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August 2021

Untold lightyears ahead of the real world as cracks appear in PGMOL

By Walter Broeckx

Slowly, very slowly the truth is coming out about the PGMOL. Very, very slowly. And much too slow for my liking.  But still, there is progress.

For a few years now we have been pointing at the things that are wrong in the referee world. I have written (apart from the reviews) maybe some 40-50 articles on this site about all the activities of referees that appear to be strange and out of keeping with a well-organised refereeing regime. I have pointed at bias, errors and mistakes.

And I have questioned the head of the PGMOL. I did this based on the fact that I found him (in my personal opinion) not the right person to be in charge of such an important part of the PL football pyramid.

Not just for what seemed to me to be his own refereeing past but also based on people telling me behind the scenes that they were not convinced he was really working for what was best for referees and for football.

I have tried to show in the reviews how much there is wrong with some referees and how their errors leading to some teams benefiting season after season. And how others too are suffering from their bias and mistakes.

As I wrote much of this for an Arsenal blog people called me paranoid and a whiner. People said that I wrote all this because of the X years without trophy and so on.

As I am myself part of the referee world I do have some inside knowledge of some issues within the referee world, including the information that I have picked up within my country, where of course we face some of the same issues that are faced in England.

I pointed at inaccuracies when it comes to promoting referees or demoting referees. I pointed at the fact that there is a very unhealthy situation in the PL with only a handful referees who are deemed good enough to be refs.  And of course the consequences of having so few refs, as the influence of any referee who is not doing his job properly will become bigger the more games they get involving the same clubs.

I’m not going to repeat all that I have written in this article – that would be ludicrous – and if you really want to read it I advise you to take a few days off and search the site for my commentaries on the PGMOL and their current leader.

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But now there is a new issue, for with the retirement of Halsey the first cracks appear.

First of all Halsey didn’t accept the “shut up-money” that referees get paid when they stop as an active ref in the PL. I have compared the PGMOL with the Mafia on a few occasions.  Of course this is not a literal comparison – the PGMOL don’t go round having people shot.  But they do seem to pay out silence money – a fact that now seem to be confirmed.

(And I would add at this point that if any of the suggestions we have made here are not true, the PGMOL only have to come back to us and give us the facts.  We’d like to meet them, discuss with them, and we can give an absolute guarantee that we’ll publish exactly what they say without any change or commentary.  Alternatively they could open up their web site again and put information there to counter the suggestions we make.  But for the moment, they don’t seem to be doing this).

Now another former ref has opened an attack on Halsey following Halsey;s comments on who he thinks is good enough and who isn’t good enough to referee in the PL.

One could say that Halsey has done something akin to what we have been doing in our reviews.

But after saying this Halsey was attacked by that other former referee, Graham Poll. It seems clear that these men don’t like each other and probably never liked each other. So it was a bit of personal attack.

But the words that caught my eye most in this battle was what Poll said about the referee world. Graham Poll said that Mark Halsey is “betraying the referee’s fraternity”.

Fraternity is an interesting word.  It suggests a brotherhood.  A somewhat closed organisation that looks after its own interests against the outside world. defines a fraternity as originally meaning “a local or national organization of male students, primarily for social purposes, usually with secretinitiation and rites and a name composed of two or three Greek letters.”

OK they are not quite that, but you get the idea.

I have said on many times that the closed referee world needs opening up. It needs to come out. But fraternities usually don’t open up. They usually don’t come out. They do their thing behind closed doors. Only for members. Nobody should know what we are doing and why we are doing it.

This is what comes to mind when Poll uses the word fraternity. And that is what I have been saying for a few years now.

Untold Arsenal has been the front runner in criticising the PGMOL. We have gained  support behind the scenes from people who know the inside of the PGMOL. We now are seeing a former ref taking some pot shots at the PGMOL and confirming what we have been writing all these years. And this is done in the open in the ‘serious’ media. I use the word serious lightly, but you know what I mean.

The media reaction is something to look out for. Will they take the PGMOL/PL party line in this and not start digging deeper?  Now is their chance to prove they are not part of the PGMOL/PL party.  We’ll see how they go.

Whatever happens in the next weeks or months one thing is for sure. What Untold has been saying all these years has been proven correct. And I am sure that more of what we have been saying will be proven correct over time.

I think only a complete new start for the PGMOL and the PL as they run the PGMOL in fact is needed. I think the head of both companies should be replaced by people who don’t look at themselves. At people who think of what is best for football in general. And not think of what is best for the billboard team of the PL. That is what we need.

Let us use this moment to open things up and make giant steps forward to a football that is equal for all. Time to show respect to the people who pay for all this: the ordinary fans like you and me. We want to see sports, not a fixed league.

