Does Keith Hackett read Untold? How many refs, refs and Wenger, the after-match…

By Walter Broeckx

This article is based on an article that you can find when you click on the link a bit further.

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

Part 1 of my article commenting on this can be found here.


Quote from Hackett:“There are 30,000 ­officials in England, but only 16 with genuine experience at the top. “Because we have a higher retirement age they are allowed to go on for longer at the highest level rather than helping youngsters.”

Hackett mentioning the fact that only 16 referees are doing matches in the PL. Well look. Another one of our fighting points when it comes to referees and the PGMOL.

Yet again Untold has been the one that has been doing the hard work. We have been saying this for years.  Many years. We stood alone apart from our regular readers. The rest asked if we were having our tin foil hats on. I wonder if they will ask if Hackett has one?

Even defending Wenger

About the touchline bust up Keith Hackett said this:  “refereeing displays like Atkinson’s often light the touch paper. The catalyst often to these things is the referee” “If the referee has had a good performance then the clash between Wenger and Mourinho wouldn’t have taken place.  “Where that behaviour is unreasonable they should be shipped to the stand. But we saw a catalogue of, what I consider to be, weak officiating that damages the image of the Premier League.

And apart from defending Wenger he also touches another point we have been saying. The fact that it damages the image of the PL in the rest of the world but also the fact that such bad officiating damages the whole referee world. I have said it before that such biased decisions make it difficult for every ref in the country and in the world do to it according to the laws of the game.  An honest referee sending a player off for a Cahill tackle will get more abuse now because Atkinson didn’t act as he should have done.


Hackett said this:  “A decision was made not to have assessors at games talking to players and referees and because of that there is a failure of education. “There is a lack of communication where officials say ‘look we messed up and this is what we will do to put it right’.”

Another big point where the PGMOL is not doing what it should be doing when it was founded. Education! In fact it is people like me who are doing this. Or trying to do this. I have read many times on here after articles about referees and the laws of the game written by myself or Dom, another former referee, that many people said that they didn’t know that the laws were like that. Explaining the laws of the game to the broad public was one of the core tasks of the PGMOL. As we have been saying for many years and as Keith Hackett is now saying, the PGMOL is not doing this.
And once again another point that we have talked about for many times is the lack of communication. We have told you how the refs in Holland can do it. They have the choice to come to the cameras after a match and discuss their decisions. And admit when they were wrong. And I have said it before nobody likes doing this so they will do all they can to not having to come to explain their decisions. And of course if they made the correct difficult call, then they can get the praise they deserve. It should work both ways!
Still mistakes will be made but as no person likes to admit openly how wrong they were they will do all they can to avoid it. And if they were wrong they can apology for their mistakes to the players and supporters of those teams. A humbling experience.  Which probably wouldn’t be bad for some referees who have a big image of themselves. Because nobody likes to have egg on their face. Referees are that way forced to make the right decisions and not the decisions based on their preferences.
And this is where our ways slightly part.  Hackett thinks that bringing in foreign referees might be an answer. I think it will not completely make the problem disappear unless you make sure that there is more transparency and that refs need to be forced to talk about their errors in the open in front of the cameras.
I wouldn’t mind getting in foreign referees but it is only part of the solution. Those of us working with Untold think that bringing in video refereeing (as has been tested in Holland) will make the biggest step forward.
Hackett doesn’t seem to go that way. Yet.
Because, as usual, Untold Arsenal is ahead of the game.  Usually the gang follows in our footsteps a few years later. Let Untold take the flack and the abuse  seems to be the thinking and once the idea is not that silly, as it maybe seemed at first sight, we will take it over and pretend that it is us who came up with that.
Mind you not that I want to say that we invented fire and hot water on our own but at least we always have been actively looking at other sports and to see if they have found something that worked.
In fact this is the final conclusion. People always try and laugh at our ideas, call us names and offer abuse, trying to discredit us with one-liners.
But it is when these one liners are thrown our way without any serious counter-explanation or alternative approach, we know we are on the right lines.  Naturally we don’t publish the abuse but we do use it as a guide.  Generally speaking correspondents only resort to mindless abuse when we have hit the nail on the head.
Standing on the front row is not always easy. But we do it and we will continue to fight for what we think is a just cause.
But now after years of hard work we suddenly see that the former head of the PGMOL comes out and in fact supports most of what we have been saying for years. So I admit I feel a bit vindicated by the words of Keith Hackett.  If he confirms what we have been saying all those years it sure feels good.
And the final answer to the title of this series: does Keith Hackett reads Untold? Who knows my dear readers. Who knows….? But even if he doesn’t read Untold himself…I’m rather sure he does know about us.  Maybe a little bird told him about us. And I am grateful for that little bird.
There are details of today’s anniversaries and recent stories on the home page.

