Does Keith Hackett read Untold? The scandal of PL refereeing Part 1

By Walter Broeckx

“We need to replace the quality and to do so we may need to look elsewhere,” says Keith Hackett. That is the header of an article that you can find if you click on this link.

Sorry for leading you to an outside website if you want to click on the link. But it was rather interesting what was said in the article.

Once again after our last referee review we had people coming over calling us deluded, biased, fools, idiots, whiners, moaners, sour losers,…  Well that might be the case but this is something that cannot be said of Keith Hackett. He is not an Arsenal supporter.

Calling us all these names is of course an opinion. But doing the reviews is based on facts. And based on these facts we have come to some conclusions on the referees in the PL. We have learned their favourite teams, we have discovered their bias and their weaknesses.  And we now can predict with some accuracy before the match how a ref will do that match and where he will go wrong. And well most of the times our predictions are rather spot on.

In doing the reviews we have up to now examined more or less 50.000 referee decisions. It might be more but to be honest we haven’t counted them all.  Of course you might disagree with some of our decisions. In fact I have no problem with that. But even if of all those years you would disagree with let us say 500 decisions this will still mean that you can agree with 99% of our reviewing decisions. And believe me to find 500 decisions on which you would disagree is a lot.

But I do realise that you still could say: well you are an Arsenal website so whatever you say I will ignore it.

Then we can only present to you a few quotes from Keith Hackett, a former top referee and the former head of the referees. So someone who knows (or should know) what he is talking about. Both in terms of doing matches and in running the referees. He was the referee who was replaced by Mike Riley in 2009. So it is good to take note of what he is saying I think.

We will examine what Hacket is saying and split it up in a few points we have raised during the years.


A first quote: ” The Premier League has only three “world-class” referees at the highest level”  Hackett said: “Given the standard of ­officiating at the moment and the fact we only have three ­referees who are world class in Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver and Mike Dean, and until recent events Martin Atkinson, we need to replace the quality and to do so we may need to look elsewhere.

And for those who have been following us over the years that is no real surprise. Because that is exactly what we have been saying for years. Based on our reviews.  Now we can argue about some of the names he mentioned but the fact is that Hackett has reached the same conclusion as Untold did years ago: the standard of officiating in the PL is a disaster.

Untold Arsenal referee-reviewers, have been saying it for years. And look Keith Hackett confirms our findings now. And of course Untold has been running ahead of the rest. I could add ‘as usual’.


On this topic Keith Hackett is saying that the English officials in the PL are being undermined because of a lack of transparency.

Blimey this could have been taken from dozens of articles that we published at Untold Arsenal and Referee Decisions. We have been asking for transparency from the PGMOL for years. But we got nothing. Au contraire, they shut down the website they got and went even more into a kind of back room way of doing things.

There is no transparency in fact when we talk about the PGMOL. Nothing at all. And we have been asking for this for many years. And look Keith Hackett does agree with us on this point.


As the article says, “He is now calling for sweeping changes to the way the present body governs referees.”

Well this is exactly what Untold Arsenal and I have been saying for years.  And suddenly Untold is no longer a “lunatic voice” as we have been called. Or well unless of course you think that Hackett suddenly also has turned in to a lunatic person. But I somehow doubt that. In fact I am sure he isn’t.


And now Hackett had a few other remarks that we have been saying before.  And again I will quote:

Hackett said: “When we look at the game last week and Martin Atkinson’s performance in the Chelsea versus Arsenal game you can excuse getting one red card wrong. But when you get three that were nailed-on wrong then we have really got to start to examining where we are going wrong.  “When we have to question why a referee who is clearly not in form was given that particular game we see the problems.

I can add to this that from doing our reviews we have said before that Atkinson is not a referee do to this match at all. Untold Arsenal said this before the match and some laughed it away. It is not that we are magicians or so. No, we looked at the decisions, analysed them, came to conclusions. In fact it is simple to do IF YOU WANT TO DO IT! But apparently the PGMOL is not interested in doing this.

If they had done so they would have come to the conclusion that Atkinson is not fit to do matches that involve Chelsea because he has strange decisions in those matches. Untold warned everyone before the match; they called us names.

Quote from Hackett: “We were told in ­pre-season by the ­Professional Game Match Officials’ Board that Howard Webb would be no longer refereeing games, but would come out afterwards to talk about incidents and ­decisions such as these. He was a massive loss, but he has not been used in the manner they said he would. Players, fans and managers need to ­understand why ­decisions were made the way they were – rightly or wrongly.”

Another promise from the PGMOL that has gone up in smoke one could say. Or maybe Webb feels that he can’t defend the indefensible? Maybe he feels still too close to  certain referees that he can’t bring himself to tell them how wrong there were? Anyhow it is clear that the PGMOL didn’t do as was promised. And not for the first time.

Quote from Hackett: “Martin Atkinson is a colleague and we respect him as an ­individual, but the game requires top-class performances week in, week out by ­referees. You have to question the management teams which allow the No.1 referee in Mark ­Clattenburg acting as fourth official on both Saturday and Sunday and not in one of the big games.

In fact I think any ref would have been better than Atkinson for this match in particular. Our findings did show his anti-Arsenal bias and his pro-Chelsea bias. So why did the PGMOL send him? Well because of the lack of transparency and accountability we will not know. We will never know.

