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Gunning for the PGMOL: time for Mr Wenger to say clearly that refereeing here is not fit for purpose

By Blacksheep

In the last week Arsene Wenger has been the focus of much press attention on account of what he has had to say about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League.

In the last decade Untold Arsenal has ploughed a sometimes lonely but determined furrow in highlighting the ineptitude of some of the decision-making made by members of the PGMOL, and in that spirit I thought I’d write in support of pour manager’s position but argue that he should go much further.

In the wake of Mike Dean’s highly dubious (to say the least) decision to award a penalty against Calum Chambers for handball and Anthony Taylor’s (at best) inconsistent performance in the Chelsea home game the press have been quick turn on the Frenchman who has done so much to improve football at the top level in this country.

Jack Pitt-Brooke in the Independent accused him of hypocrisy and of being myopic in not seeing the faults within his own team and using referees’ decisions to deflect criticism. Amy Lawrence in the Grauniad decided to run with the tried and trusted critique of Arsenal’s inability to defend.

Jeremy Wilson in the Torygraph warned that Wenger ‘risks further censure’ for adding yet more criticism to his ‘outburst’ after the West Brom game, in calling Taylor’s decision to award Chelsea a penalty as ‘farcical’.

Wenger went on to say: “Referee decisions influence the game,” he said. “But nobody talks about it. So that means nothing will change.”

I watched the game on New Year’s Eve from the comfort of my sofa and thought a draw was fair even if the penalty was a travesty.

As for the Chelsea game, Tony and I chatted about this and more on the way home from the game on Wednesday. It had been a good game of football, Chelsea under Conte do not ‘park the bus’ and the match was often open and entertaining. Yes we could have defended better and on another night might have been more effective and blessed with better luck.

But both games were ultimately determined not by the quality of Arsenal’s finishing or defending; they were decided by the decisions made by the match officials and Arsene Wenger is perfectly entitled to point this out. We can debate the nuances of whether Moses fouled Maitland-Niles or whether Hazard exaggerated the contact made with him or not, but it changes nothing: Taylor gave a penalty for one of those incidents and not the other. Hazard converted the spot kick and equalized.  If a penalty had been given for the foul on AMN and (if Alexis had scored) it might have ended 3-2. On the 31st while WBA may have felt aggrieved to get nothing from a game in which they played well, not penalizing Chambers would have left the score 0-1.

Refs’ decisions change matches every bit as much as managers’ or players’ one‘s do. So why can’t managers talk about it without the risk of being fined or banned? Why can’t we expect the PGMOL officials to be held accountable to public scrutiny as officials are in other countries?

I have a hunch (one that will please the AAA) that M. Wenger will leave in the summer. He is putting in place a new structure of backroom staff at the club to both ensure his legacy and provide stability for the future.

He is 68 and has lots of opportunities ahead of him if he wants to continue managing at the top level. If I was him I’d walk away in June and take up a position with a French club or perhaps even one of the Spanish trio. I’d have a go at winning the Champions League and then, in say three years time, look at taking the French national side to a Word Cup and Euros before retiring with a seat on the Arsenal board.

So if I was him (which I’m not)* then I’d come out all guns blazing right now about referees in England. I’d call out the PGMOL as being either corrupt or incompetent. I’d build on what he’s said before about time wasting, the need for video technology, and recent remarks about how refs are ‘treated leniently’ by comparison to those on the Continent. I would speak from the heart as a fan – not just of Arsenal but of football – and as someone who has seen the parlous state of officialdom at first hand for over 20 years.

Wenger has earned the right to criticize referees and, more than this, he is ideally placed to do so. What will the FA do? Fine him? He’s got loads of money (the AAA are forever telling us this). Ban him? Well honestly do any of you think Wenger does that much from the touchline? He’s no Klopp or Conte after all. He sets up the team and trusts them to work out how to play, he can do all that from the stands.

Will Arsenal censure him if speaks out? Not a chance, for as Tony Adams and the AAA continually insist Arsene is above criticism at Arsenal; the board are cowed and he is in full control.

