By Walter Broeckx
If you think the FA only sends a ref, 2 assistants and a 4th official to the games you are wrong. In fact there is another person from the FA around: the match delegate.
Since 2003-2004 the match delegate has been around but he is a rather invisible person for the public. However he has an important role to play before, during and after the game.
This is what the FA is saying about those match delegates:
“The Match Delegate System was formed in Season 2003/04 to provide an objective assessment of Match Officials’ performances for the Clubs and the Premier League.”
Each ref gets a report after each game. In fact they get two reports: one from the PGMOL Match evaluator (reports that are top secret and hidden from the public) and a report from the Premier League Match delegates.
They each have a 50% influence on the final score each ref gets from each game. And the final score is important because it determines the future match appointments, the place in the merit table and the match and bonus payments.
Yes: apparently refs get bonus payments. I really would like to know how this works! If I were in a joking mood I might say, “a bonus for each penalty in favour of a certain team.” But I’m trying to keep it serious so will not say it.
The match delegate has complete access to the ground and can go where he wants before, during and after the game. There are a few restrictions for privacy grounds but for the rest he is an untouchable person.
The match delegate’s report has a number of criteria of course. A bit like the referee reviews at times with some focus on the key incidents and decisions and how he got along with those. And he does the same for the assistant referees.
But in the light of the Ferguson rant against the assistant and the ref I will highlight that he also has to write a report about the fair play.
And such a report contains several aspects. It looks at red and yellow cards of course. but also looks at positive play. An attacking team should get better points than a defending team.
Another criteria is the respect towards opponents. Not just in regards to the laws of the game but also the behaviour towards opponents is considered in this.
And of course the respect shown towards the referee is a criteria. As the FA says: Players are expected to respect all match officials: referee, assistants and fourth official. They also look at the behaviour of the public of course so you might say, “think before you shout,” because they don’t just look at the public behaviour towards the ref but also towards the opposing fans.
And last but not least the final criteria is the “Behaviour of team officials”.
So here we are entering Ferguson territory. The maximum score for this criteria is 6 points if all and everyone has behaved in a very respectful and correct way. The minimum score for this criteria is 1 point.
Now if these reports were made public we would know not only what the ref thought about the behaviour of Ferguson against the referee, assistant and 4th official but also what the FA match delegate thought of this type of behaviour.
I think any score higher than 1 would be a complete mockery of the whole “respect the referee” campaign.
But alas, as I say, these reports are secret. We the fans, the paying audience in the stadiums or in front of the TV have no business with those things. They keep it in their closed little circle.
In fact I only recently found out about the fifth official – and I don’t think they want the public to know about these reports. Because just imagine that people might starting to ask to make those reports (and the PGMO reports of course) public. I think that would be a very frightening thought for the people at the top of both the FA and the PGMO.
But I know now a bit more on how things are going in the PL. I know a bit more about the things ref are allowed before, during and after the game. I will share it with you in the future of course.
And I hope I can lay my hands on more things. Things like a copy of a real PGMO report. Things like a copy of a real match delegate report.
Now that would be real fun I think. Well for us. Not for the people who sit in the backrooms and who decide on things based on criteria only they know.
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