In a next article we will continue to talk about the words spoken by former head of referees Keith Hackett.


The list of recent articles and the anniversary file is on the home page as usual

20 Replies to “Does Keith Hackett read Untold? The scandal of PL refereeing Part 1”

  1. Great article and great work. What Arsenal fans (and I expect most fans) want is fairness. We can accept wrong decisons, what we can’t accept is bias. Keep on pushing at the door.

  2. I wonder if it(his views) may also be one of the reasons why Keith Hackett was let go.

    From experience i know that if one does not get with the program, one is shut out very quickly.

  3. I think the significant thing about this is that the story was covered in a major national paper. Another crack in the facade…

  4. Walter, I followed the link to the Paper and then a second link to what is claimed to be “the No.1 destination for all matters connected to refereeing, including news, comment, videos and match analysis.” They have an archived report on the Chelsea v Arsenal game which I went to. Only praise for Atkinson over the early exchanges and they viewed the initial yellow from Chambers as perfectly justified. They also viewed the Cahill challenge as 60/40 yellow/red. At that time I stopped as their view of acceptable refereeing is definitely not the same as mine. No one has mentioned the Ivanovic elbow on Ozil other than your review. Corporate cover up alert I think!

  5. Interesting this, I hadn’t clicked the link yet but let me do that right now. Keep up the good work Walter and UA.

  6. WHAT a super article…hope and wish for something to come out of this mess of BIAS against Arsenal…ITS JUST NOT ON! (please excuse the caps)!

  7. @Andrew

    Have you actually gone back and watch the “elbow”, it wasn’t even foul worthy, much less card worthy. It clearly wasn’t an attempt by Ivanovic to throw an elbow at Ozil, I think if you showed that to 100 neutral fans, 100 of them would probably reach the same conclusion.

    This is one of the issues I have with some of these reviews…they are mostly good and a wonderful idea, but there’s just nothing an Arsenal fan doing them for Arsenal games can do to avoid showing some sort of bias in the conclusions that they are reaching. That wasn’t a card-worthy decision. Neutrals won’t ever mention it because it wasn’t worthy of mention. It’s only being trotted out because we’ve got people looking for errors with the refereeing. Frankly, those errors were plentiful and glaring enough that we don’t really need to go fishing here.

  8. Typically first class response to an interesting development – looking forward to Part 2.

    Although not an instinctive gambler, one wonders if we are now at the stage where a few bets on refereeing performances are more akin to an investment in outcomes as opposed to anything more reckless …

  9. Atkinson is a Chelsea referee, the more you write it, hopefully, the more it will appear on search engines and expose him for what he is

  10. Atkinson is a Chelsea referee , there we are Mandy.
    When I’m watching a game i constantly tweet about the referees performance or lack of it , sometimes can be hard at the Emirates as signal always poor .
    i always end with hastag #PGMOLCORRUPT
    Maybe we can try and get this to trend the next time we face a bad refereeing performance which normally is every game

  11. @ Walter – was thinking along the same lines when I read the link. Few if at all in the PGMOL would relish taking on or attacking such a person .
    Sign him on , Tony ! Sign him on !

  12. Steve0,

    I just watched the elbow. Ivanovic deliberately aimed for Ozil’s neck or chin. He was obviously and violently playing the man with the ball already gone. If he’d just turned as he did without the elbow, it still should have been a yellow card for obstruction, as he was using his body to block Ozil’s run. As it was, however, he waited til Ozil’s chest was within reach, then he suddenly and quickly extended his elbow in an upward motion.

    Here’s a link:

    Such a forceful and unnatural swing of the elbow was violent without due care for the safety of his opponent: according to the Laws of the Game, a straight red card.

  13. @ El Gringo – if I was the referee , I’d given 3 red cards stat to Ivanovic , Cahill and that monster prick Moanin’inho ! He was too close to the touchline interfering with play and probably trying to kick or gouge someone or rather !
    We ought to keep forwarding this to all our contacts and enemies !

  14. It is interesting that the Odious One was already out of his technical area as Cahill deliberately “took out” Sanchez and Ivanovic deliberately moved to obstruct and elbow Ozil. What a gang of thugs.

  15. my comment on the last article is more relevant to this thread, sorry for the repetition:

    Importing Grand Master Busacca from the Grand Duchy of Blattersburg is not the answer but a failed attempt at further obfuscation from those who have already run out of fig leaves. Because there is simply no rational or reasonable explanation that can be given by anyone or anything that could explain the lack of the kind of system used in the poorer sister sport of field hockey in association football.

  16. Imagine a judge at the 100m Olympic race:

    “Cameras? Replays? Fark orf! I trust my very own two eyes compared to any camera on the finish line”

    It sounds ridiculous. Because it is a ridiculous place for these officials to be. Yet that is the most common reason that is given to explain the current structure behind them.

    Also, I haven’t seen many races where the director refuses to show a finish line replay in detail from various angles, making the most of the money they paid for their rights. Unlike, you know, a certain incident the other week in a game of football. I don’t think that was a goal, but the lack of any replays broadcast was at the very least: remarkable.

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