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Referee Rumours: Bullying of referees by… referees

By Our Man In Black

BULLYING in the changing room

We have been told that at least 3 top officials have been bullied, received threats and have been intimidated by senior officials from the PGMO.

We do have a few names but once again we cannot publish them, or will not publish them as we were not there.  What’s more we once again openly admit that we can’t verify these claims  for the simple reason that PGMO is such an enclosed and secretive organisation.

Now why would an official of the PGMO bully a PL referee? After all those PGMO officials are to be considered neutral people who only are interested in the good standard of refereeing. So why should one of the senior men in PL refereeing rush in to a dressing room after a game and start bullying an official? Because he didn’t like the result?

After all even if the ref made a mistake in that game the result wouldn’t be changed as a result of a PGMO official bullying the ref. They could have a word about the incident and point at the mistake but no need to shout or intimidate the referee.

The fact is that bullying is not a rationale form of behaviour.  It is a habit.  People who bully do it because it is what they do.  They bully, and then they deny that their behaviour is bullying, and they justify their behaviour as a way of getting results, or, more sickly, they suggest that people whom they bully actually enjoy being bullied and they use it as a form of motivation.

From what we have heard about one particular incident where this happened one of the persons in the room was rather disgusted by this behaviour of the PGMO man.  But the referee who was bullied didn’t dare to file a complaint against the PGMO official for fear of further bullying, and ultimately being disgraced as a poor ref, although he was nothing of the kind.

And certainly when one of the other people in the room (a referee) told him that he was willing to lie to protect the PGMO official should any complaint be made.

If this rumour is true then this is another fine example on how they protect each other in the secretive and hidden world of PGMO.  On Untold it has often been said that PGMO is a small organisation with people protecting each other. With people knowing who to please in order to stay in a job. It is good to know who to be friendly with and from whom you should swallow it all. In order to save your own career.

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I think this is a perfect example on how things work in the referee world.

And I have nothing against telling the referee about his mistakes after a game or the days after the game. But it has to happen with respect. We don’t accept players bullying the referee on the field. We certainly shouldn’t accept PGMO officials bullying the referee. Isn’t the PGMO one of the organisations that supports the vision of “respect for the referee”? Well then show some yourself.

Or better still, PGMO, stop being utterly secretive and instead come out into the open so that we can all get a better understanding of how refereeing in the Premier League works.

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16 comments to Referee Rumours: Bullying of referees by… referees

  • gouresh

    Its time to carry a voice ativated dectaphone to protect ones backsides?

  • Mike

    And, of course, if referees are told after the game about their mistakes by a senior official then it would be quite reasonable to share these observations publicly if the PGMO have nothing to hide……………………..ooooh look, a flying pig!

  • WalterBroeckx

    For those who say we should give names I will only repeat what I said in the comment section about another rumour.
    Where Weedonald said why we can’t go any further for the moment until more serious media dare to go further.

    Weedonald,
    hammer, nail, bang on it.

    And RedZ just to give you an idea on what happened a few weeks ago and I quote from another forum on the internet:

    Did anyone hear Glenn Turner on Talksport earlier? Very interesting insight into the current state of refereeing under Mike Riley. He suggested that officials were refereeing in a state of fear, careers were being affected by excessive punishment for incorrect decisions, complaints about the refereeing organisation made by officials were being investigated by members of that organisation, and that officials were generally disgruntled and bemoaned the fact they didn’t have the freedom to speak to the media following contentious decisions, etc. (He said a number of current officials had spoken to him when he said he was going to voice concerns and that they called from private numbers, seemingly because they were worried about using their PGMO laptop/phone in case they were traced or they were being monitored.

    He also mentioned the incident at the 2006 World Cup with Graham Poll showing 3 yellow cards to the same player – Poll has since suggested he was initially disappointed by the assistants’ failure to help him. Glenn Turner said Poll specifically told him and the other assistant that they were to concentrate completely on the game and not note down incidents as Poll had never made a mistake with paperwork in 20 years and wasn’t about to start that night! Poll was also told by Mark Viduka (heard over the mic’s) that the Croatia player had been cautioned twice – Poll told Viduka to get on with his job and Poll would get on with his!

    Very strong stuff but a lot of interesting – and in my opinion – valid points about refereeing. I felt Turner came across very well and as a passionate football fan. Mike Riley needs to respond to some of these criticisms but no doubt he won’t – no transparency with the public!

    The interview is here from 12.00 if anyone is interested in hearing it back – http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/lis…episode/111701

    Now you can try to click on the link if you want and then come back. And then you will find…. what you will find. Did you click? ……. Are you back? Yes, it’s gone.

