The Premier League – the world’s most incompetent sports league




By Christophe Jost

The Premier League’s refereeing could be in a dreadful mess for either of two reasons.  It could be incompetence or it could be corruption.

And of the two, corruption seems the more unlikely, simply because if it were a case of corruption, then across the last 20 years or so, someone somewhere would have spilled the beans.  There would have been an email, a recording, an envelope which slipped into the wrong hands, a picture…

But not nothing has been revealed through the 31 consecutive years of the Premier League.  There has been a lot of mumbling, but no serious accusations that could be defended in court.   And this in a world in which nothing is secret anymore.

And remember, if there were to be corruption going on, it is not going to have been on the part of just one referee.  At least, it could have been one referee, but if it were, that referee’s results would have been noted and he would have been moved on.

Besides the referees in the Premier League have been at this for years.   And if you are a referee, it is part and parcel of the rules of engagement that for the time of your job (refereeing a game), you are to apply the rules of the game and forget any personal feelings you might have about either club involved in the game or any of the club’s players.

Indeed, like any judge in a courtroom who must judge a defendant without considering race, age, sex, or looks, the referee has to start from a position of neutrality.   I ain’t saying it is easy. I am saying many people get it wrong – and in fact many referees get it wrong in other leagues besides the Premier League.

But there is a difference between the Premier League and some other leagues.  Because rather interestingly, in Germany, the competence of referees is being talked about openly on TV.  And no one is talking about corruption.

Indeed many of the referees are unable to dismiss their own bias and thus their preference for or dislike of a team.  And that shows through occasionally, depending of course on the teams on the field.  In other words, some games they referee are ok, but others are more questionable.

As for the organisation overseeing refereeing, that clearly is incompetent, because, despite all the time it has had, it has not been able to sort this issue out.   Indeed it is quite obviously not training the referees in its employ.  It is not selecting them because of their basic competence and then training them up so that they can work in the Premier League.

As a result, there can be bias, but then when a referee shows his bias and influences the result, it is all swept under the carpet of the old catchphrase, “It all evens out at the end” which Tony and Untold have shown repeatedly is a lie, total gaslighting (see footnotes below) – there are enough stats published by Untold to prove the point.

Considering the money that the Premier League as an industry is generating, I think we can also safely say that the club owners are incompetent as well. That they will let their ‘bets’ (investing in a sports club is like betting in a casino) of hundreds of millions of dollars be influenced, and even decided by an organisation like PGMO and then accept that they are getting screwed weekend after weekend by an organisation of a few dozen people, reveals nothing other than incompetence.

As for the media establishment, it just evades my understanding how TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and websites, all of which are capable of uncovering scandal after scandal, allow their football coverage to be run by a set of incompetent parrots (sorry you nice little birds, that comparison is unfair on parrots).

Now I am not saying that all papers are doing a good job, but some are serious and do uncover important stories that we need to know.  Except, except, surprise, surprise, when it comes to the PL and other football-oriented subjects.

If we look past the PL, and move on to the structures of football, such as Uefa, Fifa, the FA and their equivalents elsewhere, we do see quid pro quo, an old boys network, or quite possibly outright corruption in terms of having a seat at the table.

And we can see how in many cases those at the very top get away with it, while if anyone gets caught it is the underlings.  And yet these organisations consider themselves as having an equal stake in the world of football. .

In fact, the PL is a group of private enterprises, run by individuals for the most part, with a couple of the clubs run by countries.

Which is my final point: the actors within the refereeing debacle in the PL are so incompetent they don’t even try to get rich within the game.  Instead, they bumble along, making mistakes, refusing to give interviews, and remaining utterly and totally secret.

The whole story would make rather a good novel, although if it were published, no one would believe it.  Of course, from an English point of view, it might happen somewhere else… but not in England.

To paraphrase Mr Wenger, PGMOL have made their target of being incompetent and have transformed it into a worldwide unique art. And they have been able to become the center of attention as their failings are discussed game after game instead of the beautiful game itself. Maybe this was what they wanted.  Being seen, talked about, the center of attention.

Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.

