the refs.

The solution is simple Mike. If you want to be fair you only send the same ref twice to each team. But it takes a fair person to apply it. Are you such a  person?

 

64 comments to Giving each ref each team only twice a season would solve the ref crisis at a stroke

  • wambam

    This is far too obvious a solution – the FA will never go for it.

    Personally I’m sick of seeing Dean, he allows rugby tactics by opposing players but books any retaliation tackle. He wants to be the star, controlling the pace of the game. The man is a virus in our game, and needs to be irradicated.

  • Arvind

    Thanks Walter. It seems a really simple way to do things.

    I have 1 question though. What if the ref is “out of form” for a period? Like a player for example. A player eventually gets benched so logically for me, a referee should also get “benched”.

    Then, if that happens, you’d need a substitute referee..OR do you give the “form” referee more games? And which games? On what basis?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Arvind,

    good question and I have thought about that because a ref can also get injured (mostly muscular injuries) or get sick.

    The PGMOL and the PL are telling us they now have 19 refs. In fact this is not enough in my opinion. They should have more than 19 refs in the PL. I think at least 25 refs.
    Now this would mean that you can almost make sure that you never ever would have a problem of sending a ref more than twice to the same team. In fact it will make sure you get some refs only 1 time in a season.

    But I just wanted to show that with the current 19 referees it should be perfectly possible to only send each ref twice to each team.

    And still they don’t do it. Why???

  • WalterBroeckx

    As someone said earlier this week on this site: KIS (Keep It Simple) 😉

  • nicky

    Walter,
    In addition to the introduction of more technology by way of video equipment etc, I would like to see a pool of Euro referees
    (including EPL ones) for top division games throughout Europe.
    From this pool, officials would not be selected to control matches in their own country.
    All sorts of objections would be raised to this, I’m sure, but something must be done to stop bias and favouritism, which is rapidly getting out of hand.

  • Menace

    The FA and PGMOL are corrupt organisations. They have motives outside sport. Their remit is immeasurable and unquestionable. The football clubs and the football supporters are disenfranchised and are forced into accepting whatever is thrown at them, There is a requirement for supporters to band together and improve the fairness and balance of funding and officiating.

    I cannot forsee a solution without some turmoil. The power is in the hands of an organised minority and will not be easily rested.

  • Menace

    The use of a open draw as per FA cup would be an acceptable interim solution. Referees (balls 1- 25) in one pot and matches (1-38) in the other pot.

    What a simple solution………

  • malaysian gunner

    This article is spot on. I have never trusted these guys in black who think they are Zeus.There are enough examples to back my stand.
    That is why we can never get a 99% performance from the refs.Nesta pulled a shirt and Barca were given a penalty. I hope the FA will say such offences will be rewarded with the spot kick instead of giving the ref the discretion to decide otherwise.If a gk brings down a player harrying towards goal ,he should be off. No ifs and buts.
    There should be no grey areas for the ref otherwise he will decide the outcome of matches. We have enough of these.

  • Stuart

    Hi Walter, Arvind,

    with 19 refs, a few injuries can be managed quite well by rotation as each game week there is only 10 games so only 10 refs needed. These can be rotated whilst the other 9 are injured (highly unlikely that is) when they come back they will get a higher frequency of the games to build up their tally.

    More ref’s would be even better but the situation is still manageable even with injuries.

  • nicky

    @menace,
    Your first comment encouraged me no end but it was quickly followed by one which,IMO, didn’t really help. Something must be done to keep any semblance of bias and favouritism away from officials who should be “whiter than white”

  • In games where Dean has been referee, Arsenal have won 26.2% of the available points. Where Dean hasn’t been referee, Arsenal have won 69.2% of the available points.

    Either Dean is massively biased against Arsenal or the others are biased in favour of Arsenal.

    If we had won 69.2% of the points from the games where Dean was in charge we would have 6 more points.

  • Endee

    Nice one! Problem is there are 20 clubs then 19 refs.

  • ak47

    i would prefer this system to the one we have now as it fairer, but wouldnt the snakes just shed?
    the problem is its a network of the usual suspects who would most likely recruit and weed out. yes we’d get dean twice. but also webb twice. mason twice. etc…

    the snake still has wriggle room. we need vid tech and accountability.