So come on Arsene – let ‘em have with both barrels. Tell the FA what we are all saying and thinking: i.e. that the state of refereeing in the Premier League is not fit for purpose and until root and branch reform is pursued it they, the FA and PGMOL, that will continue to bring our national game into disrepute, not a bespectacled near septuagenarian Frenchman from Alsace.

 

*nor is Tony


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45 comments to Gunning for the PGMOL: time for Mr Wenger to say clearly that refereeing here is not fit for purpose

  • finsbury

    It was a privalage to see Wilshere make a return to such high levels yesterday evening.

    Props to the coaches and physios to use the Europa to get him ready to take his chance if and when there was a CM midwinter fixture crunch injury.

    It was a bad setback for the best English Footballer when the pgMOB rep the predictable Dean could not give the easy red card to a Man Utd player for a late lunge not forgetting he was last man.

    This Footballer knows he won’t get the same protection as others’ on the Football field, and he’s said it many times in the past since he was young, yet none of these staming hacks and desperate vampires that you refer to above appear to have the footballs required to use those quotes and that is because they are even more predictable then the pgMOB 😉

    These clowns can’t explain why the national team can’t even draw with Iceland, yet they’ve been hounding AW and AFC for twenty years! Alan Partdridge (who started off as a footy hack spoof) would be impressed with their efforts!

    Well with the quality of English footballer on the pitch last night not forgetting Cashely or the best British CM in twenty years(not an opinion as he proved it to the watching world in a tournament!) AW has already left his mark on English Football. It’s already been a big impact if you listen to admirers like Pardew or John Gregory (tottenham fan!), and we can see with Footballers of such quality that it will only get bigger.

    And that’s why they bark so loudly.

  • BNG

    What makes me laugh is how the F.A directives to the referees/linesman are quietly forgotten like …….clear daylight for an off-side as level is on-side, shirt pulling is a mandatory yellow card, they really are full of crap and hopefully Wenger will give them both barrels but then again he has allowed us to be mugged up by the referees since he has been manager by not calling them out on a regular basis

  • Another ‘why’ question. Why does the English Press always tow the party line regarding refereeing decisions especially when AFC is involved? The more the garbage they spew on it the more my estimations of their reputation takes a dirty hit. Surely they don’t all see things the same way unless they are acting out a script!

  • Pat

    I think you are asking rather a lot of Arsene Wenger, Blacksheep. He has mentioned the question of refereeing time and again and always been punished with fines or bans. He must feel there is a risk that this will affect the team.

    In any case, why should he be a lone whistle blower? Where are the others? He can’t be the only one who knows there is something fishy going on. Is there only one manager with integrity in the EPL? Rather a damning comment, surely.

  • Jerry

    Apparently, the FA wants Wenger to clarify his comments after the last two games. It might be helpful if an article was written highlighting all the questionable penalties/ red cards that have gone against us/ not issued to the other team throughout the season.

    The article can then be linked and conveniently tag Arsenal on Twitter saying “To @Arsenal, helping Arsene Wenger with his his comments for the FA”

  • Chris

    Just watching Sp*rs vs West ham
    I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me…Dean refereeing that game ?
    That Aurier tackle would have earned any Arsenal player a red one.
    And guess what…suddendly they tie the game.
    This is just ridiculous and they (PGMOB/FA) are getting away with it.
    Guess clubs don’t give a damn, the gravy train of TV rights is just too good to pass.

    2 minutes to go….am waiting for the penalty against West Ham…

  • Nitram

    Don’t say it too loud but all in front of a half empty stadium.

  • ahmad

    Im glad to see you write once again blacksheep. I totally agree with you that Wenger has very little to lose coming out blazing against the referees, however I do have a few points to point out
    1. Wenger actually won’t be the first manager to do that. Untold likes to take the glory for the seemingly increased discuss on referees in the EPL, but I beg to differ. That honor solely belongs to mourinho, in his last few days at Chelsea the man went gung ho, attacking every thing moving, his players, medics, press and of course, the refs. I actually supported his campaign because I felt hr showed courage to publicly go against the referees. However, can you remember untolds reaction? Scorn, disdain, untold instead of supporting someone who finally had the guts to stand up to the pgmo, became the loudest critics, articles upon articles, posts upon posts mocking mourinho. Calling him moaninho, cry baby, sore loser etc. Now can you tell me why fans of other clubs should treat Wenger any different when he decides to also go against the refs? Frankly, Wenger isn’t morally qualified to lead the fight against ref decisions. The man who is known to be blind( I didn’t see it) when controversial decisions have favored his team, can hardly expect to be accepted as a crusader for proper refereeing.

