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July 2021

Referee Rumours: Inside the secret world of professional refereeing. The stories no newspapers publish.

By the Referee Rumour Mill

Welcome to the new world – not transfer rumours but referee rumours.

If you are a regular reader you will know that Untold has been covering the murky world of referees for years.  If you want to see some of our past work take a lot at the Corruption Archive or if you feel up to it some of our day to day referee news in the Ref Archives

But I have to admit, we’ve not been telling it all.  You see, just as there are rumours circulating every day about transfers, players and managers, so there are rumours running around each and every day in relation to those jolly men and women who “control” the game.

Until now we’ve been a bit circumspect in giving these rumours further publicity.  But following a major meeting of Untold Scribblers in a public park somewhere in England we voted to reverse our position.

So here we go with REFEREE RUMOURS.

Most things we will be writing about in this series are based on stories, tales and tittletattle  that are being whispered in the world of Premier League football.  And some things that are not whispered but are more or less taken as fact in the murky world of referees.  Stories which everyone in the world of the professional ref has heard and treats as known facts.

We looked at the issue again at this moment for what we have heard being whispered by some people of late goes way beyond the normal gossip.  Of course we don’t know if such stories are fact any more than the journalists who write each day about possible transfers know if they are true.  All we can say is that unlike a lot of the nonsense transfer rumours, we didn’t originate the stories by sitting in a pub all night with a list of players and a list of clubs, drawing them out of a hat and then writing the resultant combination up using phrases like “Arsenal have been placed on red alert”.

What we have are some people on the inside who are now willing and able to pass the rumours as rumours because they feel it is time that a greater spotlight should be turned on the referees.  They know that the broadcasters and newspapers will not do anything to cast any doubt on the probity of referees.  They know, as we do that the old “it all evens out in the end” excuse is utterly untrue – but they still put it out.  And they know or suspect that if they start carrying any story about there being anything wrong with refs in the Premier League they could well lose their permission to cover the game.

The central point is that Professional Game Match Officials – the organisation that runs the world of top referees in England, is a closed, shady organisation.  They don’t  have an open web site, they don’t explain the bizarre and extraordinary statistics they release, and they don’t co-operate with supporters – who are ultimately the people who pay their income via gate receipts, TV subscriptions and the like.

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What we would like to see is a referees’ organisation where there are no hidden secrets but where all things are dealt in the open. Where people inform the public, and where the original goals of PGMO (to inform the public) is dusted down and put into effect.

But instead PGMO is more and more turning in to a kind of secret organisation where nothing is made public, apart from the appointments of the referees. But it is perhaps because the PGMO is trying to bury all its work as some kind of file of dark secrets, more and more people are now willing to pass on what they hear and what they suspect.

These snippets are, by definition, things that the PGMO doesn’t want made public – and this is our central point.  If PGMO opened up and told us what is going on that would stop (or at least reduce) the rumours at once. But somehow it seems that the people who run the PGMO are averse to opening up. They want to remain in the dark and not inform the public. So all we have at our disposal are rumours – and that is what we are going to publish.

As for the truth of the rumours, you will have to make of that what you want.  If the rumours are not real then all the PGMO has to do is show us that they are wrong and/or that they have taken care of it.  Or open up their information to the public. It is in their hands to turn rumours in to false or turn them in to facts.

We are certainly not going to harm PGMO’s reputation here because its reputation is already so low among those who know about it, it can’t be lowered any further.

So the rumours we will talk about are on a wide and various aspect of all things that surround referees in England.

The first rumour will appear here very shortly.

And by the way – if you are looking for something rather interesting, I don’t think you are going to be disappointed.

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30 comments to Referee Rumours: Inside the secret world of professional refereeing. The stories no newspapers publish.

  • naked goon

    YeeeeeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Mike Dean has been placed on Red Alert

  • naked goon

    or is it squeaky bum time????

  • Zig

    Can’t wait. We know they’re dirty so bring it up. Springtime cleaning is what needed.

  • Shard

    Haha Adam. That was exactly the thought i had 🙂

  • Lanz

    Ed, just registering this new ip address from a new phone.we can’t wait…..

  • rusty

    Hopefully it’ll shed some light on last season’s two-games-one-weekend appointment, or on the announcements saved for the very last minute.

  • Rufusstan

    @Adam — Beat me to it

  • greencardusa

    Like the idea! This may just provide the impetus for greater trasparency in the PGMO – their image would have to struggle with that of published rumour. And what better way to do that than by being trasparent and providing legitimate explanations?

  • Adam

    Gunz put this link up on another thread.

    Would be interesting if we could compare the impact injuries accrued and the average time out for players across the different leagues in Europe, so we can get a idea of the consequences of English referee’s leniency.