15 Replies to “The Premier League – the world’s most incompetent sports league”

  1. Some refs might be bias but not corrupt as they are monitored by VAR. But if you ask about VAR being corrupted, seeing as they don’t have a 30 year plus record to argue with, then I would say in my opinion as an Arsenal fan, yes, or they are just totally stupid. Either way their is no way the FA or governing bodies are going to investigate them the same way that football players are sometimes investigated for breaching gambling rules. No way this would ever happen because toilet paper copy cat media circles love the controversy of VAR getting it wrong, and would never ask for them to be investigated for possible corruption. The most you can hope for is an apology for them being “mistaken”. Not like the ban and fines that players get when they ” mistakenly” breach the rules.

  2. If you are biased and showing it, you are corrupt. If your organization knows you are biased and assign you to a match that may put you in a compromised position, THEY are corrupt. And if your organization assigns you to referee one club six times in a season, either you or they are guilty of something. If it quacks, it’s a duck.

  3. Regarding Howard Webb’s take on the Arsenal Newcastle VAR decision being ” Not Sure” therefore it’s a correct decision, can anyone tell me why the VAR did not ask for the referee to look at the video replay of the incident if they were “Not Sure”. If that is not corrupt, then I don’t know what is. If their is a strange rule why they did not ask the ref to look at a close up all angle video replay of the “Not Sure” incident, then the media that did not ask this question to Howard Webb are also stupid and not good at their job. If the referee was asked to look at the push in the back foul, I am 100% sure he would have disallowed the goal, because if it was anywhere else on the pitch that this push in the back had happen and the ref saw this on a video replay, he would have given this as a foul, unless he is stupid or corrupt.

  4. @ Daveg I wouldn’t discount the possibility of both stupid and corrupt. They have been known to be bedfellows.

  5. mike in Atlanta, I agree. It’s a pity the Toilet Paper Copy Cat reporters don’t agree and don’t ask the right questions.

  6. @mike,

    the definition of corruption is as follows :

    Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one’s personal gain.

    So bias does not fit the bill as there is no quid pro quo involved.
    You may not call someone corrupt without proof of such. It is facts based.
    There have been no facts pertaining to corruption.
    So that leaves bias, and bias if you are a referee means you cannot act in a neutral way, thus it is incompetence.

    Furthermore, I’d say that corruption needs some sort of intelligence. Bias is stupid.

    Look at this picture

    Webb’s conclusion is as follows :

    “Joelinton then challenges Gabriel. It could be a foul, the VAR decides that the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene for a clear error. The talk that we’ve seen after and the opinion that it’s split, suggest that it’s the correct non-intervention because of the subjectivity.”

    So the guy talking for all PGMOL employees states as a fact that :

    – one hand on the neck
    – one hand below the neck
    – the player doing this is in a move of jumping on the back of Gabriel using him as a jumping board or pushing him out of the way – which by way is not allowed
    – the result is that Gabriel is brought to a fall and th goal happens with him out of the way.

    Now bomb that Webb dropped is the last 4 words : because of the subjectivity.

    With this he has just cleared all bias based decisions, all incompetent rulings to come in the future. Football is not anymore a game that is rules based with a neutral person making sure they are applied, but one where the referee decides as he ‘feels’.

    Coming after Dean’s explanation that he did, while on VAR duty, not dare rule against a buddy referee as he his buddy had had a bad week, you don’t need more proof of incompetence : not capable of applying the rules of the game like all referees in the world except in the PL are doing their best to.

  7. If it was a push by an Arsenal player on a Newcastle player the goal would of been disallowed.

    Assuming the referee saw it, he would of disallowed it.

    If he didn’t see it and as such, didn’t disallow the goal, the VAR would of got the referee to review the incident, if they didn’t just disallow it themselves.

    The reason none of this happened was because, for want of a better word, the ‘popular’ decision was to allow the goal to stand.

    Every one of those officials know, as we do, that screwing Arsenal is never ever going to get a referee or VAR operator in to any trouble with the media, and as I have said on here 100’s of times, it is the media who are an officials judge jury and executioner.

