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October 2016
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PGMO Pre-season Updates

by Andrew Crawshaw

I have started my preparations for the referee previews for this coming season and have noticed some changes within our favorite referees organisation, so I thought I would bring them to your attention.

I am writing this on Monday Afternoon and as yet the referee page of the Premier League website ( hasn’t been populated – thanks guys!  There is a general page relating to the PGMO which has the following gems :-

Premier League matches are officiated by Select Group referees and assistant referees.

They meet for a ‘training camp’ twice a month, where they perform physical and technical training sessions, and analyse match videos.

There is a robust system for measuring Select Group performance over the season. Each Premier League match is evaluated by a former senior referee who scrutinises every decision using the match footage and ProZone to measure the officials’ technical performance. Former players and managers (Match Delegates) assess the accuracy and consistency of decision making and their management of the match.

Technology is used as an aid too: detailed performance analysis is supported by ProZone which provides statistical data on each match

So the Match Delegates who prepare the initial reports on the referees and assistants is done by ex players and ex managers, two groups hardly noted for impartiality or knowledge of the rules judging from their comments in the press, radio and TV when they perform pundit duties.

So what are the changes for this year?

Firstly this season there are 18 referees in the Select Group who will officiate the vast majority of Premier League games this coming season.  They are :-

  Home County Age Year Appointed FIFA Accredited
Martin Atkinson West Yorkshire 45 2005 Y
Stuart Attwell Warwickshire 33 2016  
Mark Clattenberg Durham 41 2004 Y
Mike Dean Mersyside 48 2001  
Roger East Wiltshire 51 2013  
Kevin Friend Leicestershire 45 2009  
Mike Jones Cheshire 48 2008  
Robert Madley West Yorkshire 30 2013 Y
Andre Marriner West Midlands 45 2005 Y
Jonathan Moss West Yorkshire 45 2011  
Lee Mason Lancashire 44 2006  
Michael Oliver Northumberland 31 2010 Y
Craig Pawson South Yorkshire 37 2013 Y
Lee Probert Wilyshire 43 2017 Y
Graham Scott Oxfordshire 48 2015  
Neil Swarbrick Lancashire 50 2011  
Anthony Taylor Cheshire 37 2010 Y
Paul Tierney Lancashire 35 2016  


Secondly there is a new group of professional referees (12 are full time, 6 part time) to look after Championship matches.  They are known (imaginatively) as Select Group 2.  Whilst we probably won’t see much of them, they probably present the most realistic referees to be promoted to the Pl in the future.  They are :-

  Home County Age
James Adcock Nottinghamshire 32
Peter Bankes Mersyside 32
Darren Bond Lancashire 35
David Coote West Yorkshire  
Andy Davies Hampshire  
Scott Duncan Northumberland  
Geoff Eltringham Tyne & Wear  
Simon Hooper Wiltshire  
Tony Harrington Cleveland  
Chris Kavanagh Manchester  
Oliver Langford West Midlands  
James Linnington Isle of Wight  
Andy Madley West Yorkshire 34
Steve Martin Staffordshire  
Tim Robinson West Sussex  
Jeremy Simpson Lancashire  
Keith Stroud Hampshire  
Andy Woolmer Northamptonshire  

I cant find out which 6 of the 18 are part-time, sorry

Alongside the announcement of Select Group 2, the EFL has clarified its referee and assistant appointment policy for season 2016/17.  The restrictions mean match officials will not be eligible to participate in certain games if they:

  • Reside in the same town or city as either club;
  • Have played for any of the participating clubs at youth, under-21 (reserve) or senior level;
  • Take an active interest in a club (season/match ticket currently or previously);
  • Have personal connections with a participating club

(Read more here)

Thirdly the 27 Select Group Assistant Referees who prominently officiate within the Premier League will also become full time professional match officials.  They are :-

  Home County FIFA Accredited
Simon Beck Bedfordshire Y
Simon Bennett Staffordshire Y
Gary Beswick Durham Y
Lee Betts Norfolk Y
Dave Bryan Lincolnshire  
Stuart Burt Northamptonshire Y
Darren Cann Norfolk  
Stephen Child Kent Y
Jake Collin Mersyside Y
Derek Eaton Gloucestershire  
Andy Garratt West Midlands  
Andy Halliday North Yorkshire  
Constantine Hatzidakis Kent  
Ian Hussin Mersyside  
Peter Kirkup Northamptonshire  
Scott Ledger South Yorkshire  
Harry Lennard East Sussex  
Simon Long Suffolk  
Sian Massey West Midlands  
Mick McDonough Tyne & Wear  
Adam Nunn Wiltshire  
Marc Perry West Midlands  
Michael Salisbury Lancashire Y
Mark Scholes Buckinghamshire  
Eddie Smart West Midlands  
Richard West East Yorkshire  
Matthew Wilkes West Midlands  

On a personal note, I am delighted to see the return of Sian Massey to the list of Assistant Referees for the forthcoming season.  She always struck me as about the best we could have and I can only remember her making one error in Arsenal games.  Welcome back and I hope you appear in an Arsenal game very soon.