  • ahmad

    Just done watching spurs against westham, spurs fans were booing Dean 🙂 🙂

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The FA may have charged Le Boss for condemning Mike Dean for been bais to Arsenal to have unjustifiably awarded a penalty to WBA which under good and correct match referring, he ought not to have made the penalty call which many football experts and pundits in the world said it’s no penalty. No football experts or pundits whose comments on the issue that I read of in the media have supported Mike Dean’s penalty award decision to WBA in their PL home match against Arsenal.

    And the Anthony Taylor’s controversial penalty decision against Arsenal at the Ems in the PL yesterday purportedly for Bellerin kicking Hazard boot or should I say feet is also not supported in the media by any football pundits or experts who have made comments on that case other than reporting the controversial penalty which referee Anthony. Taylor gave to Chelsea. A penalty decision making which Le Boss saw as a farce or farcical.

    So, what is the FA charging Le Prof for? Just to explain what he has already explained to the media in his press conferences on the subjects? Or for saying the truth on bad match referring by some senior referees in the PL as he has seen their match results manipulations intended to make Arsenal dropping points in the PL games which is notoriously been carryout for over a decade now against Arsenal in their PL games? More so, as it has become an obnoxious tradition and unacceptable trend under the watch of Mike Riley, the PGMOB boss.

    Full- time: Spurs 1-1 West Ham. But for Son’s drive, Obiang’s stunner would have carried the night for the West Hammers.

  • Jjgsol

    One observation about the chel$ki incident.

    Hazard had his left foot in the air, so, in order to keep his balance he would have instinctively been leaning balance. If bellerin had hit so hard from the side, how come he did not fall backwards rather than the forwards that he did fall.

    Conclusion. A dive.

  • Jjgsol

    Backwards not balance. Sorry, predictive texting.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nice one Blacksheep, agree with you, also have a hunch Wenger will leave this summer in a planned exit, I suspect he would have gone last summer, but the club structure was not ready,and Stan persuaded him to stay, possibly against wengers better instincts.
    If so, Wenger will go out with a bang, he will expose some of the forces against him, and will continue to do so long after he has left arsenal. he will know enough to cause serious embarrassment to those at the top of the English game.
    There will be short term pain. We will get shit decisions until the end of the season, but Wenger will ultimately send shockwaves through the English football establishment, as he helped do so over the Marseilles scandal

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While I like to think that AW will stay until the end of his contract , I would like to call out the cheats and their cohorts . So what if they throw the book at him ? Who do your think will come out of this smelling of roses ?

    AW , the highly educated scholar and exemplar and epitome of righteousness ,
    or the buffoons at the FA and the ……(Fill in a suitable/derogatory word here ) of PIGMOB ?

    The man who forever changed the face of English League football of the clowns (mis)managing the affairs of England’s international team. The man who brought in millions of overseas fans who never had supported a football club, or those whose blushes were saved(?) by a point against Costa Rica in the last WC ?

    Th man who built the Ems ? Or those still trying to pay the bills of their folly that is Wembley Stadium ?

    I say , nay I beg AW ,please don’t hold back and give it to them good! We are with your , and fuck the consequences !

    Up the Gunners !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry .. would like him to call out …
    ..or the clowns ..

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would love to thank Arsene Wenger for allowing me to walk with him in this great journey . I hope that he will still walk a few more steps with us. That he has made a subtle difference in my life is a given. His conduct has inspired me in many ways .
    THANK YOU !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uzynHWxn5Q&list=PLJQrUSvEtfTh4CXRwythsLE0YCiGcgCsu&index=2

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While to his detractors , I ask the following very simple YES/NO questions –

    1. Is the EPL fixed ?

    2. Do you believe that only form and money determines a team’s success ?

    3. Do you believe that betting companies, media ,sponsors and/or others are not in any way influencing the games and the results ?

