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July 2021

Sunderland – Arsenal: is Atkinson truly fit to referee this game?

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know we’ve already had one referee preview for the Sunderland game.  But Walter has just come up with some late breaking news on the ref.

The match preview follows shortly.


I was just taking my own personal look at the referee we will see doing the game in Sunderland this afternoon and found there was something extra to say about Martin Atkinson is the ref for this game.

We all know the chant ‘you’re not fit to referee’ as we have to sing it almost every week or thereabouts. In general we then talk of his decision making and I will talk about this of course. But ‘being fit’ (or not) can also point at his general fitness. And well we have something to say about that also.

Because well from time to time we get some little snippets of news blowing our way that send us messages that nobody else knows.

So we heard that Atkinson passed his fitness test for the PGMOL – the organisation that runs the Premier League ref appointments.

But as he is a FIFA ref he also has to pass his FIFA test that is taken fairly obviously by FIFA.

And he failed a couple of weeks  ago.  

Now when you fail a fitness test for FIFA this means that you cannot do international games. And so Atkinson was removed from his CL game and replaced by Marinner.  Of course nobody has mentioned it as …well you know the referee world is the opposite of the open world we would like it to be. Keep it all behind closed doors you know.

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Now failing on a FIFA test has no implications on doing games in the PL.  Because Atkinson passed his fitness domestic fitness test so he can do games in the PL. And failing a fitness test can happen to anyone. A bad day just on the day that you have to do the test, feeling a bit sick… it can happen to anyone. So FIFA always gives you a second chance to pass the test and this tests should have taken place by now.

But rumour has it Atkinson didn’t feel confident to do it now already because another failure could have bigger implications. So I have heard that there was a scenario where Atkinson sent a medical  note to FIFA letting them know he can’t take the test now for medical reasons.

Now this is ok, for a ref can always have an injury, so this is not that strange. But where it could turn strange is that Atkinson could send a note to FIFA saying he is injured/sick/whatever… but still would do games in the PL.  This is looking murky.

Now of course he could have done his test (I heard it should have been done on Thursday) and if he passed his fitness test there is no problem. But if he wrote a medical note saying he can’t do the FIFA test now because of injury/sickness/whatever… then it surely would be strange that he would do a PL game. I don’t think there is much difference between the average PL game compared to a CL game.

So it could be that we have a ref who declared or had a doctor declare he is not fit enough to do a test but who is fit enough to do a PL game. A bit strange. So the chant you’re not fit to referee might have a double meaning this weekend – or perhaps it should be “The rumour says you’re not fit to referee”.

If we look at the win% of each team we see that in general Atkinson has a rather even win% (52.63%) compared to Arsenal overall win% (53.45%). And the same goes for draws and lost games.  Like I said it could be down to having him against Chelsea.

For Sunderland we see that there is a marginal difference with their win percentage. 26% wins in general and 23% wins with Atkinson.  They have more draws when he is around (38.46%) compared to normal (25.28%). And Sunderland losing 47.86% of their games in general but when Atkinson is around they only lose 38.46% of their games.

So the main question will be: is he fit to referee?

The books…

33 comments to Sunderland – Arsenal: is Atkinson truly fit to referee this game?

  • Mapie sembogo frm Dizzim

    Gunners on Fire by addition of mesut ozil,we ar going to win. Sunderland 1 Arsenal 3

  • Florian

    So, how many fit referees does PGMOL have?

  • ASNLthruNthru

    Isn’t fitness is also a state of mind?
    Say no more!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Maybe he is past it but delaying his retirement to help his beloved Chelsea to the title?


    With all due respect,Atkinson should not referee Arsenal,for his inconsisting refereeing,of course when Chelsea are not Mand Dodd said,so for me it’s going to work in favour of Chelski,mo matter how good Arsenal are especially with Ozil

  • alan

    tbh the only two referees that are utterly biased against arsenal are Mike Deane and Anthony Taylor. they’re a disgrace and ive been saying this for years!!

  • Borntobeagunner(btbag)

    He is not fit to referee

  • Mandy Dodd

    The refs helping utd yet again. looked a clear Ashley young dive to me. Now bale has left young has become the prima diva

  • AL

    And shouldn’t have been a red card too, how long are we going to see this go on?

  • Gunz

    @Mandy Dodd
    Saw that too! Typical Young dive for me and I feel from replay,the supposed infraction was outside the box, or does the ‘D’ count as part of the penalty box. Typical manu, can’t get a hold on the game, so needs a hand from the ref.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hear fergie out of hospital from his hip operation must be a welcome back present from the pgmol. A triple whammy for the unfortunate palace

  • para

    Yes it looks like the refs are going to continue their support of Manu this season. Well did we expect any different?

  • WalterBroeckx

    don’t forget Probert….

  • AL

    Ozil to Giroud! Get in!!