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26 comments to Untold lightyears ahead of the real world as cracks appear in PGMOL

  • Anto

    Have been reading your articles for a while now.The notion that the referees are biased and maybe corrupt is not so far fetched.But many people would rather bury their heads than face the truth.And arsenal should have won the league back in 2007-2008 but Mike dean stole two points from us by giving a penalty in the last minute when it was clear clichy won the ball.That game still hurts me to this day.

  • Ozzy

    good write up. Thanks for uncovering the bitter truth of what’s happening in football refereeing in this country. The power that FA is doesn’t want anything that upset their world view and what they think is good for the football in this world.

    It’s not only the referees who need to open up the whole FA needs to open up about establishing a biased organisation and supporting it all the way.

  • Mandy Dodd

    to borrow some words from someone else… Now is not the end of the PGMOL, this is not even the beginning of the end of the PGMOL. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning of the PGMOL.
    Or at least as the PGMOL operates now.
    I am not sure what Halseys agenda is but he has bought this out into the open. No longer can this site be completely dismissed as paranoid etc when an insider confirms much of what has been said. There is a story here, journalists will be driven in part by money, glory, fame – believe me, there will be some that will latch onto this.
    Mike Rileys silence speaks volumes.
    Keep it up!

  • bob

    “Mike Riley’s silence speaks volumes.”
    Mandy Dodd,
    Surely GP speaks for the paymaster.
    And MR’s saying anything would raise more interest than his silence. So if anyone in the media (are you listening Amy Lawrence?) would press to interview him in any depth on this, there might be a breakthrough. But he knows this, so, imo, it’s all through GP right now. And surely there are some worries in Klan Fergus about where this might go next.

  • Mike

    Another sound articel Walter. Sadly, I fear the media have will see no value in doing anything that may adversely affect their sales. Hence they will forever support Mike Riley and his favourite team. I hope I’m wrong but I certainly won’t hold my breath.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree on GP Bob, but wouldn’t it look better coming from the boss himself? (and I dont mean the real boss who has just retired). Halsey has made some very serious allegations on refereeing as a whole. Mind you, it is easy to see why the PGMOL management are keeping quiet as you say.

  • WalterBroeckx

    We hear the sound of silence 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    Come to think of it : the song is actually about the PGMOL 😉

    Hello darkness, my old friend
    I’ve come to talk with you again
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within the sound of silence

    I could rewrite this to:

    Hello PGMOL, my old friend
    I’ve come to talk with you again
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within your sound of silence

    I like the darkness=PGMOL thing a lot…

  • Norm

    The Grand Lodge that is the PGMOL had better watch out, because someday soon, someone will be brave enough to speak out and dish the dirt. Halsey is the obviously only the start of the fallout. Surely some ambitious journo can bust Old Mother Riley’s trail of corruption. Is it not interesting that since ol’ purple nose has ‘retired’, any other manager now who bleats is getting a whacking fine? Also years of Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic fouls failing to be brought to justice after the event, changes will now happen? Keep going with the probing articles UA!

  • Mick

    Sorry off topic…
    The French Football Federation reports Koscielny has picked up a calf injury whilst on duty with the French squad and is therefore doubtful for the international and the Norwich match.

  • jambug


    I have to agree with you that I have major reservations that anything will change. Although I admire, and will watch with interest the efforts of Untold in exposing this scandalous state of affairs.

    There are just too many vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

    As I have said before, as the flag ship of everything that is English football, MANCHESTER UNITED just cannot be allowed to be tainted or fall. Conversly Arsenal just cannot be allowed to rise to the top or indeed get anywhere near it, if at all possible.

    Not only that, at the very core of this scandal, (at this stage I still hesitate to label it corruption, but ????) we have a Lord of the Realm. Does anyone really, truely believe that our media, who are at the end of the day what the exposure of this all depends, are going to allow there beloved Fergie to be smeared by any of this.

    It would not only destroy Fergies reputation but would call into quistion so much of what he and Utd achieved. Not only that, I’m sure if it all did come out, it would also expose the medias duplicity in all of this, as they where, and still are, clearly in Manchester Uniteds back pocket.


  • SouthernGunner

    Hopefully the tide is turning regarding refs. Whether something is deliberately amiss of not, the PGMOL certainly need to be more transparent & held to better accountability and not so aloof & beyond . Like it or not, their decisions contribute to the outcome of a match. Whether or not those decisions are correct & they perform to a high enough standard is another question, & websites like Untold are right to flag up any discrepancies.

    As with any profession, anyone would expect it to be carried out to the highest standard & across the board. Why should football (and it’s refereeing) be any different? There’s usually a noticeable difference in the standard of refereeing in a Euopean competition compared to a domestic one.

  • bjtgooner

    Good write up Walter and perhaps some reward for all your hard work.

    One interesting aspect of the present situation is that we are now all waiting for the next revelation or leak or crack to appear. At the same time Riley, red nose, betting syndicates & media etc will be trying very hard to ensure that there are no more leaks and that the cover up which has been in place for quite some time is maintained. I could imagine enormous pressure being applied to any waverers.