Fourthly there is likely to be a major change in the attitude taken by referees to managers and players this year 

At least that seems to be the intention of the Premier League, EFL and The FA who have announced a collective undertaking to improve behaviour across the game.

Their undertaking will task the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) to take a stronger position and action towards unacceptable participant conduct.

This will focus on behaviour towards match officials, with the aim of reducing disrespectful conduct such as aggressively challenging decisions or running from distance to confront an official.

The PGMO will apply the Laws of the Game to manage rigorously the following incidents of bad behaviour with the following sanctions.

Dissent towards match officials – Yellow cards will be issued to players who:

  • Show visibly disrespectful behaviour to any match official
  • Respond aggressively to decisions
  • Confront an official face to face
  • Run towards an official to contest a decision

Offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards match officials

  • Red cards will be issued to players who confront match officials and use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards them.

Physical contact with match officials

  • A yellow card for physical contact with any match official in a non-aggressive manner (e.g. an inquisitive approach to grab the official’s attention).
  • A red card for physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.

Surrounding match officials

  • A yellow card for at least one player when two or more from a team surround a match official.
  • The FA will continue to sanction teams when they surround match officials.

Conduct in the technical area 

  • The requirements of the Technical Area Code of Conduct will be more rigorously enforced for players and club staff.
  • Additionally, match officials will be required to retain professional detachment from players and club staff at all times.

This initiative – if rigorously implemented – is likely to have a major impact on the way the opening games of the season are conducted and will make predicting the referees performance something of a lottery.

[But I am certain we can rely on you to win that lottery Andrew.    Tony.]


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26 comments to PGMO Pre-season Updates

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    I have just drafted the first referee preview of the season so hopefully I will be somewhere in the right ‘ball park’ if not the winner of the lottery.

    The new rulings regarding behaviour have the potential to re-define how both players and coaching staff behave on the pitch it will every interesting to see how strictly they are interpreted. Players have, for years, been used to swearing at officials, surrounding them or running towards them when they feel that a decision hasn’t gone their way. My reading is that all such behaviour will earn red or yellow cards this year.

    Should be a very interesting start to the season.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmm, so we will still have Mike Dean around this coming season to officiate in the Premier League games. According to report, I think it has once been said the man is overdue to retire as a Premier League referee in accordance with lay down Uefa rules and guidelines. If it’s so, why hasn’t him retire or be retired by the FA?.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Are the ref ages correct in the above table.For instance Dean and Atkinson look at least in there late 50s but the table shows them to 45s.

  • Leon


    They used to quite rightly retire English referees at 48, but the law was changed to bring us into line with European law. They are now evaluated annually for fitness etc.

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    I used Wikipedia for the information – should be OK but not guaranteed.

  • Menace

    Amazing that in this 21st century there is no ethnic diversity in the Select group (perhaps that’s what select means!).

    It is a total abortion of cultural control.

  • Gord has an article up, on new rules for the players with Wenger’s opinions on them. One is the kickoff, the ball no longer needs to roll forward.

    I will predict that the new rules will not be applied equally to all teams to begin the season (ManU and others will get away with more abuse of officials than say Watford or Swansea), and that the rules will gradually decay away to the same as always by the end of the season.

    Dear FA.

    I red carded the Arsenal player because he aggressively looked at me. It was such an aggressive look, I didn’t notice that he was 50 meters away at the time.

    signed, PGMO flunky

  • Pat

    I fear you are right, Gord. The new rules will be strictly applied to Arsenal, loosely to most other teams and be gradually forgotten as the season goes on.

  • Chris


    reading the restrictions, it seems that certain issues AFC have had in the past with the choices of referees should not happen again ?

    Or am I wrong ?

  • Gord

    I think there are holes in the definitions so large, you could drive a container ship through.

    Dear FA.

    At the first whistle of the game, I found that it didn’t matter what direction I looked, there was an Arsenal player. I was surrounded. I immediately carded the closest Arsenal player, who was 20 meters away. Turning around in a circle, it was obvious I was still surrounded by Arsenal players. So, I issued a caution to the next closest Arsenal player (25 meters away).

    By the end of the game, I had cautioned almost every Arsenal player, and had sent off 4 players for a second cautionary offense.

    It was just shameful how Arsenal kept surrounding me!

    signed, PGMO flunky

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I read the restrictions regarding the choice of referees as applying to the championship. They were placed in that section. I presume there are similar ones in place for the PL but really have no conclusive knowledge of what exactly they say.

  • Norman14

    I already noted how this will work. Someone suggested that “discretion” will be used. Does that mean that a foul mouthed prick like Rooney will NEVER get a card for swearing because that is his normal every day demeanor? Whereas Mesut will get carded at least every other game with that look of incredulity he gives referees after he has been clattered for the 20th time with no recourse?

