A FRIGHTFUL REALITY………Don McMahon
There has been much written and posted about the PGMOL and its members. Lets be clear and rational about some aspects of these referees:
1) Where they come from probably doesn’t have much to do with how they officiate but who they support does.
2)What they are told to do or not do, as the case may be, is crucially important in the degree of fairness and honesty we see or don’t week in and week out…we are all in the dark about this.
3) We are also in the dark about the assessments the PGMOL does for every game. Do they concur with Walter’s assessments or are they spun to favour a rosier view?
4) I counted only 6 FIFA accredited officials on the EPL lists. Where is the 7th one?
5) How do these men feel about goal-line technology and video replays? Their willingness to support these technologies will tell us a lot about their willingness to improve.
6) The fundamental issue of too few referees is a real one since officiating every week, either as an assistant and/or a referee makes for a long , hard season. The more one handles big games, the more one is stressed and influenced by those games.
7) What really concerns me is that we haven’t seen a lot of new, fresh faces over the last 5-10 seasons in the PGMOL. This means the Clubs know EVERY official rather intimately and also can predict what they can get away with. In Europe, British teams have not fared too well when officiated by less familiar referees and this makes a big difference in the EPL, where they know which referee buttons to push and who they can influence.
8) There is a visible degree of familiarity and even chumminess between certain EPL teams, players and the referees. Referees should have NO friends or buddies on the field, their job is to avoid any appearance of favouritism….but I must say this is not always the case in EPL matches.
9) The consistency of decisions from game to game and referee to referee is my MAJOR concern and is always the Achilles heel of officiating. Last season, there was a dreadful disparity and incoherence from game to game and from referee to referee for many teams, not just the Arsenal. It is certain that many EPL officials do NOT consistently or correctly apply the Laws and their interpretations, despite FIFA’s strict requirement to do so. This is not only a failure of the officials BUT the PGMOL as well.
10)Finally, the total lack of accountability from the PGMOL, either for transparency and honesty is of crucial concern. We cannot trust them to correct their mistakes, improve their officials and ensure consistent and impartial application for all EPL teams. Yet that is their CORE mission…….a scary reality.
My points are presented in order to focus our attention on what really matters. Whether an official is from Yorkshire or Ypres has little bearing on how he officiates. His match preparedness and courage in fairly and firmly applying the Laws in an impartial manner is of crucial import.
Another point I would like to make is the absence of female officials in the PGMOL. As far as I know only Shaun Massey was ever used in the EPL as an assistant. She did a good job but was openly mocked by certain cave-dweller pundits and commentators and I don’t know if we’ll ever see her again. I have worked with female assistants and they are absolutely as good as their male counterparts so why don’t we have more women at this level?
We should NOT be fretting over whether the Arsenal will be protected and respected this season or any other one for that matter, yet we are and rightfully so. Imagine what results AFC would have had if SAF had been their manager and what results United would have had if Wenger had been theirs. They are both great managers BUT one performed miracles and the other black magic….I will leave the reader to divine which is which.
- 4 August 1999: Nic Anelka transferred to Real Madrid for £23,500,000 – a profit of £23m which it is said, paid for the new training complex that Mr Wenger wanted built. Also quoted as 2 August in some reports.