26 Replies to “Does Keith Hackett read Untold? How many refs, refs and Wenger, the after-match…”

  1. Video referees are the solution. American football has challenges and then video corroboration and works very well. This would be a SOLUTION!

  2. sounds pretty damning of the whole of Mike Rileys regime.
    Glad Mr Hackett was as unimpressed by Atkinson as the rest of us, have a feeling this ex ref is not saying as much as he could, or may want to.
    Foreign refs….maybe, but for Arsenal, they seem just as bad

  3. Picking up your point Mandy, I wonder if Hackett is less than impressed with Riley’s performance in general and the sad and incompetent state the PGMOL has sunk into in the years following Riley’s appointment.

    But, it s good to see many of the points highlighted by Untold over the past few years are now getting some independent support.

  4. I notice a big silence from some quarters. The deluded weren’t that deluded after all…

  5. @Walter
    October 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Maybe that those who accuse some of us as being delusional etc.. should take a look in the mirror 🙂

  6. @Walter
    In respect of:
    Because, as usual, Untold Arsenal is ahead of the game. Usually the gang follows in our footsteps a few years later. Let Untold take the flack and the abuse seems to be the thinking and once the idea is not that silly, as it maybe seemed at first sight, we will take it over and pretend that it is us who came up with that.”

    Machiavelli knew what Untold goes through…

    “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”
    ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

  7. “video refereeing (as has been tested in Holland) will make the biggest step forward.”
    Would you give us all a link if possible to an account of this testing in Holland? Even in Dutch it would be well worth the read and the knowledge, going forward.

  8. Bob,
    I will look it up.
    There is an article on Untold from a few weeks/months back and I had the link to a video in Dutch and also a translated version in English in the article.

  9. According to the “Mirror” that was a pilot testing in Holland, and UK, US and Germany are very interested, and pleased at the results. The next step is to test in U21 games, and if successful then to PL.

    Anyway it’s a start, but i fear until the refs ALL have to follow the rules to the letter with NO self interpretation, there will still not be any fairness.

    Once all the players realise that the rules are being followed to the letter, they will adapt their game accordingly and we will have more skilled and fair football matches.

  10. Walter
    What hurts your cause with the ref reviews inmy opinion is making statements like; ‘ Arsenal were never in for Suarez and it was just a phantom transfer’ ( Tony), or ‘ Suarez uses his biting other players to facilitate a move to another club’ ( Walter), as well as some others.

    Now ,you might say one has absolutely nothing to do with the other and your ref reviews are a stand alone , factual piece of work based on interpreting the rules of the game, while others are just opinions every football fan is entitled to( even , or perhaps more so a blog founder), but I would argue that making such outlandish statements damages your credibility a bit.

  11. Look, it is about one thing and one thing only. Accountability. In all our jobs we have to be accountable but the referees seem to have their own set of rules.

    Atkinson was an absolute joke in the Chelsea game. Everybody in football knows the Cahill tackle was reckless and dangerous and a clear sending off. That tackle was what they are trying to eradicate. Good job Sanchez didn’t get to the ball a split second sooner. No wonder Wenger was so angry, he has had to suffer his players getting their legs smashed by these types of tackles, Eduardo, Ramsey and Diaby. No coincidence all the assailants were ‘English’. The whole of football is a joke.

    There is no excuse for getting that decision wrong. Not only that, the tackle was right in front of the dugout AND the 4th official. Both he and Atkinson should be punished, fined and given a rest. Wenger and Arsenal should get an apology.

