By Walter Broeckx
The subject of referees was raised in an article of one of our readers this week, and the question was asked how the FA or the PGMOL could make sure refs would make less mistakes.
A reader asked about some kind of punishment that should be installed if a ref has had an influence on a game. And this was as so many I might say, another example of a person who writes a comment on Untold bringing up a good idea.
I put my brain to work and in fact the answer could be very simple. And it could bring a mechanism at work that could stop a ref from doing things that he shouldn’t do. If you understand what I mean.
The current situation is that refs are being paid by the PGMOL (I think) and in turn PGMOL are paid by the FA/EPL (again I think). PGMOL also get money from sponsors (I think). And apparently this is a first problem. We have to presume this as I cannot directly find out those things. As the public website from the PGMOL went down when we started to show an interest and there is nowhere to be found where the money comes from.
Presonally I think the PGMOL should only be paid by the FA/EPL. There is no need for sponsoring the refs. And certainly when those sponsors are betting companies or companies that also sponsor a team at the same time then there is a conflict of interest. I’m not saying anything is wrong with those sponsors but I think it is important to even avoid anything that could lead to raising eyebrows.
The first thing they then should do is to give a nice pay raise to the refs in the EPL. I have heard they now earn around £60.000 a year. They can double it. Or even triple it. But not just for doing nothing different compared to today. No the trick is in making their income dependant on performance and correct decisions.
Let us explore this via a hypothetical example. Let us assume refs could earn around £250.000 a season. And this means that if they do 25 games they could earn a possible £10.000 a game.
We could say for expenses and for their training during the week they are sure of keeping at least £2.000 of that money for each game. But the rest is dependant on how they did their game. In short it is payment by results. Not payment for each Man U win – but payment according to how accurate their decision making is.
If a ref gets a score on a ref review of more than 90% of the decisions correct it could mean that he would get the full £10.000 for that game.
If he only gets a score of 70% he will only get a maximum of £7.000 for his game. So making correct decisions becomes highly important for the ref himself. It will hurt him in his wallet. And nobody likes to get hit there.
Of course he might try to get 90% of the decisions correct and still try to tilt the game in favour of one team by giving a penalty to one team. Or refusing to give a penalty to the other team. We therefore have to make sure that the system gets fine tuned to avoid people from cheating.
So we could say that if they make a mistake on the big calls like red cards, a penalty or a goal that no matter what the rest of the score was they will lose 30% of their income per decision from that game.
An example: Howard Webb in the Chelsea – MU game this season should have lost 30% for not giving a red card to Cahill for a foul as the last defender. He should have lost another 30% for giving a penalty to MU that wasn’t one. This would mean that if he would have all the rest of the decisions correct he could only get a maximum of £4.000 for that game.
So a ref knowing he could lose £6.000 in 90 minutes for making the wrong calls (and he could lose up to £8.000 in a game) will maybe make sure that he will try to do his damnedest and will not give silly penalties or don’t give blatant penalties depending on the teams on his field.
This will meant that a good ref could earn a maximum of £250.000 a year but if he makes a lot of mistakes it could drop to £50.000. So how would you react as a ref if someone comes over and asks you “to make mistakes? Knowing it could cost you a lot of money.,,
And of course the final thing is that this should be made public. The PGMOL or the FA/EPL should not say he got £4.000 for this game. No they could just say he had a score of 60% and missed two important decisions. Then people will know the refs are not just followed but also punished for their “mistakes”.
And this system can be used to judge the refs at the end of the season and demote refs who have got too many low scores and who have made too many wrong decisions. Again the key words are “opening up” on how the refs are being assessed and judged.
People might say that if we would do it like that, there would be nobody left to do the job. Well I think they are wrong. I think 99,99% of the refs become a ref because they are attracted to it, (or not talented enough as a player) They don’t start becoming a ref for “the money”. Refs in the lower divisions get peanuts so money is not the main reason.
Money only becomes important when you get higher up the ranks. And when you get higher you get more money. But as every coin has a back side it also will mean that the higher you get the more exposure you will get. And the more your performances will be examined and your mistakes will be made public and exposed.
Is this hard for the refs? Maybe. But remember nobody is holding a gun against their head to become a ref. If they can’t stand the pressure they can write a letter to the PGMOL saying they want to stop. And then they can go back to their former job and put back the police uniform on. Or go back to plumbing. Or start to study for optician as there was something wrong with your eyes.
If they can’t stand the heat, they better stay out of the kitchen. I think there are enough candidates to do the job if they would get the chance. If they are good they can get praised for being good and earn a nice amount of money. If they are not that good they will feel it in their wallet and get exposed as not that good. The choice would be up to the refs: do your job in the right way and earn and be praised or be a bad ref and earn less and eventually lose the job.
Like I have said a few hundred times before: bring the ref reviews and all what goes with being a ref in the open and there will be no dark things to hide.
Of course there is another solution if the PGMOL and the FA/EPL don’t like this one. They could bring in something like instant video replay during the games….
But doing nothing…is not an option if you ask me.
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