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August 2021

Referee Rumours: Is the promotion and demotion of referees fixed?

By  Our Man In Black

If the rumours can be believed it now seems that whereas PGMO should assess the referee in all games, not all games are actually assessed.  Which is rather bizarre since it means that the only place where all games are assessed from a referee point of view is Referee Decisions.

Worse, there is a strong rumour that some of the assessments are in fact less that forthright (although others speak in stronger terms of what is going on).

Which in turn means that we have a Merit Table from PGMO which is based on incomplete and dubious data.  And yet this Merit Table is the table on which refs are demoted and get promoted.

Now I want to put my usual caveat in here.  No one is saying that this rumour is true.  But what we are saying is a situation in which refereeing in the Premier League is run via a secretive organisation that will not publish its data or give out statistics with meaningful back up and analysis, is bound to be surrounded by rumours and innuendo.

You might remember that last season we had referee Stuart Attwell demoted from the PL half way the season.   It was implied he was one of the lowest scoring referees.  But we now hear that the data on which he was demoted was, shall we say, “unreliable”.  According to the rumours we now hear Attwell was actually in the top 10 in the merit table when he got demoted.   The rumour says he was demoted for reasons that had nothing to do with his performance.

Of course we don’t know for sure, because the merit table is probably the most secret table in football history.  And as always we need to point out that PGMO could counter this rumour by publishing the Merit Table on a regular base. Even if the Table was made public once a month it would be a nice way to see how refs are doing. A weekly published merit table would be the best thing of course but … well with this organisation there is no point in asking for what would be reasonable in any other organisation.

But let’s ask anyway.  What we want is A Merit Table, and information to show how the table was arrived at.

But the PGMO is what it is and it keeps its secret tables hidden for the wider audience.

So two rumours: one is that not every match is assessed, and the other is that the Merit Table is by-passed when it comes to promoting and relegating referees.  What does count (according to rumour) is the fact that who you know, and who you are in favour with, is more of an influence.

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To try and get through this mess we have to ask why?   Why would an organisation suppress the details of its assessment, in a sport where everything runs on tables and results?

And if it is doing that, why would they bother?  Indeed why promote or demote referees on any other basis?

I can only answer those questions in terms of the rumours I hear, and they focus on the fact that there is a power structure within PGMO, and suggest that PGMO is run in a similar manner to Fifa – that’s the organisation whose watchword is now, “Sometime democracy is not the best way to run an organisation”.

So, the rumour is explained by being all about power, and wanting to have one’s own way.

The other explanation is a lot worse, although the outcome looks the same.  If you think back to the corruption of football in Italy you will recall that it was arranged not around betting rings (which are always cited in the press in the UK when talking about such matters) but around the fixing of matches by refs with the collusion of TV companies, in order to help certain teams rise up the league table and win cups.

If you want to read the background do take a look at our archive on the subject.

Am I saying that match fixing is rife in the Premier League?  No, I am saying something else.  I am saying that PGMO is a secretive organisation that releases very little information about how it works and what it does and it would be good to know why it acts in this way.  History shows us that secretive organisations are normally secretive because they have something to hide. If PGMO has nothing to hide why not come out into the open?

Better still why not allow a couple of fans to sit in on all discussions, so that they can report back to the public that yes, it is all done properly, I have seen it and it works.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

1 comment to Referee Rumours: Is the promotion and demotion of referees fixed?

  • Mike

    You’ve hit the nail on the head yet again.

    Sadly, the only people who might really have the wherewithall to change this is the media (well the half decent bits of it anyway). But the only way they’ll be interested in doing some serious investigative journalism (for a change) is if their beloved Man U are the ones who suffer dramatically at the hands of match officials………and that’s hardly going to happen while Riley’s in charge.

    Keep up the great work guys.