    When the next leak happens and it will happen, it could well be even more damaging, not least because it will build on what has gone before.

    I look forward to the release of a cascade of information – following a critical point when the guilty realise the game is up and they start to attribute blame to others, equally guilty, to mitigate their own compromised position.

    For those with the right skills, there are ways to break down this type of corruption/crime syndicate.

    Keep the reviews going!

  • mixke

    Frater, fraternis, iirc, – brother. From long before American college cliques, it’s a brotherhood, pretty close to cosa nostra, really. Btw, the dictionary is not where you find the meaning of a word, as your example demonstrates, see wittgensteins language game.

  • Sly Watcher

    I would be amazed if the TV and media industry – TV in particular – are not actually driving the dodgy Refereeing decisions. That and the massive far east betting syndicates.

    One way to highlight this would be to research the disparity in replays about dodgy decisions, offside included.


    One might expect that the BBC who I recently learned accepts no advertising revenue and are beholden to no one would be chomping at the bit to do a hard hitting expose on this subject. Could it be if they tried MOTD wouldn’t get to have any highlights to show. VERY INTERESTING.

  • Bill from Manhattan,

    The MoTD problem is not really about BBC. It is about the people (mostly ex-England internationals) entrusted with the task of running the programme.

  • Gord


    Walter and some other Untold readers were talking language skills a while ago, and I believe Walter pointed out Wenger’s skills. This follows right in that thread.

    Wenger nominated for language award is running the story, and there a link to the page at The Guardian where the poll is..

    > Wenger, who speaks French, English, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, is nominated alongside the sailor Ellen MacArthur, actor Larry Lamb, comedian Eddie Izzard and the BBC patron Zeinab Badawi.

    Voting ends Oct 14, which is not far away.

  • Notoverthehill

    Walter, I agree with the gist of your research.

    A notable omission is David Gill, during his long tour of duty on the English Premier League management! The last time I checked, about a third of the PGMOL revenue, was paid by the English Premier League.

    The PGMOL is now safely housed within the Barclays Premier League site.

    The “ghostwriter” for the Halsey tome, also wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph. It seems that either Clattenburg or Dean, before transmission, telephones a MOTD executive to check out the coverage of “their” particular game.

    As far as I am aware, no comment. From Henry Winter, the well paid scribbler, whose knowledge of football is no wiser than the average follower!

  • Nelson Wong

    Fraternity is fine if its to do with private matter but when its about public matters its the dent where evil can grow(may or may not have grown at the moment). Its ridiculous that they can look at it that way or dare voice out that way.

    Imagine what happens when a member of the cabinet come out and say one retiring minister damage the “minister’s fraternity”. Or judges from courts talking about “judges; fraternity”; or even police officers.

    It means plots against the public. Cover up of mis-conducts.

    That absolutely destroy their credibility.


  • soglorious

    What I know and very sure of is whatever is kept or has been kept in secret WILL one day be revealed through time and chance!!! Secrets don’t last forever! Same applies to the PGMOL and Utd. That time will come and it cometh soon

  • PJ


    UA has stepped forward, at least according to my findings in Wikipedia.


    Since 2010 the neutrality and competence of PGMOL has been consistently challenged by a group of referees from outside PGMOL who have challenged the statistics that PGMOL have provided about their own work, and the reliability of the referees themselves. This led to the group of referees themselves reviewing 40% of all Premier League matches during the 2011/12 season and assessing the referees.

    Numerous errors were cited, and the common assumption that errors will even out in the end was challenged in a regular report published on the web site Untold Arsenal [] Although the site itself was started by Arsenal supporters the referees who undertake the reviews have persistently claimed that they are neutral in their reviewing. Since the 2012/2013 season, the referee review activities have been moved to a new website [1] to start the process of removing any suggested bias whilst Arsenal reports still continue to be published on the original site.

    During the course of the 2011/12 season the PGMOL took down its previous public web site and replaced it with a website to which entry was restricted to those with PGMOL allocated passwords.

    At the end of the 2011/12 season Untold Arsenal began to summarise its findings in “Ref Review” [2]

    An earlier attempt by the editorial team of the web site to examine how different football associations across Europe monitor referees and the standards of accuracy that are demanded was stopped when none of the associations would agree to complete the questionnaire that they were sent.

    I give credit to whoever wrote and put it on wikipedia. and also for your hard work, Walter.

  • Gooner S

    Graham Poll lived in my street when we were kids. I did not know him closely because he was a little older but was also rather aloof and thought he was too good to play footie/mix with the rest of us. He was OK but a bit of twit. I havent changed my views.

  • Pat

    Thanks for alerting us to the language poll.
    I have cast my vote!

  • bob

    Gooner S,
    So interesting! Where was GP from (on this planet) then?

  • bob

    Well spotted. Could you give us a link to that article and its purported expose of how those two refs actually call MOTD? It’s too juicy not to offer up the link. So please, if you would.