    4.Do the PGMOL GET 98% of their decisions right ?

    5. Are the PGMOL a betterment for the English game ?

    6. Are the FA and Premier League doing a good job ?

    7. Are YOU confident in your belief that everything is hunky dory in the EPL ?

    8. Is AW’s presence a deterrent to the advancement EPL?

    9. Will his retirement impact the EPL negatively ?

    10. Should he just shut up ?

    11. Should his comments and criticisms be looked into and followed up?

    12. Will his retirement improve Arsenal’s fortunes ?

    13. Do you have an uneasy feeling that there is something not quite right in the EPL ?

    While there are no prizes offered or tabulated results to be announced ,it is hoped that these questions will get you thinking , and asking more question of your own .

  • para

    No one likes to throw money away senselessly (even having lots of it) especially to those who one is critisising in the first place.

    To be fined for just having a calm opinion about refs is throwing money away.
    If no one else will stand up or even organise together between all the managers and clubs in the PL to end this situation, then they just will have to live with it withouth complaining(exactly what they want the clubs and managers to do)

    Boycott the pre and post match interviews by answering questions with a yes, no or no comment answers, say absolutely nothing else.
    I know it is a requirement to do these interviews, but no one can dictate to you how much you say in them.

    A few replies:
    “I have no thoughts on the matter”,
    “I dont think about that”,
    “Really?”,
    all along these lines would really mess up the interviews for them.

  • id say that the chelsea game was decided by the quality of the finishing. either side could, and should, have had 4 or 5 goals. i think simply blaming the referee/linesmen is only partially valid and distracts from Arsenal’s persistent failure in turning pressure/chances into goals. in this game the same applies to chelsea. 4-4 or 5-5 would have been a more accurate scoreline. i understand your focus on the performance of officials entirely, but in this case it is a little myopic.

    best

    peter

  • ron

    as well as criticizing referees it might be equally helpfully to condemn players for diving , trying to give the impression they have not committed a foul when they have clearly wacked an opponent, claiming our ball when they have clearly kicked it out and now going down when their head has been touched however slightly –

  • potter

    I don’t think that he can go allguns blazing at the F.A and PGMOL whilst being manager at The Arsenal. If he stays in situ his remarks will be dismissed as Arsenal whinging. To fully go for them he needs to leave first. Uncomfortable yes ! but neccessary.
    Neither organisation appreciates criticism and to do this whilst connected to the club would drag The Arsenal to the forefront and embroil it in the middle of the argument and risk damage to the club in the process
    What is more to mount a campaign and compile the dossier of the nature that would be needed is not a few jottings on the back of a fag packet. It needs time to make it irrefutable and that’s time that can only begiven from outside the club.

  • Although I would not be so rude as to call you myopic Peter Wilkin, I do think that by focusing just on one match, and not taking into account the way Arsenal has been treated by referees across a vast number of games (all the evidence is on this site if you want to read it) does suggest a certain amount of restricted vision.

  • Pat

    I can’t really understand fans who, not for the first time, appear to be wishing Arsene Wenger out of a job. How will it benefit us as fans and Arsenal Football Club to lose the best manager we have ever had?

    As he said after a recent match, Arsenal will always aim to play football however trying the circumstances. By that I mean the biased behaviour of referees, the unfairness of the fixture list, the cowardly behaviour of teams sent out by their managers to do little more than defend and try to hit us on the break – and so on.

    Not to mention that he has sacrificed many years of his life to keep Arsenal going as a top team while being starved of money while the new stadium was being paid off. A new stadium built not primarily to benefit fans but to make more money for owners and shareholders.

    It seems a touch ungrateful to say the least. The imagined benefits are theoretical – that he will be able to tell us all what is really going on, and that we will no longer have to suffer the bias of referees.

    And what if his successor is not the miracle worker Arsene Wenger has been? He still does not receive the money his rivals are able to spend. He still fosters young talent, and greatly improves the players he signs.