  • AL

    Anyone know how to put those two dots on top of the O in Ozil?

  • AL

    Was wondering why my comments are going into moderation, then noticed a typo in my email address:)

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Özil’s first assist! Another great finish by Giroud….

  • AL

    Shouldn’t have been a penalty as you say it was outside the box. And I quote this from the BCC website;

    “Man Utd have given manager David Moyes a first league win at home but they needed a controversial Robin van Persie penalty and a late Wayne Rooney free-kick to do it. Palace were spirited and resilient as they were forced to play with 10 men for just over half the match. The penalty decision looked harsh and contact appeared to be just outside the area.” – Simon Brotherton. There you have it, a helping hand from the ref indeed.

  • colario

    @Gunz. Are we surprised?!!!!
    Normal service has been resumed!

  • mk

    to be fair to the ref he did card young for his first dive and didnt give a pen for evras.. i think he may have even asked the assistant if it was in the box or not.

  • americangooner

    No surprise there is it? dives, gets penalty.

  • americangooner

    If we drew or lose this match, I know who would be the scapegoat? No, not Atkinson. It’ll be Theo Walcott.

  • marcus

    looks like we have, for a change, been on the right end of some wrong decisions … personally i don’t want to see any ‘rebalancing of justice’ cosmically initiated, arbitrary, or otherwise. i’d just like to see high quality consistent refereeing.

    However, assuming we win this game, people will say the Altidore disallowed goal came at a crucial time, and affected the momentum of the game. You hear momentum talked about a lot in sport. In tennis it is all about having the momentum, and in Rugby Jonathon Davies always refers to momentum.

    Why then since momentum is so crucial and so widely recognized does no-one talk about the loss of momentum AFC suffer every time a match is spiked, against us or in favour of say MU? Just a thought…

  • marcus

    Fantastic to see Ramsey getting back to his old self. Was touted as being better than Fabregas and Wilshere at one time – let’s hope he fulfils his native promise.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well done Rambo -he has fired us to the top of the league1 For a while at least!
    On a negative note, Giroud…worrying…

  • WalterBroeckx

    I was watching on a very poor stream so could not see all the incidents very well or hear things well.
    I presume that with the not given Altidore goal the ref had blown before he got himself free from Sagna. Now I must say that on my (bad) stream it looked as if Sagna and Altidore were holding each other so both committing a foul. Given advantage to Altidore would have been bad (he made a foul) and getting a goal from a foul is not a good thing to do as a ref.
    Sagna not getting a red card has the same reason. Both players making a foul by holding each others shirt. For once Atkinson gave us the benefit of the doubt.

    The penalty looked harsh on my stream. I think I saw Koscielny play the ball but yet again he gets called back for that. It seems a different set of rules for our defenders and other defenders.

  • AL

    That’s how I saw both incidents too. With the Altidore incident he’d already blown for a foul so we can’t even talk about the ‘goal’. IMO he shouldn’t have penalised Bac either, but good that noone gained from that as it would’ve been unfair. By the way, how many did City score with all their world class strikers today.

  • Adam

    @ Mapie sembogo frm Dizzim

    What’s your prediction’s for the next five matches mate?

  • Adam

    Walter, if two players are breaking the rules surely the ref should stop play to have a word and restart with a contested dropped ball?

  • Arsenal1Again

    It’s refreshing to see you right about the Ref and particularly noteworthy is how you are now using previous data for other teams. This in my opinion makes your analysis both fair and comprehensive and as such goes on to give your conclusion credence.

  • rantetta

    Oh no, from what I saw (and I’ll have to watch the whole match again to make sure), Atters was right on his usual game – when reffing Arsenal.

    There were multiple fouls on Arsenal players, some nasty, which were let go. Once I re-watch I’ll be able to see just how many time Giroud was clobbered and then a foul given to the clobbee. One or two of the Sundy players should have had yellow cards from the get-go.

    It’s totally OK to kick JW10’s ankles, whether at club or International level, so I hope all of his naysayers, re the England game – get their wish, and Jack gets dropped from England. T. Cleverly and M Carrick can fill in for Jack.

    But back to Atty. That ref is in a majority of those who’ll have Arsenal kicked and who’ll do anything to make sure this fabulous team lose, or at least – have to deal with multiple injuries. That’s Martin for you.

    Those of you who don’t like it pointed out that the refs tilt the pitch against Arsenal – just look at the WHOLE game. Or, stop pretending to be Arsenal fans. Go and be a fan of ManU, or one of the teams that are brilliant and are always “correctly reffed”. Pah.

    Well done Arsenal. You took the kicks and came through the other side – Victorious.

  • Tjekem


    With a microsoft keyboard – hold down the ALT key and type 153. then release ALT key.

  • WalterBroeckx

    It seems he passed his fitness test in the end. But was he fit to referee? 😉