  • chris from Cambridge

    Agreed. Too much familiarity is a bad thing for referees. Take Mike Riley at Man. Utd. for example !!

  • Shard

    I’ve always felt it is not correct to differentiate among ‘top’ referees and the rest once you make a select group. What use is having the group if they are not all ‘top’ referees. Thank you Walter. Great article, and such a simple solution. Of course the PGMO will seek to confuse and bring up questions of loyalty on the basis of geographical proximity, teams they support etc. ALl supposedly in the name of fairness. But in this case, even if a referee is unfair, as you say, the maximum harm he can do to a team is 6 points.

    I have also long felt that they should announce the referees for each game along with the fixture list. Why can’t they do that?

    Once again, great article Walter.

  • Shard

    Walter,
    please check your email. I have sent you something which MIGHT be related to this article.

  • Pat

    Walter your proposals are foolproof. They are also very obviously fair.
    You and Tony might be able to find ways to get them the widest possible publicity.
    At the very least people might then start to look at how referees are currently selected and ask a few questions themselves.
    Since the current published list of criteria is obviously not being adhered to, people might consider then that there might be another, secret list of criteria that are the ones that are actually being followed.
    That does indeed sound like a conspiracy.

  • JohnW

    Even a Euro-pool of refs wouldn’t totally solve the problem of bias, but it would limit it somewhat. Because the CL has the same pool, but still some teams are favored.

  • Kentetsu

    You could argue that more experienced refs are better able to deal with the added pressures of high profile games; that is games between the top teams, but also certain derbies (e.g. Newcastle – Sunderland). For those matches you a ref with at least half a year or a year experience in the EPL might be prefered. But most or all of the current refs have that much experience already anyway.

    Other than that, I don’t see why completely random ref selection with the same ref only twice a year for each team wouldn’t work.

  • Mahdain

    such a simple solution that i even mentioned in my article recently.. 2 games for each ref would help a lot to reduce the outrageous screwing we get from Dean,Webb & co.
    Also i think the same referee shouldnt ref the same fixture twice i,e if Dean gets the NLD at the white shit lane he shouldnt get it again at the Groove..same with Webb for the united games

  • bob

    Menace, Walter,
    Together you have the necessary ingredients:
    A demand for ref-form is necessary by the fans.
    The fans can decide to act like stakeholders
    and defend/advocate their interests; or act
    like couch potatoes and watch their medicine.
    Otherwise it’s all sound and fury signifying nothing.

  • Mahesh

    Off topic: nice video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ-kf1d9-qI

    A question that comes to mind is about the review of the referees. Even the proposed solution can fail with the reviewers controlling which referees come up next and which go down. Its always possible that we will have majority of refs favoring one team after a few years (if its not so to begin with). A transparent review system should be there to keep the system effective. Something like a review system where one person each from the two teams that are playing review the ref. After the playing teams are the biggest stakeholders. Then the two reviewers should sit together and come up with single report, which should be made public about the match. It can take a couple of days, but any bias towards one particular club will be removed from reviews. That would mean (ideally) that reviews will indicate how well the ref actually did – thereby leading the eventual relegation of biased refs. I am saying this assuming that it is not possible to have neutral reviewers (so, one of each who favor different teams should be the way to go). In fact, this can even be implemented with the current refereeing system – and I believe, would at least would make for fairer reviews. The key is transparency (make review public) and fairness (removing bias from review system).

  • bob

    Mahesh,
    And what happens when the reviewers from each team can’t or won’t reach accord?

  • mark

    I like the idea of refs having a limit of two games a season with any team. Yes, they need more refs to cope with injury too! And the cup games. But they need more to put two on the field at the same time. This plus video review of all penalties would help a make the correct decisions.