    There is no guarantee that Arsenal after Arsene Wenger will be the great team playing the wonderful football we have enjoyed for so many years. Be careful what you wish for.

  • potter

    Pat , stop and think for a second. If he stays with the club and creates merry hell with the powers that be do you really believe that can be achieved without bringing all sorts of problems to the club.?
    What he has done during his tenure is not up for debate , I am just being logical .If you want him to take them on and I believe that he is one person with the gravitas to do it , he needs to step away from the club to protect it.

  • Pat

    But Arsene Wenger does not want to ‘take them on’ potter.

    He wants to manage a football club that plays great football. He is dedicated to that and has sacrificed much in his personal life to do it.

    He is forced from time to time to point out the unfair treatment his team gets by its blatant nature. It is his misfortune that he is so isolated in doing it. That very fact is a pointer to the depth of corruption in PL football.

  • potter

    Sorry but the tenure of the post that we are discussing seemed to suggest that either he did or he should .
    I quote the last paragraph “” So come on Arsene – let ‘em have with both barrels. Tell the FA what we are all saying and thinking: i.e. that the state of refereeing in the Premier League is not fit for purpose and until root and branch reform is pursued it they, the FA and PGMOL, that will continue to bring our national game into disrepute, “”

  • Pat

    Yes, that is what I am discussing. Since that would require him leaving the job, I’m not in favour.

  • potter

    Fine with that , you are entitled.

    However I still believe that if he stays within , nothing will be achieved because of the lines that the club will not wish to cross.
    Any reporting on the subject will be aimed at the club and just watch the F.A fine the club as well by association.

  • blacksheep

    Pat/Potter
    I feel that it has to be said while he is IN POST. Otherwise he risks being ignored or accused of keeping quiet to avoid criticism. We all know he has spoken out before and continues to but it will still be spun as dodging the issue.
    As for the comments (by someone else) about Mourinho I think that there is as much similarity between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger as there is between Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Both hold (or held) similar positions but there is a massive gulf in their personal credibility, honour and decency. JM uses the media to distract attention from his team’s weaknesses and to manipulate referees; AW – I believe – while always serving the interests of Arsenal is in love with FOOTBALL and wants to see a level playing field.

  • gooner forever

    Had expected Mike Dean to be demoted after all the criticism over the non penalty at WBA
    Was surprised to see him doing the Spuds game last night
    Obviously the PGMOL letting us know who’s in charge

  • potter

    You can’t compare Wenger with Mourinho the Portuguese interpreter as my Catalan friends call him doesn’t compare in any ethical way.

  • dear tony, just a quick reply to your reply. if you re-read my message i do say that i understand your concern over refereeing standards, which you have reported on very thoroughly. i was simply responding to the claim in this particular article that:

    ‘But both games were ultimately determined not by the quality of Arsenal’s finishing or defending; they were decided by the decisions made by the match officials and Arsene Wenger is perfectly entitled to point this out’.

    i think this is a narrow reading of the game. if either side had converted the many chances that they created then the referees role would have been less significant in the overall result. of course you are right to point out poor refereeing and how it affects the club. my point was not a general one but specific to this game, which i should have made clearer.

  • blacksheep

    Peter

    yes, if ‘either side had converted the many chances that they created then the referees role would have been less significant in the overall result’ of course. However, they didn’t and so Taylor’s decisions matter. If a through ball blocked was successful, or a corner reached the striker’s head, if a shot wasn’t blocked, or was and was deflected…. and so on.

    A referee can make mistakes, and they can go for or against the team you support. That is the reality of theme. But when inconsistency becomes the norm and consistently undermines the efforts of ‘a’ team to win or draw then I think that takes it above simple ‘chance’. It surely requires us, the media and the football authorities to investigate it. I see the BBC have at least asked the question today on their football website.

  • blacksheep

    Peter

    yes, if ‘either side had converted the many chances that they created then the referees role would have been less significant in the overall result’ of course. However, they didn’t and so Taylor’s decisions matter. If a through ball blocked was successful, or a corner reached the striker’s head, if a shot wasn’t blocked, or was and was deflected…. and so on.