    Just to give you an idea that if even Talksport pulls an interview that they have given live on the radio later on… Maybe you understand things a bit better now on how we are doing our series?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating
    the people who are being opposed , and loving the people who are doing the oppressing .
    Malcom X .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    In the same vein –

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. — Aesop

  • dan

    If it’s worth anything here, I recall something similar told to me by the brother of certain top official in our league. His brother suffered at the hands of this bully supposedly a superior, the individual in question is our most beloved M.Dean!

  • para

    It is obvious that all the secrecy is a protection from the possible misdeeds that the organisation carries out.
    I for one think that it all has to do with the betting world. Huge sums are bet on the outcome of games and is it not suspicious that the referree-ing does not offer a full time job makes it all so easy for match fixing and such evils to creep in. Players earning horrendous sums of money and referees earning peanuts, a recipe for disaster, and i am actually surprised that there are not many more match fixing incidents, or maybe that is what this organisation does, keep it secret. Who knows.

  • weedonald

    Here are a few things to consider when looking at match officials at any level:

    1)Refereeing has become a more risky and even dangerous vocation (not just a profession)what with even minor league parents,coaches and some players verbally and, on occasion,physically attacking the match official(s)…it takes a strong and devoted person to want to work under conditions that could occasionally be life-threatening.

    2)Because of the nature of this vocation, there are fewer and fewer rational people willing to take up officiating worldwide. When I was in Germany, where their referee development program is tied directly into their Sportsverein (local sporting Club), I was assigned at least 2 games per day, due to a critical shortage of officials. I was 64 at the time and I can tell you that it is no joke doing 2-3 games on a weekend and 2-3 during the week! In my home country it is even worse….and less well organized.

    3)If there is a declining number of people willing to officiate, there are even fewer willing to act as administrators, assessors etc. Therefore, referee associations have to take whomever is willing to do this crazy job. That means many managers and administrators have excessive power (shortage of candidates and desperation to keep those crazy enough to do the jobs)and do not fit the personality needed to manage well….just like coaches.

    4)The nature of officiating is having a critical eye and a firm but fair attitude (Sir Stanley Rous)so once an official becomes an administrator, he or she needs to keep that balance. However power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton) so that many fine officials can become dictators and autocrats in the blink of an eye…..is this the case with the PGMOL?

    5)The PGMOL is an exclusive society,like the Masons and has the same tendency to secrecy as well as admission requirements. They need a bit of protection this secrecy affords from harassement due to Club,media or fan rancour, self-indulgence and attempts to intimidate and manipulate officials’ decision during a game but they are also members of the public trust like politicians and policemen to name a few professions. therefore they also have an obligation to be sufficiently transparent and straightforward so that conflict of interest or corruption accusations won’t stick…..this is where they fail.

    6)Officials at all levels are severely underpaid and so poorly remunerated(including professional officials) that it comes as no surprise to see some opting for ¨alternate¨remuneration schemes. When you see some professional clown on the pitch whose best effort rivals amateur night, getting paid more for one game than you’ll earn in a year, but you take the stick for making a few poor calls, then it very hard NOT to want to feed at the trough. The miracle is that the vast majority of officials are honest,sincere and reliable scions of the game!

    7)Finally, like in everything else in life, those in power have agendas, some visible some not and the politics inherent in the refereeing community are as ferocious and underhanded as anywhere else. In fact, assessors can have an objective that doesn’t accord with being fair but firm. PGMOL or similar leadership may and often seem to have contrary expectations and opinions to what is just and fair for all concerned. Any one individual is powerless to stop this unless they are supported by their colleagues. I am sure Walter will say the same thing as I would, you can’t always trust your colleagues or depend on them sticking up for you when the going gets tough. I saw this first hand and all too often, because their agenda didn’t include loyalty or courage to their peers.

    Excuse the rant but there are too many people speaking from ignorance and misinformation about referees. Hopefully this expose by our Our man in Black will help clear the air. I can attest to its accuracy and how true it rings, and I am sure Walter can as well…that is why claiming it is just rumour-mongering is misinformed…those,like me and Walter, who actually officiate, have seen this before and know how accurate it is.

  • WalterBroeckx

    weedonald,

    Before I took on officiating and despite having talked with lots of former refs before I started, I never could believe the closed world I would enter. You should do it for a few years and then you will know what weedonald and I have seen and still see.

    The “rumours” we have been told by our sources are in fact the same things I have been told and experienced in my own country and that has been experienced by weedonald in the countries where he officiated.

    In a way it is not something exclusive for the PGMO but as we are an Arsenal website and focus on the PL we don’t publish these things about other federations.

    But it is not because something bad happens all over the world that we just should let it pass by. If the PL really wants to be the best league in the world, they should have the best officiating in the world and transparency is a big key in to reaching that level.

  • Mick

    Walter/ weedonald, are the referee associations in other countries as secretive and closed shop as the PGMO? Are there any who conduct themselves in the more open and accountable manner we would like to see in this country?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mick,
    there are some countries that are much more open.

