By Tony Attwood
Now we will see if the Premier League clubs that are messed about by the awful refereeing and the intransigent PGMOL will stand up and demand change.
For now is the moment we have waited for. A club is standing up to the PGMOL – the organisation that handles the affairs of referees, appoints referees, looks into complaints on referees and issues judgements. It is the judge, the jury, and the defence.
Or will the other clubs snigger at the naivety of Southampton and let them fight this battle alone – a battle to sort out the awful mess of refereeing in the Premier League continue.
Southampton’s complaint against Mark Clattenburg has been rejected by PGMOL – the body that appointed him to the job of refereeing the match in the first place. But for once a club has said, no, this is not on.
Southampton wrote to Professional Game Match Officials Limited on December 31 2013, objecting to referee Clattenburg’s conduct towards Adam Lallana when Everton beat Southampton on 20 December 2013. Now the Press Association has said that Clattenburg said to Lallana: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.”
The PGMOL has said it will now take no action and Clattenburg can carry on refereeing. Worse, in a truly laughable statement PGMOL said, “PGMOL is committed to constructive dialogue and communication with clubs, managers and players. On 31 December PGMOL received a letter from Southampton who raised concerns about the conduct of Mark Clattenburg following their game with Everton on 29 December.
“In a written response to Southampton PGMOL acknowledge that their complaint has been considered in full. However, given the nature of the conversation with the player, having reviewed the footage and spoken to the team of officials as well as the Premier League match delegate it has been found that there is no case to answer. Mark has the full support of PGMOL management and will be considered for selection for all and any matches going forward in the usual way.”
So Clattenburg referees Arsenal v Tottenham today.
Southampton have said “An official insulting any player, no matter his intentions, is clearly not acceptable behaviour. For this reason we do not accept the verdict of the PGMOL in relation to this case, and do not consider the matter to be over.
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“Under the circumstances we do not feel it appropriate for Mr Clattenburg to officiate in any of our matches until this matter is properly resolved.”
But there is more to it that this – the whole secretive way in which PGMOL work, the way it refuses to answer questions, the way it fails to inform the public of its actions through a web site, the way it puts out statistics which appear crazy and then fails to give any evidence as to how it obtained them, the way it rules itself allowing no independent outsiders to judge it… all this and more is what is wrong with the very heart and soul of English Premier League football.