    I also noticed that these rules are across all the leagues. On the weekend, a Grimsby defender was given a straight red for a professional foul OUTSIDE the box. Under the new rules, he should have waited until the opposition player was inside the box before fouling him. Yes, they would have got a penalty, but he would only have got a yellow card. So he misses 3 games when he could actually have got away with it.

    One thing for sure, it’ll be interesting to see how Mike “Shite” Dean interprets the new rules! And “Teapot” Lee Probert as well.

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    A rather unique interpretation worthy of Mike Dean at his most Machivellian!

    I doubt that was the intention of the law writers but you could very well be right.

  • Gord

    In society, the courts often look for the intention of the law, especially when one gets to the Supreme Court. And while many rulings are to the letter of the law, some are to the spirit.

    In England, it seems not to matter what the letter of the law or the spirit of the law (as intended by the law writers) is concerned, rather it is the spirit of the 😈 Mike Riley. What does Mikey want?


  • WalterBroeckx

    Any London refs to be seen yet? Or Kent refs? Too Southern I think… too strict in applying the rules in a more European way…?

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    No not yet, a couple more ‘southerners’ on the Championship list in Linnington, Robinson and Stroud. Child, Hatzidakis and Lennard in the Assistant Referees list, apart from them virtually all North of London. Five from the West Country – Roger East, Simon Hooper and Adam Nunn are from Wiltshire and Andy Davies and Keith Stroud from Hampshire.

  • Andy Mack

    Andrew, Wilts can certainly be considered as ‘west country’ but Hants is South.
    Still none from the South East though.
    And a very poor representation of the country both territorially and by population (as well as by ethnicity). Anyone would thing it was being organised by someone with a Northern Chip on their shoulder…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Players surrounding and being agressive to refs will be penalised……does that apply to high profile England players as well?
    Will be interesting to see how they apply things.
    Wonder if Eric Dier and Delle Alli will be given special dispensation to do what they want this season as well?
    Will Jamie Vardys ability to wrap his leg around that of an opposing defender mean he will get several times more penalties that Arsenal next season?
    Who will be the PGMOLs chosen team this season…..everywhere you look media darling managers ,players and teams abound……will be very confusing for the refs just to keep up with it. Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, City, Utd, Leicester, West Ham, even Everton… many games against each other…..what’s a ref to do?

  • Gord

    I stumbled across some referee jokes.

    (Some) Funny Reasons to Become a Soccer Referee

    You love football, but can’t quite understand the rules.
    You have the strange desire to run aimlessly around in the wind, rain, hail and snow.
    You love the sound of verbal abuse.
    You find it hard to make decisions, and whenever you do, you’re always wrong.

    All of the above fits with the PGMO, so why do they want to remove the 3rd reason?

  • Rich

    Can’t see them going full Ferguson for Utd in Mourinho’s first year, but I think there might be a big jump further in that direction.

    As for the rest, there are a lot of media favourites about, many of whom might kick up a stink if mistreated, so they’ll have to tread carefully.

    For us, business as usual, though with all those big name managers about and some extra care/love for Spurs, Utd, city, Chelsea, Liverpool, and maybe some for Leicester things could be a little worse.

    Safe predictions : very unlikely to get a pen when it really matters in a game, similar for red cards, almost certain not to get a pen or red card against big rivals; heavy use of advantage rules to tilt things again, ditto tactical fouling and manhandling players like Ozil to win possession in dangerous areas.

    Ah, enough to almost make you wish we could keep playing pre-season games- 2 pens in 4, neither of which we’d get in prem; Xhaka being allowed to contest strongly to dispossess people from behind/the side in dangerous positions, etc.

  • Norman14

    Where is Dowd?

  • Slysoulman

    Good read, Andrew. Well done. I wonder what the proximity of the home towns of each referee is to London though, considering UA has always made the point that referees from the south and areas around London don’t get a look-in. As you’re wondering, I’m an overseas Gooner.
    Leon: Does it mean referees don’t have a threshold for retirement anymore? Please enlighten me.

  • Jammy J

    Has anyone read the extremely strange comments made by the Premier League executive chairman?

    “Without being disrespectful to any club, we have a strategic plan at the Premier League and the strategic plan says putting a new name on the trophy in every six-year period.”

    “That doesn’t mean we don’t want any team to win it. It just means we would rather see some sort of rotation, for all neutrals in the game (what Leicester achieved) was a big moment.”

    What the hell is that all about?!

  • Markyb

    Strategic plan eh, hmmmm

  • Goonermikey

    In light of recent comments, it’s interesting to see an article on the FA website written by Mike Riley saying how wonderful referees are. It gets better. Aside from a picture of Riley himself (get me a bucket) there is also a picture of one player. I bet you can’t guess which of Mike’s favourite Salford based clubs the player was from?!!!!!

  • Minesy


    My understanding was that originally the red card outside the box was to stop defenders fouling there so as not to concede a penalty … the idea of then getting a red as well as a penalty inside the box was essentially the team being punished twice for one offense … the new rule I thought was to address that issue … Walter ???