    Holland is one of them. They allow refs to talk to the media after a game. And that is a refreshing thing. It is completely up to the ref to talk to them and he decides to do it or not. I have seen refs admit a mistake in front of the camera, and apology for his of his assistants mistake. In fact the refs who are able to do this gain a lot of respect from the public and from the media in general. It also reminds people that refs do make honest mistakes and are willing to admit it. Not the “we are always right because we say so” mentality that is the most common amongst refs.

    Refs in Belgium for example are mostly kept away from the media after a game but we had a few exceptions lately mostly I think because Belgium FIFA refs also do games in HOlland and so are getting used to speaking to the media after a game.

    Admitting a mistake in public is the first step to become a better ref. Because nobody likes to admit such a mistake so you will do anything what is humanly possible to not have to do it. It is as simple as that in fact.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Could this be the reason Mark Clattenberg, usually one of the better refs told friends he was seriously thinking aout quitting he game when put under pressure by some to eview Wayne Rooneys blatant elbow in the face of James MaCarthy?
    Mike Riley needs to go, he clearly is not serving the game as a whole (serving 1 team maybe). He coms across to me as weak and a bit of a pushover for the ones who hold the real power.
    The more of this that gets out, the more pressure on Riley and co. If current and ex high level refs are reading and contacting these sites, that is a good situation to be in. Surely only a matter of tme before an ex ref breaks ranks to one of the papers , earns a packet in doing so and inpires others to come forward.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mandy,

    a bit of a pushover for the ones who hold the real power.

    bang on from what I hear

  • Mandy Dodd

    Have always been intrigued by the way they wheel out the likes of Dermot Gallagher to explain the unexplainable, but Riley seems to keep a very low profile for one in such a lofty position.
    Still, things will eventually change, but this will be difficult while the likes of Scudamore are still around and Fergie now lurks in the background, plus whatever influence Chelsea seem to have to get Atkinson in so many key games

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mandy,
    you mentioned an important name nobody likes to pronounce in the open 😉

  • weedonald

    Mick…..I can only speak for 5 countries:

    Germany – very open and publicly available information about referees and I believe the Bundesliga allows refs to comment to the press. It isn’t in the German character to break the rules or abuse this priviledge either. Since each referee, regardless of his/her status (FIFA,professional,amateur etc.)has to be a member of their local Sportsverein (Sporting club)…mine had 2 Bundesliga referees who regularly talked about their experience and gave training sessions using actual game footage. Sometimes the press was there to write up a story for the local papers…a great system indeed.

    Mexico….a little less well organized but excellent referees who took their role seriously. They were not encouraged to speak to the press because the fans were so volatile and passionate that they might actually be a threat to a referee’s safety. That said,I was never harassed by any player,coach or fan, unlike my home country. One thing I noticed is that the better quality football (Mexico,Germany) has fewer problems with player behaviour…there are exceptions but I guess self-discipline shows?

    Kuwait: Very poorly organized but equally passionate followers of the game. Corruption is more widespread since the attitude that money can buy you anything in this little kingdom is very widespread…we used to call the place the Disneyland of the Middle East. Referees were not permitted to talk to the press unsupervised but they were allowed to comment after the game during the press conferences,as long as they didn’t criticize public figures. At the time I was there he secretary of the Referees and their FA secretary were member of the royal family (Al-Sabah).

    Canada: Serious problems of referee shortages and lack of consistency across provinces (10 + 2 territories) as well as the weather and difficulty travelling the vast distances. I remember giving a clinic in Panartung, and it took me the same time to fly there as to fly to Florida! In my province (Quebec) we had English and French officials (like Belgium has French and Flemish speakers)as well as other minorities (Canada is a country of new immigrants) and so communication was a problem. We weren’t allowed to talk to the press or make comments. We actually threatened to go on strike twice after referees were beaten and attacked, abused by fans and players…the FA threatened to suspend every ref (and bring in scabs from other provinces) if we did….it all worked out but there is still a bitterness when we old-timers think about this.

    USA: They seem to be advancing rapidly but their referees like ours, are usually discouraged from speaking to the press. The fear of litigation and lawsuits is stronger there than in Canada but is an ever-present menace wherever one referees. In my opinion , this is the country that has improved its officials the most on this side of the pond.

    FIFA have the ultimate responsibility and authority over officials worldwide and they need to step up and spend more time,money and resources to promote our vocation. When i met Sir Stanley Rous during the 76 Olympics in Montreal, he really impressed me with his statement that, ¨the Spirit of the Laws is as important as the Letter of the Laws¨ and that a great referee ¨is firm but fair¨. When one sees a man of this calibre and compares him to Riley or other miscreants, one appreciates what these old-timers were…the heart and soul of the Game!