  • Mahesh

    Bob,
    In that case, the report has to be published with sections where both reviewers agree and where there is conflict. Essentially, let everyone see which decisions are that cannot be reconciled. The number of marginal calls that can go both ways will be much less, and I believe only those calls are the ones that may not be agreed upon by both parties. (And for such calls, even Untold Ref Review sides with the ref). I am just calling for more transparency and also the teams (that have most at stake in a refs performance, and are essentially customers to PGMOL/PBMOB/refs) to have a say in how the ref performed. This will also have the side effect of teams/managers not going after the referee in tunnel as soon as match finishes! Currently, teams feel helpless if a ref has screwed them. This way, refs will know that their performance will be evaluated by ‘both’ the teams involved. Hence, giving favor to one team will only make the ref-review look bad.

    Once, the majority of teams see that the refs are not able to perform at the levels they would like, I believe they will push for some kind of reform (more help to refs OR more refs OR something else that I am not able to think of now).

    Just note that, this is in addition to what Walter has suggested. I agree with Walter wherein some kind of randomized process needs to be implemented for referee-match assignments. Even then, one can question that as long as Mike Riley is head, and controls their pay, how much effective is it going to be to do this change? He can always ‘suggest’ the referees to ref certain way. So, there need to be more checks than just random assignments.

    Of course, I have just started thinking about this, and haven’t looked at any solution in detail. But, one thing where transparency will also fail, is, if media does not take up public responses to a ref’s performance and print/publicise it properly. If the current state of media remains, any kind of discrepancies in ref performances will remain ‘hidden’ and it would appear as if everything is all right. I do not know how this can be solved… may be bypass media via blogs? facebook? twitter? maybe. The more I think, the deeper the problem seems. There seem to be lot of re-inforcing factors that seem to maintain the status quo, and changing just one thing or one part may not have sufficient impact.

  • chris

    Good idea, still when we lose any game nobody thinks about the refs impact on that game,the blame is squared on “players rating and manager not good enough kind of” last season refs’ bad decisions costed us 17 points(3 games coul hav won but lost = -9 points,3 games could hav won but got a draw = -6 points and 2 games could have picked 2 points but lost = -2 points; preyer(s)decisions costed us 9 points and carling cup and other remaining points lost fairly and squarely.Imagine with 17 points lost that way????
    No prayers could want to lose any single game but when face hostile descisions in any game then we will thinking next season be better….. hopefully. our team and manager tries to do their best, fans are always supporting the club,but it gets more frustrating to see another season with nothing to write about trophywise. Man U will dominate this season rgardless of how good prayers other teams has because of this PGMOL thing. Walter, spot on article…. for the next episode struggle continues

  • Shard

    Just to voice support to Mahesh’s suggestion. In Cricket, the umpires on the field are indeed judged by the teams at the end of the match, where the team captain (a more important role in cricket) gives his team’s match report to the Match referee, who in this case can be likened to the ref observers, although his role is also to bring charges against players if they commit any violations.

    If nothing else, this’ll give clubs an official channel to lodge a protest without being called as moaning, making excuses etc.

  • Stuart

    Mahesh, something else you are unable to think of, I have one.

    Reduce the PL to 18 teams thus reducing annual number of games per team by 4. Then allow each team 3 or 4 opportunities per season to challenge the ref performance AFTER the game where by a review (such as seen on untold) takes place. If proven to be too high a percentage of wrong calls or very poor ref performance, the outcome (points and goal difference) of that game is cancelled out and a re-match takes place.

    You could bet every team, the FA, the Premier League and PGMO would have their own panel of reviewers scrupulously watching every move then.

  • John L

    @ shard,

    i like that idea. i also like that in rugby the ref is wired to a mic. this enables you to hear what is being said to the players and know why the ref made a certain call. at the very least it would be entertaining to see dean getting tongue tied trying to find legitimate reasons for calls…..

  • John L

    also it might be harder to brush off certain players abuse towards refs. watch out rooney….

  • Norm

    Another great piece of writing, Walter. How your totally reasonable suggestions could be argued against, I don’t know, but I would suspect dark, subterranean rumblings to such a fair plan. How did old mother Riley get the top job at PGMOL? Interviewed or voted in by who? Is it a set term? Long enough to enable Frigginson to achieve XX or even XXV no doubt.
    btw Who have we got on sunday?

  • Stuart

    At least the good news is the ref should let us win tomorrow

  • Mahdain

    @Norm its fergie’s least favourite Martin Atkinson..

