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July 2021

So what is wrong with the Premier League? – part 2.

By Walter Broeckx

We have already have seen the first thing that is wrong with the referees in the Premier League, by showing we don’t have enough referees.  But it gets worse. Because of some refs not being allowed to do games from certain teams.

This could be because the ref has let the PGMOL know that he is a supporter of said team. Or because he is born in the area and thus can be expected to favour some teams from some part of the country.

In fact the list is rather large. Because this is what we found when looking at  refs who do not referee games from certain teams. I have included what I thought would be the reason for some refs not doing games from some teams:


Team Referee Reason
Aston Villa Andre Marriner Birthplace
Everton Dean From Wirral
Everton Foy As supporter
Liverpool Dean From Wirral
Liverpool Foy As Everton supporter?
Newcastle Clattenburg Birthplace/supporter
Newcastle Oliver North East
QPR Halsey Supporter
Reading Moss ??
Southampton Swarbrick ??
Stoke Dowd Birthplace?
Sunderland Clattenburg Birthplace/Newcastle support
Sunderland Moss ??
Sunderland Oliver North East
WBA Andre Marriner Birthplace?
Wigan Foy As Everton supporter?


Now I must admit that in some cases I am not really certain that refs cannot do a certain team. The relatively new refs to the PL (Moss and Swarbrick) haven’t refereed a few teams yet but this could be a coincidence of course.  But it also could be that there is an unknown reason why they cannot do games of said teams.  Because we don’t know the reasons, and because the PGMOL is the secret organisation, we just assume that those refs are for one reason or another not allowed to do games of those teams mentioned in the table above.

In this table you can see, for example, that Clattenburg is known as born in the North East and he also is known as a Newcastle supporter. I think it is great that this is a known fact because it is obvious that with Clattenburg being a Newcastle supporter he is not allowed to do Sunderland games.  It would be the same for an Arsenal supporting ref to do Tottenham games.  Or the other way round of course.

We also see that Chris Foy has let it be known that he is an Everton supporter. So he will not do games of his club and also is not allowed to do games of Liverpool and Wigan as they both are local rivals from the Liverpool area.

Later on in this series I will point at some strange things in this. And as always when strange things are involved the name Dean is not far away.

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But we will come back to this later on when we go into the teams and the refs in further articles.

But the result is that for those teams we have less than 16 refs available.

This gives us something like this

Team Possible Referees


Aston Villa










Man C


Man U






















West Ham





So it is clear to see that when in the earlier article I mentioned an ideal scenario it is actually impossible to get that ideal.  We cannot get to that number because some teams only have 13 refs at their disposal.

This simple fact that some referees cannot referee some teams is yet another  reason to make sure that more PL refs are available. Because we now have the perverse side effect that some refs will do some teams more than they should be able to do.

Let’s take the example of Foy. When Liverpool, Everton and Wigan don’t play against each other there are only 7 games that he can do in a weekend. So he will be sent to those other 17 teams more than he should be sent. And the influence of Foy on those teams grows.

And then you have the fact that he is an Everton supporter but he can do games of direct rivals in the league table. If Everton is fighting for a European spot and he has to do a game of  one of the competitors for such a spot, could there be a slight bias at the back of his head?

I’m not saying there is. We will wait the evidence we find in the numbers but humanly spoken it can be that he might make a decision on the field not just based on what is happening on the field.

I’m not saying it is happening but wouldn’t it be safer to avoid even the thought that it might happen?  So how could we do this?

First, each ref should make known  any interest in favour or against any team and the PGMOL should make this public.  And then the PGMOL should take care that a ref with a known interest is not sent to a game of a competitor of the said team.  And by a competitor I do not just mean the local rival but also the current rival in the league table.

So when I wrote earlier that we need 19 to 20 refs in the PL, I now have to say that  even this number is not good enough.  I think we should get at least 25 refs in the PL to avoid not only local rivalries influencing refs but also competitive rivalries having an influence.

Again as I have noted, some people to whom I have spoken, don’t think there are enough good referees to do this for the moment. Well I think then it is high time for the PGMOL to come out with a plan to make sure that those refs can be found, guided and brought up to the PL level.

I don’t know how many referees there are in England but surely there should be 25 competent amongst them! Competent enough to do the games in the PL without bias. And if they cannot be found we have to ask ourselves a terrible question…

The terrible question: why can’t we find 25 good enough referees?

Because English people are not fit enough to become a good ref? I doubt this is the case.

Or is it because the training and education of referees fails in England?   If that is the case then this is a big failure of the FA and the PGMOL and the people on the top who are responsible for this. And as this is been going on for a while now I think the only solution is to throw them out because they clearly are incompetent.  If they can’t make sure that 25 people are good enough to do games in the PL what on earth can they be trusted to do?

At the same time one could maybe try to work a bit harder on recruiting referees from the south of England.  Because I simply cannot believe that refs from the south of England, the part where most people live in England, can’t be referees at the top level.  And yet at the moment not one can be considered good enough to be a ref in the PL for years now.

I have asked this question for years now and nobody ever came even close to giving me a reason for this absence of people from the south of England and from London.

In the next article we will start by looking at the individual teams and see the influence the PGMOL has by appointing the few refs that they have to the different teams.

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9 comments to So what is wrong with the Premier League? – part 2.

  • @babakrdaemi

    Best blog around. This is excellent stuff. Its obvious to me that there is a problem with Refs in the English league. We have seen countless decisions go against Arsenal when we have been competitive. The opposite of what happens to FAnchester UTD of course.

    I believe it will come out, most likely after Fergie has retired and all those that are guilty are beyond reproach. However, it will become clear that the Premier League has had some awful and questionable officiating.

    The best point you have made is for the PGMOL to be public.

    Have you put this to them, the FA and the press?


    I commented on the Daily Mail recently the Mike Dean stats (taken from this site). they later covered it.

  • Andy Mack

    It would be interesting if they did the same thing with journalists, except they seem to be mainly spuddies….

  • Mandy Dodd

    As well as the refs, think the head of the PGMOL ahould declare who he supports. Come on Mike – surprise us!

  • Norm

    Haha, good one, Mandy. Our mate, OMR! I have noticed our other mate, Dean becoming even more manic lately (if that is possible). Some of his new facial expressions are very odd and he swears a lot. At one point I thought fat Dowd was the worst, but Mike Shit Dean takes the biscuit. How he is allowed to ref at this level, with these documented biases and bizarre behaviour, is beyond me.

  • Adam

    @babakrdaemi, Stick around it gets alot worse.

    Take my hat off to you Walter, soon, I think people will start to take alot more notice of this.

    And who knows, maybe the mainstream media will have the balls to go with your findings. You cannot deny they love a scandal.

  • Adam

    Its a weird occurrence that the two National refs that have got games in the premier league this season can do Sunderland games.

    Something is telling me Mr Riley is plastering over the cracks.

  • nicky

    Well said.
    Can’t wait until it all comes out after the retirement of the nasty bullyboy.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Anyone else see the barca player called offside by the ref but he continued to put the ball in the net and amazingly was not booked. Lets remember there is a precedent for this in this very ground and competition. Having said that such things would no longer happen to rvp just wish he had mentioned that in his leaving speech

  • Dowd is from Stoke? That explains why he became the first ref in Premier League history to steal a 4-goal lead… and why it was Arsenal from whom it was stolen.