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July 2021

Who referees the referees? It’s a bigger problem than we imagined

By Our Man In Black


According to the way the PGMO should be working each game in the PL should be assessed by the PGMO.

To put it bluntly, all PL matches are meant to be assessed by a panel of assessors every Monday. But rumour has it that this is not always happening. And if this is not the case then the PGMO is not doing their job.  And if they are not following their own rules, what hope have we got for fair play on the pitch?

This is particularly worrying because the assessments of each referee’s performance are the base for the Referee’s Table of Merit and the Table of Merit is the league table for referees.

You’ll see where this is going.  The whole referee system is interconnected and if you fail to perform one basic task, like assessing each referee in each match, then everything falls apart.  The rumour is that it has already fallen apart.

It is like the Untold Arsenal referee league table which we created for last season. That was based on the Untold match reviews. The merit table should be based on the assessments from the PGMO.

But if you haven’t assessed every game then the merit table is just a farce.

Of course this is just a rumour we have heard. A rumour that could be contradicted by the PGMO. All they have to do is to open up and show the assessments of each game in the PL. That way every body would know that all the games are assessed or not.

But there is worse to come in terms of the rumours swishing around the Refsphere.   Because one rumour we hear says that the assessments are not completely done in a fair way. There is a rumour that the points given to the refs are given in a way to make sure that the ones who are the big boys in the ref world score high numbers. And others score lower numbers.

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So all this time when we have been saying that the referees are making too many mistakes, and that these mistakes don’t “even out in the end” there was something else going on.  As one source within the Refsphere put it,  “the assessments and the marks given are a farce”.

In fact it is suggested that assessors were told who to give high numbers and who to give low numbers.  And some who have refused to do this have been told to look elsewhere for employment.    Toe the line or get the sack.

So if we understand it right the honest assessors who wanted to give the marks based on the ref performances in game are out. Gone.  Vanished.  Removed.  Demoted.  And the ones who will mark the refs according to how some in the PGMO or elsewhere want the merit table to look, are being kept.

Now of course the PGMO could deny this rumour. And they could show us that there is nothing wrong. They could show us the list of the match assessors from the last few seasons. And then we could see with our own eyes if they have ditched a few people or not. They could maybe add who assessed which games also. That way we could see how many games were assessed by how many assessors.

That’s all they have to do.

We’re waiting…

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12 comments to Who referees the referees? It’s a bigger problem than we imagined

  • wambam

    I’ve heard other rumours that the referee’s have controlled the title for years.

    How long before we can let EA sports use FIFA14 referee protocols with sensor’s on the players and remove the twerp from the middle?

  • Zé Günner

    You lot consistently make me laugh…appreciate what you’re trying to achieve and the work you put into this…but…

    1. Arrogance! Have read articles where your glorious leader (or Head Mentalist, depending on perspective) actually declares that actions or commentary from PGMO is actually driven by your little corner of the internet…talk about an ego…
    2. CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY EVERYWHERE! CALL THE DAILY MAIL! The PGMO is actually run by Freemasons/The Mafia/ Fergie and Glenn Hoddle’s love child/secret lizard people aliens*

    *Delete as applicable…

  • norman

    Mike Riley was the worst and most biased ref in Prem history and now he runs the whole show. Last seasons train smash of obvious favoritism toward United was a disgrace. Something seriously needs to be done. And soon!

  • nicky

    Purely by chance the other day, I watched the Man Utd massacre of Arsenal (under Riley) when, among others, the Neville Bros assaulted Reyes ad lib.
    Even though it took place many years ago, I still shuddered to watch Riley permit the blatant GBH throughout the battle (I won’t dignify it and call it a game).
    That video should be played regularly whenever sheer corruption in football is shown or talked about on air.
    Riley himself should never be allowed to hold office again, in any way connected to PGMOL.

  • Grimey

    Slightly off topic- but i was wondering if the Untold sister site, Referee Decisions will incorperate any articles like these. Atm It seems to be too much raw data and not enough analysis.
    These posts deserve a wider audience than a clearly ‘Arsenal’ site.
    Keep up the good work.

  • WalterBroeckx


    I think we will publish them also on referee decisions. but we ware working behind the scenes to count all the numbers right now.
    Then we will run the last season findings over there and over here of course.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Cannot say any of this comes as a real surprise. They should be audited by an independent body….who also happens to have no vested interest in Utd success or indeed the success of any other team or individual. If things are run as suggested in this article, it seems to me that there is more to this than bias or doing the bidding of certain others, could this be a self regulating inside trading cash cow for those few in the know? And no, i am not suggesting individual refs are on the take, but someone may be. But maybe, thanks to this site, we are at least to a degree in the know as well.

  • Gunz


    “All select group games now have no assessers at all,a panel of 7 members will watch a dvd and mark the officials accordingly,the match delegate will still attend the game.”
    “There have been 17 taken of the PGMOL list all band C Assessors have gone.”
    (Dated 31st May 2012)
    Taken from this link:

  • Ze Gunner, I think your viewpoint might have some credibility if you actually countered a single one of the details on referees that we have set out on this site over the past four years.

  • Stuart

    Ze Gunner,
    You are mistaking the articles for being decisions / conclusions where in fact they are just summaries of evidence most of the time.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    If the PGMOL is so derelict, why are the club owners equally indifferent to ensuring that it runs transparently such as will narrow the margins of error and/or bias that, in the view of most supporters (except probably MU) is so clearly patent?
    I believe that as they got together to take a stand on FFP, they should be able to do same with respect to insisting on structures, systems, etc that will ensure the transparency and the improvement of the performance of PGMOL across board.
    Is this too much to ask or is there a fundamental constraint that stop the owners from setting and prosecuting such agenda?

  • Domhuail

    Be careful of rumours about referees controlling the results, etc. However I have seen intentional manipulation of assessment scores first hand when I was a candidate for national referee in my home country. I also saw certain referees being ¨manhandled¨ because they disagreed with the equivalent of the PGMOL leadership and I was a victim of specific prejudice while my candidacy for national referee was underway.
    There are so many ways a referee can be compromised and it is so easy for the perpetrators to have plausible deniability when doing so. Once your reputation or credibility are sullied, justifiably or not, your career as a top referee is over. The worse thing and the saddest is that a compromised referee is an easy target for manipulation and profiteering.
    As we say over here, a compromised referee is a bought referee.