    Something needs to be done because these type of things are not understandable mistakes, they are huge errors where the referee has decided to ignore the rules/laws of the game for his own reasons.

  12. Walter,
    I’m outlandish enough in answer to Tom that there are correlations to be made between bytes and redirects in communications and it is hardly unthinkable that correlations might even apply to the Suarez redirections.

    That said, thanks for the great links. It’s a promising development that at least this is being tried in actual places and is on the radar of serious leagues watching. That said, its being on those radars will also have alerted other serious players who will be most loathe to see that baby born. Perhaps its embryonic progress could be a rallying cry hereabouts as more news of more trials and tribulations cross your radar. Here’s a hardy well-done for your continuing outrageous informed speculations.

  13. Hello Paula.
    Video refs are fine but I would run the replay on the big screen for all the fans to see. Not just some little monitor only for the 4th official. We need transparency as well as accountability. This lot are a law unto themselves and when mistakes are made they aren’t interested. Referees are only human and they make mistakes, of course, but my issue is when they see an incident as clear as the rest of us but choose to apply different laws depending on who the team is and where the game is played. We all know that had Koscielny made that Cahill tackle he would have walked.

  14. “No wonder Wenger was so angry, he has had to suffer his players getting their legs smashed by these types of tackles, Eduardo, Ramsey and Diaby. No coincidence all the assailants were ‘English’. The whole of football is a joke.”
    Yes, and the new wannabee honorary Englishman stepped into AW’s path from A to B in order to provide treacherous cover (in a red herring of a dispute) for his Englishman’s treacherous assault for the PGMOL’s disgrace of “rules-keeper” who abetted the near crime. Jose will do anything to ensure winning; and dangerous, career-threatening intimidations like this one, hiding behind his self-appointed Bad Boy persona were broadly exposed by this incident. (Youth wants to know: Is there perhaps a darker reason that AW – who is regularly fined/suspended for throwing water bottles – was let off (with a bow to Lord Sir Fergie) Scott-free on this one with no further enquiry?

  15. proudkev,
    I should have attributed my above lead quotation to you, sorry. I couldn’t agree more with your last two postings. Really well said!

  16. How many of you wish that Wenger would het the boys off the piycj when they are getting kicked from piller to post and then tell the Sky team to ask the ref why?

  17. @bob,

    You say, “Youth wants to know: Is there perhaps a darker reason that AW – who is regularly fined/suspended for throwing water bottles – was let off (with a bow to Lord Sir Fergie) Scott-free on this one with no further enquiry?”

    I’ll take a wild guess and say, “For the same reason Welbeck wasn’t sent off.” There are still some lines that they won’t cross.

  18. Whether he likes it or not, Hackett has provided yet another small nail in the coffin of incompetent/biased refereeing.
    Videoassistance is a step closer.

  19. Field Hockey is the closest sport to association football. I can write that previous sentance because alongside all the obvious similaritites it was to field hockey that some of the dutch coaches of the sixties say they looked to for some inspiration, and those coaches changed the Game.

    In 2012 here in London I saw at the Olympics international field hockey teams allowed to refer challenges to the umpire, and the convesation between the fourth offical and the referee was broadcast to the viewer at home! And, here’s the thing, these referees were very good. Hardly any replayed calls went against their judgment (all ambigious calls as in all sports always go with the on field offcials judgement).
    Let’s be honest, it’s quite hard to see what happens during a game of hockey, the ball is a lot smaller, you have to worry about what the players are doing with the sticks, the game moves faster (one reasin the dutch ciaches got so excited, I guess) and is harder to see then during a football game. Perhaps one reason football evolved into the more popular sport is becasue it is easier for people to watch and see the skill? I have no idea! Some International Field Hockey games are avialble to watch in full on youtube for the curious. Thanks to Untold 🙂 I learnt that the Dutch FA are happy to push for the use of video replay. Given the popularity and success of field hockey in the lowlands I will not be surprised to see the Dutch FA adopt the field hockey system before anyone else.