  • Arvind

    @Mahdain: Isn’t Atkinson a Chelsea fan? I think so…So if the ref wants hates ManU and is a Chelsea fan…we might yet be in trouble.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    I wonder. If AFC wins, its Rednose XX. BUT, on a purely business basis the EPL can squeeze more juice/viewership/interest out of the MU/MC showdown still to come — at which the dark powers will have anointed Don Fergus as Lord Football. I wouldn’t put my money on a fair match fairly called, for that reason. So I fear for our prospects in this match. Plus, I see/think that ‘Arry’s come back into favor in the last week or so, and the Scummers dramatic turnaround could be another satisfying storyline for the dark powers.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Anyone else see Paul Scholes give Howard Webb a tongue-lashing this past Monday night at Blackburn?

    Scholes made a typical get the ball but also take out the player type foul. Webb whistled for the foul and Scholes went ballistic. Scholes shouted into Webb’s face, “I got the fucking ball!… No fucking way!”

    And Webb was all calm like and said, “Paul”. He’s on such familiar terms with Scholes, he calls him by his first name.

    Is anyone really surprised that despite that venom and language that Scholes used, he wasn’t even booked for dissent?

  • Johnny Deigh

    I don’t think it’s as much a question of a ref being a fan of a given team as much as it is a question of who butters whose bread.

  • Johnny Deigh

    By the way if you want, you can hire Webb to speak at one of your dinner events. Cost is £2,500 + expenses, gratuity not included.

  • Mahdain

    @Arvind yeah i dont like that appointment one bit..got Roman written all over it and another interesting part? Foy refereeing the sunderland vs spuds match though if im honest i wouldnt really mind seeing him screwing spuds over again 😉

  • John L

    what i find incredible is that of all the paid football journalists out there not one of them seems to be sniffing around these issues. maybe its not a story that helps further your career i.e making more enemies in the game then friends, not being granted access ‘behind the scenes’ or possibly upsetting editors and publishers. however, i would think that at least one journalist or editor would pause and say ‘this is possibly the biggest non-story in football, i think ill start sniffing around’

    im not talking about running a story quoting a player or manager who dares complain. im talking about, you know, actual journalism….investigation, uncovering facts and all that.

    i can understand why club owners, investors, FIFA, UEFA, FA’s, refs associations, TV executives etc might want to, shall we say, ‘manipulate’ the game. they stand to make alot of money. in other words i can see an incentive. what i cannot understand is the media not providing a check on that with more thorough investigation, leading to possible changes or restrictions on the powers that be. of course the media could be given incentives from their elite pals who run the game, mentioned earlier, but surely someone in the mainstream media out there has the journalistic incentive to uncover a BIG story!

    it would seem the evidence is there. unfortunately because most of it is collected by bloggers and other such peasants (no offense tony, walter and co.) it generally gets labelled as the ravings of conspiracy theorists and sore losers.

    the worlds gone mad….

  • Mahdain

    @John L thing is the media wont ever run those kind of stories because it will either directly or indirectly affect their bosses and thats why they shush and anyone who even try to say there is bias is ridiculed and called a whinger and a moaner and ofcourse they conclude with the “it all evens out” bullshit..we all remember what happened to Rafa when he tried to open the can of worms
    Also how can expect the BskyB and related partners talk about the rotten nature of the PL when their boss Mr Murdoch is one of the main reasons for it? We all remember he tried to buy Man Utd and even though his bid was blocked he is still helping them in one way or another…*hint hint* the TV schedule

  • John L

    @ mahdain,

    i understand that some media have the incentives not to dig to deep. my point was more that of all the different media surrounding football surely ONE of them isnt owned by someone with their foot in the door…surely ONE would have an incentive to rock the boat…

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    How much does Webb charge for just the Q&A? THAT would be worth the price!

  • bob

    John L,
    Glad you’ve awakened and come to your senses. Welcome to the FFM: the Financial-doper/Football/Media complex.

  • bob

    John L,
    That One you hope for couldn’t get a life insurance policy to pass on to his survivors. What’s needed is parliamentary protection and immunity and perhaps a witness protection program afterwards. One alone is not going to do it; it requires fans, not a majority but a lot, to create the groundswell that gives cover to any who wish to uncover the rot. To quote the Bard: “So foul a sky clears not without a storm.”