    How THEY decide the referee has applied the rules is what matters. Not how the PGMOL sees it, or whether it in accordance with the rules, or whether they gave a foul for that kind of push last week. All that matters is how the media will react to what they decide about THIS push.

    So, no I don’t believe it’s ‘corruption’. I don’t believe there are any brown envelopes. I don’t even think they see it as cheating, or even bias.

    All I think they believe they are doing is what they are ‘expected’ to do.

    They uniformly follow the line of least resistance. It is simply self preservation.

    Crudely speaking, constantly screw Arsenal and you will never be in trouble. Constantly favour Arsenal and you will be slaughtered.

  8. If I recall correctly a certain former FA chief Executive, Mark Palios, promised to clean up the English game and take out the crippling corruption spoiling the footballing experience for the sober and not so blind or stupid punters, the minority accepted. He even stopped drug cheating / absent minded, Rio Ferdinand playing for England briefly.
    He didn’t last long did he, and made no difference to the relentless corruption that has been so rampant it even managed to get Leicester a title , a fantastic earner for the gambling industry.

  9. “With this he has just cleared all bias based decisions, all incompetent rulings to come in the future. Football is not anymore a game that is rules based with a neutral person making sure they are applied, but one where the referee decides as he ‘feels’.”

    Which is exactly what I keep saying.

    The media (and make no mistake Webb and the media are in cahoots) want this subjectivity and ambiguity with regards to the application of the Laws of the Game, because it is that, that enables referees and the VAR’s to make decisions in a way that will please them. How their decisions relate to the Laws Of The Game is often as not of no interest. And as for consistency, that is the last thing they want.

  10. I enjoyed seeing Michael Owen throwing his toys out of the pram after he was criticised following the Howard Webb love-in on Sky last night. The “show” managed to highlight all that is wrong with the current system of refereeing in the PL.

    It can’t be incompetence when the same team is being repeatedly targetted by incorrect decisions. One of the Man. Utd supporting YouTubers has now drawn attention to differences between Joelinton’s foul on Gabriel and the own-goal disallowed against Burnley for the push by Saka, and the disallowed goal by Ben White last season against Leicester. It’s good to see that partisan loyalties can be temporarily forgotten, and that supporters of other teams are awake to what is going on.

    PGMoL – Professional Game Manipulators of Lancashire

    Evidence/research is emerging that Chelsea may have been involved in some dodgy financial dealings in the Abramovich era. Here is a link to an

  11. The incompetence of PGMOL is so bad that ESPN now has a ‘talking points’ page for each week-end’s games reviewing VAR decisions for chrisssake….I mean, they not talking about football, shouldn’t they ?

    Here is the review since the start of the season

    Here is just for last week

    Now one thing is clear, they have not yet started to mention moments were VAR should have checked.

    The review since the start of the year shows who profits and who not…. funilly, it is not any of the big 7….

  12. Comment from Nekuhan [posted by TA following technical problems]

    Ref. daveg on “breaching gambling rules”. Ivan Toney (Wigan, Peterborough, Brentford) got 8-month ban from football. Who is going to investigate PGMOb for their possible corruption and criminal betting when they can easily fix the end score / results?
    What about Leicester City F.C. 5000/1 winning the 2015–16 Premier League? There are numerous suspicions that ‘selected few’ referees made a money pool and bet on Leicester CFC being champion. Tony wrote several times about Leicester’s extreme numbers of penalties that season. Somebody should look closer / investigate in depth the possibilities of PGMOb really fixing the outcome of the games and betting on the results as they became the most important ‘player’, (ref. Chris “…not anymore a game that is rules-based with a neutral person making sure they are applied, but one where the referee decides as he ‘feels’.”)
    VAR is only the technical instrument for legalised corruption by PGMOb. On this site (Thanks Tony et al. !) it was demonstrated that last year Arsenal FC was robbed for 12 points (!?) … and one may win Premier League by ONE single goal difference.
    Keep the good work of Untold Arsenal up and running! Best regards to all of you. Nekuhan

  13. Mikel has been charged by the FA for making comments which were insulting match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or bringing the game into disrepute.

    He was just telling the truth.

    Can you be fined or banned for being embarrassed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *