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July 2021

Referee Decisions restarting anytime now

By Walter Broeckx

Those of you who follow us in our search for making football fair for all will have noticed that the new website that we have started seems to have stopped producing referee reviews.

Maybe left and right in the headquarters of some organisation like the PGMOL they have already opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate that these difficult people have stopped watching the refs and the PGMOL and the way they run the refs in the PL.  Well I hope the champagne tasted good but let me spoil the after-taste a bit by spelling this message out: We are only just starting!

Sometimes you start doing things and suddenly you realise that you need to improve what you are doing.

So we had to rethink the way we work. Until a few weeks ago we were working in separate files. Each reviewer on his own computer and then sending the files in when ready. And even though I made the files myself in co-operation with Dogface the way these files were made, made them vulnerable for errors. Looking in the wrong column could get wrong numbers out of the system.

Dogface has managed to change this completely. Since last week we have begun to work in a totally different way. We now have our own website where the reviewers can log in and where we can work on the reviews and where the data is kept.

But changing the way we have worked for the last season to a new system is something that takes time. Our older referee reviewers had to change their habits and their way of working. And of course by using it the first days we discovered situations that weren’t covered yet on the new website. So Dogface had to keep on changing things and making things better. And he still is doing this behind the scenes.

And we also had to work back a bit. Because all the reviews that have been published where made in the old format. And now we have to re-write them in the new website. Something that I am working on for the moment. And things are getting better each day. Only some 10 reviews to check and correct. But as you can imagine this all takes time.

It also meant that we couldn’t publish the reviews anymore because we (I use this lightly as it should read: Dogface) had to see how we would present the new reviews based on the new hard and software we use. This also is something that is taking up a lot of time. Certainly if you think that we all do this in our spare time.

So this is another reason for the delay in publishing new reviews.

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But behind the scenes we are working on other things also.

One of the things that people have been critical about is the fact that we only have referees who support Arsenal in our team. From now on we could say we only ‘had’ referees who support Arsenal.

I can tell you that this is something that will be over now. Thanks to the effort of Stuart (on of our regular readers) who has been crossing the whole internet in search of websites who wanted to publish an article about us we have managed to get in more referees. And most of all: those new referees are not supporters of Arsenal.

We are reaching out around the world and our web of referees is know really becoming a global web. A WWRW you could say. World Wide Referee Web. Maybe a good name to remember and maybe use one day? The only continents missing for now seems to be Asia and Oceania.  Come on guys what are you waiting for? Join us!

But having new referees also brings some problems. We have to talk to them, ask them all kinds of questions about their background, religion, sexual preferences, partners, children, work, money… Well I gather that by now you think that I am pulling your leg. And yes I am. We don’t ask all those things. But we do have to ask them questions on their preferences. We have to ask them which teams they like and dislike. We have to ask them which ref they like and which ref they don’t like. How many games they can review each week.

We have to look at how some people can get access to the reviews and this seems to be a problem for some people who want to join but who is coming from a country in a bad economical climate and having difficulties in having to pay for watching games on a sporting channel. I know you can download some games for free but when a download takes up to 5 to 8 hours for one half it isn’t that funny anymore and not really a workable solution.

So this might be a next step in thinking about gathering the games somewhere where all our ref reviewers might be able to see the games and review them. Now we do this like with the old reviews: each on our own computer, video, hard disk recorder,….

And those new referees also have to be tested. We give them a game they try to review it and try to use the new software. And this isn’t always easy at the start. Even if the program is really very use friendly in most ways it still needs some thinking on how to use it and how to use it in a correct way so we can get the data out of the system we need. Again this is something that takes time. But from next week on if all goes right and they still want to help us we should get the helping hand of new recruits. And I still am in touch with a few that have asked questions and asked if they could join us.

So we even could be with more reviewers in the next weeks.

And when we start publishing again you will see that we will have every decision covered from now on! Not just the ones you were used from us but also goal kicks, throw in and other stuff that can happen on a football field.

But because of all this the website referee decisions has stopped publishing reviews for the moment. But Dogface has told me that he is getting closer to a solution and that we should be publishing the reviews very soon. So let us keep our fingers crossed and hope that all goes well on all fronts and we will be able to present you the reviews again.

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18 comments to Referee Decisions restarting anytime now

  • CB

    All sounds good, I am a big fan of openness on who the reviewer supports and which refs they like. This is because you are applying the same standards (or better) to your reviewers as you would the actual referees.

  • Dutchie

    Hey Walter,

    I see you guys took the ref review to another, even more professional level. So I wonder, is there a second opinion on each ref review? Because that would make it even more credible don’t you think… especially for sceptical people who don’t believe in a corrupt competition.

    And what about Video evidence? Is it still part of your plans to eventually submit video evidence?

  • mark

    I am looking forward to the results!

  • mike_greece

    Just out of curiosity. Have you ever regarded the remote possibility that maybe the people at the PGMOL don’t give a damn for your referee reviews? Or that they don’t even know of the existence of this blog?

  • CB – will be interesting to see if Liverpool get ‘better decisions’ over the next few weeks.

  • Mike – the point you make is one that we have debated a number of times on Untold – and not only just about referees.

    I think the starting point of all of us was that just another blog complaining about refs was neither here nor there and no one would notice us. After all, with the broadcast media and mainstream newspapers ignoring any suggestion that there was something wrong with refereeing, the implication clearly is that they either didn’t know or didn’t care.

    But since the referee reviews started on this site, several things have happened. None of them at all have proven that others are taking notice, but they are indicative that maybe, and I put it no stronger than maybe, there is an awareness of us, and a change of opinion arising out of that awareness.

    The first big ref issue that happened was that after we really started to question referee decisions and their accuracy, the PGMOL web site was made members only. Before then the web site was open to all and included in its mission statement a notion that they were there to educate the public in what refereeing was about. Now the likes of you and me can’t access the site.

    Then there was the BBC coverage of us, their interviews with Walter and Dogface and their full commentary on us on their web site. That brought us lots of new traffic, of course. Also I recall Walter telling me that he went to a big referees’ meeting and was greeted by an important member of referee officialdom with a comment along the lines of “Ah it is Walter from the BBC – I must be careful what I say!”

    We do know that part of the press now reads Untold – in response to one article in the mainstream press the author – a full time journalist for the paper – contributed to our comments column, and I subsequently had a most fruitful exchange with the journalist. And indeed we have had other off the record comments from journalists saying that they know who we are and what we are up to.

    So these are incidental issues, but I think put them together and there is an indication that people do know what we are and what we do

  • Asif

    Can’t wait to read the review of the Liverpud and ManUre…must be quite a headache…i will simply it for you guys…just copy and ‘NC’ (not correct) in the decision column… 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    4 reviews to go and all the ones from this season are in the new system.

    I’m not putting any pressure on you Dogface 😉

    If you see him in the Emirates tomorrow buy him a drink. He can don with one, I think. He is working night and day to get it right. You wouldn’t treat any other dog like that.

  • WalterBroeckx

    What you say that “maybe the people at the PGMOL don’t give a damn for your referee reviews”

    Is something that I don’t know. It could actually be the case that Mike (what’s in a name 😉 ) Riley doesn’t lose one minute of sleep on us. That might be the case.

    But the refs themselves? You maybe would be amazed and surprised to know who clicked on the links of our year report.

  • WalterBroeckx

    CB, I will be looking to see if we somehow can show who the reviewers support.

  • WalterBroeckx


    Again I am dreaming of going further and the current step hasn’t finished.

    But if all goes well the next step will be that each review itself will be reviewed. But for the moment we are already very happy that we can review each game.

    But that really is the next thing I am dreaming of.

    And if you look at how small it all started with just a few lines on an Arsenal game in the early days, to doing 38 PL games, and then doing some 150 PL games the year after, now the goal is 380 games.. And who knows next season do the 380 twice…

    and having access to all the camera angles ourselves…that would be the icing on the cake…

    Impossible is nothing! I have a dream!

    Let us just get on with what we are doing and do our reviews as good as possibly can.

  • Gf60

    Hi Walter. Look forward to the new improved data. Thanks also to Dogface.

    I do hope that one of the improvements is eliminating the “double jeopardy” factor where a ref gets an N/C 3 pointer for an incorrect decision, immediately followed by another N/C 3 for something that would not have occurred had the first decision been correct.

  • El Gringo

    Walter, please do surprise and amaze us! I love surprises!

    If, of course, that surprise doesn’t violate confidentiality…

  • walter and tony, you will know someone is paying attention when a prem manager refers to the ref review site in a press conference, and the big one: when a ref gets demoted. if the geniuses who run the premier league want to protect their brand, they had better sit up and take notice of what happened this week in the NFL (national football league in america) when owners decided to hire amateurs as stand-in refs. the public outcry was deafening.

    let’s call a spade what it is. refs can, and should, be relegated.

  • by the way, some of your american friends have no idea what 02/09/2012 means on the ref review site. over here that would be 09/02/2012. it may be a better idea to use sept 9, 2012.

  • None

    Well ideally what we would see is the refs assessment published after the match and the a press conference with the managers/ref. I believe this is done in other countries?

    But what’s happened to Dogface’s previews?

  • Gunner4evr

    Liverpool were denied a penalty in their game against the red faced. The same ref gave Fulham a penalty against MC when the offence was outside the box. Could it be coinidental the decisions were made favouring the rf? These incidents if repeated over the course could indirectly help the rf to win games and the epl repeatedly.
    I have no doubt about this.That is why rf can’t repeat his success in the cl. I need not say more.

  • WalterBroeckx

    while working on the new reviews Dogface has been working day and night without rest. Tony and I stood there behind his back and on the first sign of weakness from his part, we kicked him under the a….
    So please have mercy on him

    And all this lead to the new site back publishing the reviews.

    Ok, the first one is a joke of course. The second isn’t: WE ARE BACK!!!!!


    And all the older games that were already published has been converted to the new format. Line by line by line by line by line…. Sounds dramatic?