    A referee can make mistakes, and they can go for or against the team you support. That is the reality of life. But when inconsistency becomes the norm and consistently undermines the efforts of ‘a’ team to win or draw then I think that takes it above simple ‘chance’. It surely requires us, the media and the football authorities to investigate it. I see the BBC have at least asked the question today on their football website.

  • Steve Vallins

    It doesn’t matter how good or bad a coach/ manager is or how good a team is you can’t take out of the equation the inconsistencies of the referees decisions

  • omgarsenal

    IF I understand British society and culture as well as I think I do, any comments, efforts to cast light on injustices, publicity against the establishment or criticizing the upper classes will be ignored and forgotten before the ink is dry by the general public and football supporters.
    As well, the ¨perpetrators¨ having the nerve to criticize such hallowed 98% perfect institutions as the FA, the EPL, the PIGMOB, the football establishment, FUFA, EUFA et al. will be severely and harshly punished.
    Wenger, the Board, the entire EPL teams and his aunt could scream from the rooftops about corruption,incompetence, injustice, favouritism, dubious officiating, whatever and here would be the headlines and the consequences for him and the Arsenal almost immediately after;
    1) Newspapers – Wenger loses his head, The Frenchman is just a whiner, Wenger blames the referees for his team’s weaknesses, etc.
    2) The FA : Wenger charged with ten counts of criminal behaviour and telling the truth – sentenced to 50 years labour in a penal colony in Kujuak,Northern Canada.(very,very cold and isolated up there)
    3) FIFA/EUFA – Arsenal banned from all European competitions for the next 100 years or until Spurs win something, whichever comes first.
    4) EPL – Wenger charged with inciting anti-establishment dissent – sentenced to 10 years in HM prison once his sentence in Canada is purged. Arsenal banned from all cup competitions and 40 points to be taken off each season until spurs win the League, as well as being demoted to the Eastern Sunday league in East Hants.
    5) The Pigmob – they will officially convince FIFA to issue a revision to the Laws of the Game where any offence against a Gunner is to be ignored EXCEPT if committed by an Arsenal player. Riley will be knighted by the Queen and receive a sainthood from the Pope.

  • porter

    3 matches and a fine .

  • The_Ledge

    Here is MY issue:

    It doesn’t MATTER if our players get away with something – it’s up to the opposition Manager to say something about that! Wenger is only required to talk about what happens to Arsenal players. So called journalists, by suggesting that our players get away with things as well, are, admitting that the referee has got even more things wrong than the ones AW has complained about.

    So, by attacking us, they are also attacking the officials.

    Although they wouldn’t say that because they are a shower of weak nobodies!

  • Percy

    “Arsène Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and a £40,000 fine following a Football Association misconduct charge over comments he made about the refereeing of Arsenal’s game against West Brom”
    “It follows an independent regulatory commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee.”

    Sounds like they might actually agree with him. If he admitted that, and with his previous, I would have expected something more drastic. Looks like he’s got the minimum they can save face with in the circumstances.

  • potter

    Maybe it’s come clean on this one and we will go easy on the next one. Shame in many ways , the PGMOL and FA need outing but perhaps as he is with us for the moment he is biding his time until it’s right.

  • Steve Vallins

    It should be interesting what now happens if anything regarding Arsene’s comments post the Chelsea game

  • Pat

    Well, Blacksheep, looks like Arsene did what you ask of him and look where it got him. It’s not as easy as that is it?

  • Pat

    I’ve just read the transcript of Arsene Wenger’s recent press conference and he says he did not request a personal hearing. How then has he admitted his language was abusive, improper etc? All he says is that he sticks by the things he said after the match.

  • potter

    http://dailycannon.com/2018/01/eden-hazard-admits-to-diving-against-arsenal/

    This makes next Tuesday’s hearing interesting considering Wenger’s comments about how the foreign press discusses what we don’t in this country.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great read. Have a feeling Wenger is going to do just as you say.
    The PGMOL hate publicity, Wenger knows that, he is going to keep at this