- Arsenal v Fulham. Send lawyers, guns and money
- ‘Technical’ offences give referees far too much latitude to influence matches
For this preview, I have included not just Arsenal and the team we are playing but two others, by way of comparison: Manchester City and West Ham United – with the WHU totals shown for last season as well as this. As we can see West Ham are going tackles crazy.
|West Ham 2023/24
But the referees have given up making them a special case as they were last year – at least as far as yellow cards are concerned.
|Tackles per foul
|Tackles per yellow
|Fouls per yellow
Now we can see that there is a vast range of treatments handed out between clubs as we have seen before. Manchester City can put in 28 tackles before getting a yellow, while Fulham can put in five. OK we might say, Fulham are over four times worse at tackling than Manchester City.
But when we compare West Ham last season with this, we find that they are now being allowed almost twice as many tackles before they get a yellow and over twice as many fouls before they get a yellow, as against last season.
What on earth is going on?
Well, we began to get an understanding when Mike Dean admitted that he was unable to separate personal feelings, bias, preferences and above all else the OLD BOYS’ NETWORK from reality. And that is pretty much what we have been suggesting to explain the way the home crowd influences some referees and not others.
And this really isn’t corruption, but gross incompetence and the old pals’ act. The corruption might still be there at the PGMO level where they fail to take action when they consider games after – but with the example we have of Dean as revealed in the media, we know incompetence is certainly taking place.
But when we add in the data above showing the way a club’s figures can change from one season to the next, well… maybe we can argue corruption or incompetence but it is one or the other.
Certainly, we now know that some referees cannot separate their personal feelings, preferences, bias, personal allegiance, old boy’s network etc etc from their daily work…
Of course if Fifa were serious about anything other than bolstering their own bank accounts they would get rid of the PGMO en masse.
But within PGMO it seems that the referees are so scared (according to Dean) of making an error and losing their job that instead of deciding, they hesitate. That really isn’t very good.
Referees are of course human, and subject to human emotions and feelings, but they should be people who, as we hope judges do in court, make the right decision according to the law. For a long time we have realised this is not right, because some referees oversee so many home wins, while others oversee so many away wins. But now we are starting to see why: incompetence, fear, and second-guessing.
Put that revelation together with the fact that (for example) Fulham get a yellow card for every fifth tackle while Manchester City get one for every 28th tackle, and one begins to see how deep the problem is.
At least Mike Dean has admitted, as the Guardian has reported, he failed to correct a mistake in a Chelsea v Tottenham matchto prevent his friend Anthony Taylor from receiving extra “grief”. But that is only the start, because the real questions are
a) What does the PGMO do now?
b) What does the Premier League do about PGMO now?
The PGMO can say nothing at all, which would be their normal response. Or they can say, we are looking at it. The League can say nothing which would be their normal response. Or they can say, we are waiting for a reply from PGMO.
Any such response is appalling. We have shown over and over that there is something very seriously wrong with referee decision-making and have used statistics to prove it. Now a referee has admitted how wrong it can go.
So what now Premier League? What now PGMO? And rather interestingly, what now, reporters in the national media. Ignore it? Say it was a one-off? Treat it as last year’s news with no relevance to this weekend’s match? Mention it today but then carry on as before (which is my bet as to what will happen).
But, do you know, I think maybe we were right in the last article. Send lawyers, guns and money. After all, how much money has Arsenal lost as a result of hostile referee action in recent years?
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