    Anyone know of a site that might have this information?

  • gary

    Every club feels the refs are against them. That is because you naturally notice the 50-50 decisions which go against your team and not for your team

    You also notice the mistakes a refs make against your team while easily convincing yourself the decisions in your teams favour were correct and not mistakes.

    This sort of deluded approach stops us arsenal fans from facing up the the serious flaws in our squad, our management structure and our approach

  • greencardusa

    Why would Gary think that being critical of referees entails being blind to our own faults? Is he saying this is an either or? One cannot be critical of referees without being “deluded” about our own faults? Begs logic!

  • Steve

    Gary, you have a good point. But for me, as a lover of football and as an Arsenal fan, what is more important is cleaning the game up. I live in Asia, where the ref bribing syndicates are based (is based?), where gambling on EPL games is endemic and huge, to the extent where, despite the massive popularity of the game, when you go to pubs to watch a match (kick-off is about 8 hours behind the UK here, so it’s around 11pm for most games) you see hordes of people cheering not for who they support (if any team) but for who they’ve backed. It happens all over the continent, believe me. It’s common knowledge that if the syndicate(s) want a result, they get it. What Untold Arsenal is doing is courageous and, yes, noble, beyond belief.

  • Shard

    Does anybody here based in london want to meet in an hour or two? Or maybe tomorrow evening?

  • Adam

    Hello “Mr Chips”.

    I see Arsenal have thrown all their chips on the table, sorry couldn’t resist.

    Looks like its a summer of going “all in”.

  • Adam

    Shard would love to but have family commitments. How long you here for?

  • Shard

    I’m in the UK till the 25th. I’ll be doing some travelling too so, as of now, i think i’m in london today and tomorrow and on tuesday and wednesday. After that i’m not sure of my plans yet. Will keep asking people to meet though

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Am hooked and awaiting said first rumour with gasping and baited breath! Reel me in !
    Adam @ 5.00pm – I see your poker bet and will attempt raise it –
    Q – How did that big game at the leper colony end ?
    A – One of them threw his hand in !

    DISCLAIMER -No lepers were hurt in the retelling of this joke-
    even it may sound crass !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry ,…..even if it may…

  • Adam

    Brickfields Gunners, lepers is a sore point with me at the moment, had my first ever food allergy reaction, ended up looking like a swollen spotty teenager.

    This link is the total sympathy I received from my family members. They had it playing as I walked through my parents front door.

    Looking forward to my inheritance soon.

  • dan

    Mike Deans wears his wife’s knickers.

  • Yassin

    Come on walter, where is it?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Can’t wait for this

  • Florian

    Mike Riley resigned!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Adam @ 6.49 – don’t even think about it ! Nice to know that they have a sense of humour .So here’s one to seniors and money –
    No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.

    An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary.

    The couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.

    Holding hands, they walked back to their old school.

    It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they’d shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally.”

    On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home.

    There, she counted the money – fifty thousand dollars!
    Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
    Sally said, “Finders, keepers.”

    She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.

    The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money, and knocked on their door.

    “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?”

    Sally said, “No.”
    Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.”
    Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile!”
    The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.

    One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”

    Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday …”

    The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    But you promised….

    God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world …
    then He made the world round and laughed and laughed…. !

  • americangooner

    read a newspaper article that said corruption were rife in laliga but the authorities turned a blind eye to it. on the same newspaper a Levannte player accused his teammates of getting bribed by deportivo an thus losing the match 4-0.
    we also know that corruption is rampant in Fifa & Uefa but dissenters are suppressed by the authorities. so the assumption that Epl & FA is devoid of any malpractice is laughable. a recent proof of malpractice is the case with the doncaster belles-a ladies football team never relegated who are now forcibly demoted to lower division because they are financially inferior to newer clubs like Manchester city ladies football team.
    while on the refs front, we can see how PGMOL tries to deny transparency in making decisions. issues such as zero redress from the south, one refree given 7 matches to officiate one team. gthere are many other instances. but lacking something cracking, like the NSA leaks, many who suspect of FA, EPL,& PGMOL wrongdoings are disparaged because they asked questions about authorities.

  • Norm

    Dean places 3 way bet – Himself to officiate in a record number of Arsenal games next season; Himself to replace Riley as Don PGMOL at end of season; PGMOL to silence Untold in court. 2 out of 3 maybe. Rumours of ref rumours – bring it on, guys!

  • bjtgooner

    Looks like the start of a most interesting series – looking forward to more.


    A really great repertoire of jokes.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ bjtgooner -Thanks , as you can see am really bored and am experiencing withdrawal symptoms ! Damn you, closed season !