    All in all these officals in international hockey tournaments are good, as far as my untutored eye can tell (that’s not very far!), so good that they don’t mind being miked up so everyone can hear them and listen to them discuss their calls with their colleagues.

    Just, an observation.

    “In field hockey, the International Hockey Federation allows the match umpire to request the opinion of a video umpire as to whether or not a goal has been validly scored, and whether there was a violation in the build-up to a goal. The video umpire can advise on whether the ball crossed the line there was a violation. “team referral” are allowed by each team captain, to query a goal, penalty stroke, or penalty corner decision. The team retains the right to a
    referral if its previous referrals were upheld”

    Any discussion on neutral referees is a distraction or obfuscation.

  20. El Gringo,
    What I was hinting at is that they didn’t throw the book at AW (their usual custom) because they MAY not have wanted to open up the Cahill incident to deeper inspection, and thereby shed greater light and attention on to the attack, Atkinson’s negligence (willful or not)and any further speculations it might stir up about what may have gone on in that wicked encounter.
    (Sorry to be dense here, but what’s your meaning in your Welbeck analogy? – honest question.)

  21. Keith Hackett suggests foreign referees.

    It is interesting that twice recently Arsene Wenger referred with a critical implication to ‘English referees’.

    Is there some behind the scenes discussion between some people going on?

  22. The EPL needs more refs – maybe they need to see if they can find any in that foreign land called LONDON! It is disgraceful that there are not refs of color in the EPL. How can this be then there are millions of brown skinned people in the UK. Why are the watchdog groups regarding racism in football not ‘screaming’ about this?

    I would like to see two refs on the pitch. Basketball had two and now has three and they work a much smaller area. Two refs, two linesman would give more eyes and angles to get the calls correct. They would be able to catch more stuff that is happening off the ball too! Video could help at the highest levels of the game but two refs could be employed at all levels fairly easily. Two refs could position themselves so as to not get entangled in play as sometimes happens now because they are in the middle of the pitch.

    One of the things that I noted in reading the ref reviews that decisions where more eyes are involved move toward a higher percentage of correct decisions.

  23. Back from another week of renovating. Trying to get caught up on Friday night, I was afraid Arsenal was the early game. But, I should have 6 hours sleep tonight.

    A long time ago, I had suggested in another forum that all nations should try to set up “teams” of officials, that could then be forwarded to other associations. I believe much later, I mentioned it on Untold.

    Officials have “day jobs” in large part, and the idea of spending 2/3 of a year away from where one calls home would not be possible for many officials.

    But, it might be possible for some nations to arrange a “team” of officials (referee, assistant referees on the lines, possibly others). I do not think that having a “fourth official” is terribly necessary, but in the event of an injury I suppose the 4th official might be more important. Something to think about.

    What I think would need to be done in such a scenario, is that “part” of each “team” is a referee accessor. But, an additional requirement is that the home association also has to provide a referee accessor to each match the “external team” does. The accessors reports are as usual submitted to the “home” associations (two different ones), but they also get submitted to FIFA (especially if Blatter resigns), and hopefully there is some analysis and publication comparing games and accessors reports.

    In much of the industrialized world, I can see there being problems assembling teams, but this might be accomodated by allowing lists of countries where the officials “day job” also has operations. In much of the less industrialised world, I would think this would be much less of a problem. If nothing else, it might be a means to raise the standard of officiating world-wide.

    Personally, I think at the top level, all officials should be “miked”, and that eventually full transcripts are published. And I think in the circumstance of this note, both accessors reports be available in full after some interval. I don’t think there is a need for shrouding reports, but people like Mike Riley 😈 might disagree.

  24. bob,

    I just meant that, after Cahill’s challenge, it would have been really hard to send off Welbeck and maintain even a semblance of impartiality, since pundits would have been forced to distinguish between the two and justify a Chelsea player staying on and an Arsenal player going off. The facts would have been too hard even for blind people to swallow. So Welbeck stays on, and the media don’t have to ask awkward questions.

    The same would have been true had they thrown the book at Wenger. That’s when all the questions you mentioned would have surfaced, and the manufactured justifications would be even flimsier than ordinary.

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