- The clearest exposition yet that there is something very wrong with PGMOL
- There is something very strange going on with yellow cards this season
By Tony Attwood
Citing a video blogger we repeated the question that he asked, namely, “In an era when two of the Premier League’s most pre-eminent clubs are owned by the vice president of the UAE and the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, why on earth would the PGMOL allow its leading match officials to take lucrative assignments and contracts in the UAE and Saudi Pro League?” (Click on the link above to see the whole video which led to this question. If you have 10 minutes to spare it is worth doing – although I’d also like you to read this article too).
So between us we came up with two answers:
a) There is real bias in the PGMO which allowed and encouraged this situation to happen.
b) There is gross incompetence in the PGMO which allowed this situation to happen, as nobody thought that it might ever be an issue because, well, nobody ever thought.
From this two questions arise.
First, if a) is true and there is real bias in PGMO toward certain clubs and against others, why is this and how come the clubs have allowed this to happen?
Second, if b) is true and there is such gross incompetence with PGMO , how could this possibly be allowed to happen and continue by the clubs?
Of course we are not inside PGMO, and we are not club directors, so we can’t give a definitive answer, but we can look at what else there is in PGMO that makes us uneasy and has led to us being so critical of what it is doing. And in reviewing what we have been writing about for a while, we can maybe decide which of the two options is likely to be right.
There are in fact five major issues that we have been looking at over a long period of time – to which we can now add the question of why the PGMO would allow its leading match officials to take lucrative assignments and contracts in the UAE and Saudi Pro League when two of the clubs in the Premier League are financed totally by the UAE and the Saudis.
So let’s go through our five key areas of concern:
1: Limit on the number of referees and arrangement of who oversees which club.
The limit on the number of referees and the lack of any limit on how many times a referee can oversee a particular club’s games means that if there were to be any wrong with refereeing in the Premier League, there are no immediate checks and balances to stop that problem having a huge impact.
The notion that we have been putting forward for years that each referee should only oversee each team once at home and once away would be easy to implement.
To ensure that each referee can oversee a match of each PL club only once at home and once away, one would need 38 referees instead of 23. Given the wealth of the PL that expansion of 65% would not be impossible to pay for in terms of salaries or training.
2. Referee variation
This has been our area of outrage for some time. Here are a couple of examples, just drawn from referees who oversaw 20 or more PL games last season. One referee (Attwell) saw 72% home wins, another (Taylor) 33% home wins. One referee saw 43% away wins (Taylor), another 12% away wins (Attwell).
Could this be happening by chance? Quite simply the chances of such variation cropping up is vanishingly small.
3. Number of yellow cards / number of fouls
The range in the number of fouls per game between the referees who oversaw 20+ PL games last season was 23.9 for Craig Pawson to 20.12 for Stuart Attwell. A difference of 19%.
The range in the number of yellow cards per game between the referees who oversaw 20+ PL games last season was 4.33 for Peter Bankes and 2.90 for Michael Oliver . A difference of 49%. In short Bankes gave out fractionally half as many yellow cards again as Oliver. And yet Bankes only saw 8% more fouls than Oliver.
I’ll write that again. Bankes gave only 8% more fouls than Oliver but 49% more yellow cards. That suggests the two men have utterly different views on what consists a yellow card offence. How can that be in the most popular league in the world?
4. Refusal of PGMO to engage publically with football supporters
PGMO is a secret society. It has no website, its referees do no interviews, the way referees are selected for games is kept secret. While in some countries referees appear on TV after matches, referees are driven away from games in specific cars, and fined if they leave in the wrong car.
Why, if there is nothing to hide?
5. Refusal of the media to consider that there is something wrong with PGMO
For whatever reason, the great British media refuse to engage in the notion that there is something wrong with refereeing or with PGMO. Why is that?
One possible reason is that our media is run by people who like an easy life and don’t want to investigate anything. Just like they won’t investigate the sudden loss of medical records of young players who get injured. Another is that PGMO has said if they do publish they’ll lose their journalist accreditation, and hence their free seats in the press box. A third is that the PGMO won’t answer any inquiries.
None of this is acceptable, and the media has to be as guilty as PGMO or covering all this up.
The only thing you can be sure of is that Untold is not going to leave this alone. We’ve been writing about this for around 15 years and we ain’t stopping now.
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