This is where secrecy and denial invariably lead, and PGMO is taking us ever further inwards.



By Tony Attwood

As has been widely reported, the president of  Ankaragücü of the Turkish Super League has announced his resignation after punching the match referee in the face.

Cue much gnashing of teeth in the English media that have picked up on the story, with demands of various punishments for the president and in the English media, a spot of suggesting by implication that it wouldn’t happen in England because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, we’re English.   The referee has also claimed that the president had threatened to kill him before.

And certainly if that last accusation is true, the authorities are guilty of gross negligence in allowing the referee to take that game and the club president to be there.

The whole story since then has been something of a debate over the exact sequence of events  – did two other people on the pitch kick the referee when he was down, what Koca said to the referee about “finishing him off” and of course pictures of the black eye the referee received.

Further reports suggest that three individuals attacked the referee and have been arrested.  There are denials from the accused that the individuals hit the referee in the face.   These however get minor mentions in the media as the notion of being innocent until proven guilty does not pertain to newspaper reports over events outside the UK.

The Minister of Justice has said that three men have been arrested for the crime of  “injuring, on a sports field in a way that resulted in a fracture, [of] a public official who was performing their public duty.”  Koca has admitted he slapped the referee in the face, nothing more, while adding that “The slap I gave does not cause a fracture” according to Anadolu.

The Turkish Football Federation has indefinitely postponed matches in all of the country’s leagues following the attack and announced that criminal proceedings have been initiated.

Other responses could have been written before the event, but as it was Infantino was yet again able to place himself center-stage saying, “There is no place for violence in football, on or off the field.”   I think we already knew that.

So as expected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the attack in a statement posted on X/Twitter.   

But what is not mentioned is that many referees who work in schoolboy and amateur football will tell you that this is not a situation that is special to adult football or football in other countries.  We have it here as well and at all levels is the authorities’ total refusal to engage fully in debate and explanation.  All they do is condemn, and that is a major problem for football in England, which has now spread throughout European football from school level to internationals that is causing the problem.

As a result, anger rises because it becomes impossible to get any believable assurances that the referee is not biased or incompetent or both.

Once belief in the system of refereeing comes to be questioned, there are no ways left of convincing everyone from players to club owners, from fans to casual observers that there is nothing wrong with the whole system of football governance and refereeing.

From that point it is an incredibly long way back, and indeed once fans have started to lose faith in the system of refereeing, appeals and the like it can be nigh on impossible to restore faith in the refereeing.

A very substantial number of people who watch football now have no faith in any aspect of the authorities that run the game – as indeed we have seen with Everton fans turning en masse against the Premier League after its 10-point deduction and the calling of the system “corrupt”.

Of course fans have always been biased in favour of their own club and feel that the referees are out to get them.  But now that feeling runs at a much higher temperature, and the chances are we are not too far away from a copy of the Turkish incident in a PL club shortly.

Of course, PGMO could do something about this straightaway by liberalising and opening up discussion on the refereeing in matches, with interviews of referees, plus clear details of how referees are selected for the Premier League, and above all, why the number of referees is kept so low that we have the insanity of some only overseeing a handful of games a season while others work every week and take in some Arbaian matches on the side for good measure.

Disrespect for referees is growing and the fanatical secrecy of PGMO (probably the only company in the UK without a website!) is a major contributory factor.


9 Replies to “This is where secrecy and denial invariably lead, and PGMO is taking us ever further inwards.”

  1. Good article. I don’t understand why refs are allowed away days for big payoffs in the Middle East in between games.

    More transparency from refs is essential. Hiding behind closed doors does no one any favours.

    Generally I don’t accept that top level refs are consciously biased though.

  2. Peter Walton, former referee has said that Arteta should receive a more severe penalty (for speaking the truth?) because of the assault on the Turkish referee!

    I can only think that this absolutely bizarre and totally illogical opinion is an example of distorted reasoning resuting from a deep hatred of Arsenal, which seems to be common among referees still.

  3. @ John L

    Exactly. Walton calling for a more severe penalty for Arteta because of what happened in another country is beyond absurd. Particularly when all Arteta did was criticise what many, many people thought was an appalling decision.

    Meanwhile, Haaland acts highly aggressively towards a referee in the middle of the pitch in full view of the watching world, supported by team mates and he doesn’t get charged with anything at all. As you suggest, it appears to be a different set of rules for Arsenal.

  4. Excuse me!
    “ All they do is condemn, and that is a major problem for football in England, which has now spread throughout European football from school level to internationals that is causing the problem.”
    Are you really blaming English football for the whole of European league problems!

  5. Mikel Arteta has been found not guilty of his misconduct charge by the FA so Walton can stick his comments where the sun doesn’t shine.

  6. mick shelly

    Let’s hope this decision in some strange way can set a precedent whereby, without insults, managers will be free to criticise officials, and if they can maybe that will FORCE the PGMOL to adapt and face these criticisms in open debate rather than hiding their failures behind the media, although given the following article from John cross in The Mirror, that may be asking too much.

    Their headline:


    Note, Arteta hasn’t been found not guilty, oh no, he’s just somehow managed to AVOID a ban.

    Later they go on to reinforce the notion that he’s actually guilty by stating that “The let-off is certain to anger some referees”.

    So again he hasn’t been found not guilty he’s just been LET-OFF

    We also have the following from Cross:

    The Football Association have confirmed the written reasons behind the decision to not sanction Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for his angry outburst after defeat at Newcastle.

    So it starts out as and ANGRY OUTBURST

    Then we have:

    Mikel Arteta has escaped a touchline ban for his referee rant.

    But it’s soon up graded back to a RANT

    But then we have:

    Arteta was charged by the Football Association after his furious blast at the officials following Arsenal ’s defeat at Newcastle last month.

    So, it’s down graded to just a FURIOUS BLAST

    So lets be clear on this. Despite an independent commission clearing Arteta of any wrong doing:

    “….an independent commission cleared Arteta from any wrongdoing…….”.

    The Mirror are still insisting what Arteta said was a RANT. Or was it an ANGRY OUTBURST. Or should that be a FURIOS BLAST.

    Oh well, whatever it was The Mirror, or at least John Cross, seem certain he’s guilty of something, and as such are insisting he’s simply been let-off and escaped a touch line ban.

    Gee wiz, thanks John, I’m so glad you’re an Arsenal fan.

  7. PGMOL an organisation with a God complex. You will not judge me, criticise or blame me, for I am the all seeing, all knowing oracle.
    Idiots every last one of them.

  8. PGMOL is a Limited Company which in business terms means limited liability & accountable to no one. They claim that recruiting referees ( who it hires as self employed contractors) is really difficult, inferring that it’s a lack of respect that deters candidates whist paying them what is in terms of the Premier Leagues turn over & players wages, a pittance. If they want to attract high quality professionals in sufficient numbers that don’t feel the need to go moonlighting in the UEA the answer is simple. Pay them more.

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