  • critic

    Plus for some important matches FA can import top referees from other european countries.

  • critic

    I think they had 14 referees last term. So 19 is quite an improvement. I am surprised untold didn’t boasted this fact.

  • Shard

    They had 18 referees last year

  • Adam

    @Walter, I remember you bringing this up a year or more ago, The situation has changed for the worse, the problems still remain, the answer is still simple. Those in charge will not install these obvious changes which is damning.

  • marcus

    @John L
    Since Sky-doch owns 3/4 of the media, they are hardly likely to be sniffing in their own excrement

  • malaysian gunner

    Lest anyone forget,Mark Riley gave MU a record number of penalties.Can you beat that.For Arsenal to win the epl in 1998,2002 and 2004 was unbelievable. Since then I believe it has become harder.2008 is a good example.
    The ref gave an inexpicable spot kick to Birmingham after Eduardo was deliberately injured.
    That is why for the gunners to win the epl in the future will be extraordinary.
    We have said a thousand times,errant refs must be punished where it hurts; the wallet.That is why I support the proposal to have more refs.Of course this will directly reduce amount each one will get.This is to ensure a ref officiates the same team twice at the most with relief standby.
    There are other grey areas to be considered.
    A)two footed lunges to be rc regardless whether the studs hit home
    B)shirt pulling /push/shove to be punished with sk
    c)sliding tackles also rc.
    Yeah I know soccer is a contact sport. The thugs are using the grey areas to deliberately injure the other guy.

  • Reviewer 02

    @Johnny Deigh

    I have reviewed the game, and highlighted the Scholes thing, I also asked my lady and a friend to independantly view it and see what they thought, They reached the same conclusions. Look out for my review City Chelsea, Gareth Barry gets away with the same on Mike Dean.

  • hedgehog

    Walter,
    is there any table of how many times team had which ref? For every team in EPL.
    (for example: Arsenal – 5x Dean, 3x Webb, 2x Dowd…)

  • bob

    Walter,
    It might work, but I don’t think that ref-rotation solves the underlying animus against Arsene/AFC. I realize this link goes to UEFA, but I plead that Arsene’s 3-game banning and fine by UEFA – as one-sided a “decision” as possible – but it is illustrative of how vicious the dark powers are and how, imo, reform of the branches will not cure the disease at the root. Anyway, I’ve been underwhelmed at the relative lack of attention that Arsene’s banning has received to date hereabouts at UA. So, here’s the link:
    http://themarblehalls.com/2012/03/31/uefa-talking-to-a-referee-much-worse-than-racism-qpr-preview/

  • malaysian gunner

    Despite SAF’s near strangle hold on the epl,he has not been able to make much of an impression in the cl.Perhaps it revolves round the refs.

  • Anyone who has watched the premier league over the years will realise that Man utd get a much greater ratio of favourable decisions than any other team-especially towards the buisness end of the season. That’s why I always say that to win the league, it’s no good being as good as united, you have to be significantly better because they get such a high-rate of favourable decisions. Look at the last few months:
    -the two soft penalties against Chelsea (especially the Welbeck one where he forces his leg onto Ivanovic’s leg to stimulate contact).
    – the disallowed adebayor goal against Spurs (probably the right decision, but would it have been disallowed if the goal was scored by united at old trafford)
    -the clear foul by Evra on a West Brom player in the penalty area at old trafford (if West Brom would have scored the penalty, the score would have been 1-1 and they would have had a foothold in the game.
    -the clear penalty that wasn’t awarded for Carrick’s trip on Danny Murphy at old trafford.
    All of these were game-changing decisions and all of them went in United’s favour
    It’s as bad as last season: Rooney’s elbow aqainst Wigan (no punishment), the vidic hand-ball against Arsenal which was a clear red card offence (both the linesman and referee ignored it), the penalty against Spurs at old trafford when they were 2-0 down (the replay showed that Gomez made contact with the ball before the man utd player), the dodgy penalty against Blackburn that helped them secure the league……. I could go on.
    But why does it happen?
    Well, we’re faced with the grim truth that Fergie has the majority of officials firmly under his thumb. Faced with the prospect of giving a game-changing decision against united, referees contiually opt for the quiet life and don’t give the decision because they know they will have their character assainated in the post-match press conference (when ever united lose a big game against a domestic rival see how Ferguson tears into the refs and officials) And it certainly works.
    Also you have to factor in how spinless the Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL)are. This is the body that selects the referees for the approriate fixtures. Take Martin Atkinson. He referred United’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Chelsea last March. In the post-match press conference, ferguson had this to say about Atkinson: ‘I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must say that when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst’ Watching the game, I though Atkinson’s performance was perfectly proficient. He certainly didn’t favour any team. But what do the PGMOL do? They don’t give Atkinson a man utd game to referee for over eleven months. So the subliminal message tney are sending out to all the referees who officiate in the premier league is: if you give pivotal decisons against Man utd and upset Alex Ferguson, you wont be chosen to referee their games. Unbelieveable. This creates a climate of institutionalised assistance and leniency that United continue to profit from.

  • malaysian gunner

    100% agree with John regarding the favourable decisions going Fergie’s way. That is why I said he can’t make a dent in the cl because the refs are not with him. Even then eare many strong teams in the cl let alone the europa teams who can easilt beat MU.
    SAF’s dream to conquer Europe will be just a dream .He maybe able to overhaul Liverpool’s title triumphs but I am confident he will be unable to beat the red’s euro trimphs even if he were to go on to age 99 or 109.

  • Liverpool red

    As a lifelong Liverpool fan I came across this site through search for corruption epl. I agree (almost) totally with majority of views on here regarding standard of refereeing.

    I used to think it was just bad, now I think there are “other” influences at work (and not just old whiskey nose).

  • WalterBroeckx

    Liverpool red,
    I think it is important for supporters from all teams (maybe apart from one that is always benefiting of course) to unite(sorry about that 😉 ) and to join forces to fight the low quality.

    We are a (moaning as they sometimes say) Arsenal blog but believe me that the only thing that I as a ref want to see is fair football. I would feel miserable if we would win a game like United did today. That was travesty of refereeing.

    Maybe if all supporters of all teams would ask for change we could do it.

  • City Blue

    MCFC fan in peace and agreeing 100 percent with this blog. Inspired idea about each ref only getting the teams twice a season, and it’ll certainly cut out any bias either for or against, or at least keep it more manageable. Some teams get the same ref over and over, and it can suck rocks.

    I don’t know many fans that aren’t hacked off with the current level of refereeing. Yes we’ve had decisions in our favour, but we’ve also had some crappy ones given against us too. I think what most fans from all teams want is some consistency rather than this arbitrary nonsense we currently have to put up with. Lee Mason (our Mr Dean) is the ref at the Wolves match… how many of our boys will end up with soft bookings just before the derby? It’ll be interesting to find out.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Hi City Blue, and guess what we just found out that Dean will be the ref against Chelsea. This is the 6th time this season we get our worst enemy. That is a total risk of 18 points for Arsenal!

    This is beyond words. We get him 4 times in the last 14 games. This in money time in the PL?

    The PGMOL does it openly. They don’t even pretend anymore

    Oh and prepare yourself for United winning the league at your stadium. Don Fungas has ordered it that way after the 1-6 and so it will happen.

  • Mandy dodd

    City blue, I fear Webb will have at least a say in your game against utd

  • City blue, not sure if you’ve seen this:
    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/

    Luckily for you Peter Walton has now retired:
    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/peter-walton-is-red-bastard.html

    Unfortunately for you Chris Foy and (as you mentioned) Lee Mason are still around:
    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/what-incredible-fluke-xxxi.html

    Coincidences, eh?

  • I think we should just move football formally to the tried and tested WWE model, where the result is known in advance by the organisers and the contestants, but they still put on a fantastic show anyway, and everyone goes home happy, except the fans of the good guy if he loses after some random bloke smacks him softly round the head with a soft plastic chair, thus “knocking him clean out” and winning the match with an uncontested pin after the fact.

    And in WWE, sometimes, the referees get knocked out by the contestants too, which could be fun in football occasionally.