The mysterious and secret 5th official: an Untold exclusive

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.

16 Replies to “The mysterious and secret 5th official: an Untold exclusive”

  1. It always amazes me how secretive the FA are about referees. It’s as if they are dealing with a national security issue. I doubt the secret service are as clandestine as these guys.

    What is it that is so important that it needs a media blackout and protection from the public?

    This is our national sport and one that engages millions of people who pay BILLIONS of pounds of their hard earned money to watch it.

    I just don’t get what harm it would do to give the details? Are they worried about too much pressure being on the ref and managers complaining if they get poorly ranked refs? Perhaps the rule that the top ranking refs get the big matches is a stupid rule because presumably the smaller teams know without even seeing the reports that they are getting the refs with the worst scores.

    The league produce stats on every player and manager and publish them for all to see. Players not performing are under pressure, why are refs exempt? They are professional now after all.

    What is being hidden here? Perhaps the covert nature of refereeing in this country is the reason why we have not had a corruption scandal as in other countries. I find it hard to believe good old Britain is exempt from the corruption we see in other countries.

  2. Walter,
    I know that the wheels of justice grind ever slowly, but the fact that no action against Ferguson has occurred or appears pending, leads me to suggest that the 5th official is either pointless or has become part of the Ferguson network.

  3. there is no way we will ever see those ‘documents’ thats for sure. Is there a freedom of speech law in the UK?.
    I wonder what it could be that this delegate does and how much bearing it has on anything?
    thats what those low life rags should be doing with there resources, hacking agents and top ranking officials of the FA, FIFA etc. Hacking, if only I had of stuck at it many moons ago when I delved into it but to much work and not for me, so those shifty head honchos are lucky!

  4. Interesting, wonder whether someone could do a Freedom of Information request on the PGMOL for this information to be released?

  5. jayramfootball,
    “What is it that is so important that it needs a media blackout and protection from the public?
    “This is our national sport and one that engages millions of people who pay BILLIONS of pounds of their hard earned money to watch it.
    In a sense, you have answered your own question; and argued well at the very end!
    Imo, a parliamentary hearing would have the power to demand/subpoena these referee reports as well as that other EPL or FA hired organization’s reports that are submitted after the match. Their name escapes me at the moment, but there are indeed (at least) TWO proprietary reports that are submitted after each match. Perhaps someone has an MP or two that would wish to table a request for such a hearing which would take political courage, of course. Perhaps your reports, Walter, could produce enough of a groundswell, or reach a parliamentarian or two who might want to curry favor with his footballing constituents, and take up the cudgel on behalf of fair play for all. That is one of my wishes for 2013.

  6. Stuart,
    Assuming you are not saying no to Nuge’s suggestion:
    Are you certain that it would take a public body? What defines public body in this context? Are there any non-profit citizen’s groups that might quality? And would you list any possible candidates for such a public body that could press for Freedom of Information and/or request hearings?

  7. And to speak of mysteries:
    Anne, Woolwich Peripatetic, Goonagal, ranteta,
    Wherever you are, be well!
    The quality of your once constant contributions are
    as remembered by some of us as they are sorely missed.
    Joy to you and to this world.

  8. Hi all Gooners happy new year. I would love to hear what furgus told that young man. You are so cute,you know what you are doing great or something like this you ass if you don’t know me today may be your last match in your career. Ask Riley your boss who pays him you c… are you a d… or a p… do what i want now or else i will cut off your b… i mean i would love to hear what rednose told that guy because he was scared shitless.

  9. Bob,
    I meant you can only make a freedom of information request to a public body or publicly owned company. Private business are not required to respond t these, only a court order or the police can obtain info

  10. I meant freedom of info, not speech!
    Happy new year Arsenal FC, Untold and the fans!

  11. Nice ,Walter , do hope that you get your hands on documents to further expose these creeps ! We need a rat within to rat on these errr … rats !
    Did wonder too where some of our previous posters went and do hope that they are all well, and will make a comeback in 2013 .

    A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the gals and guys of Untold .

  12. Stuart, bob

    As regards the freedom of information act and it applying only to public bodies, I refer once again to the Supreme Court of India’s judgment as regards a cricket board. It is a private body, but the Supreme Court ruled that it should be considered a public body because it performs a public function, and its officials to be considered as public servants.

    Maybe something similar could happen in Britain as well?

  13. Watched the SSN refs review of the year yesterday. A waste of 10 minutes all they really said was the refs make lots of decisions and get very few wrong overall. Asked whether the refs would come out and talk after the game they said it will not happen as the refs have to review games, write reports etc which to me sounds like a cop out.

    1-all match reports should be made public two days after the match
    2-all refs should be made available to discuss these reports
    3-a unbiased body should oversee all refs

  14. Shard,
    I’m fully with the logic behind and the greater accountability that is hopefully achieved by India’s court ruling re the cricket board. Makes total sense (which of course wouldn’t commend it hereabouts).

    So, if true, that makes 3 post-match reports that we know exist –
    the referees, the fourth official (presumably other than the referee’s), and the so-called independent report made by the hired company (it’s public info, but I can’t recall its name) that EPL pays to do a referee analysis after each match. And none of the three (if not more that we don’t know about) is made public. Perhaps the best and most proprietary one of all is fed directly to the gambling citadels.

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