We all live in a PGMO dreamland…more strange numbers

By Walter Broeckx

When I got my hands on the end of season 2011-2012  report from the PGMO (the secret organisation that runs the referees in the PL) I compared this with the numbers we gathered over the same season. I talked about this in a first article that you can find here and then in another article I highlighted some more strange numbers.

Now in this article I want to have a look at the overall performance of referees.

We will first have a look at what the PGMO has said and to do that I quote:

“The 20th season of the Premier League saw the most exciting finale since its inception. The fact that the title wasn’t decided until literally the last minute of the season said it all. This report attempts to reflect that season and what actually happened as opposed to what was often reported in the media.
You will see that there were even fewer fouls per game compared to other leagues across Europe and this determination to let the game flow is a tribute to the players and officials. Looking back over previous reports it is interesting to note that there are similar concerns season on season – holding at corners, interpretation of handball and time wasting.”

A first comment from me is that it seems that the PGMO has a dig at the media. I somehow find this very funny.

A second one is that the concern ‘to let the game flow’ is not what the PGMO should have as a concern. The main concern of any referee is to make sure that the laws of the game are respected by both teams. That should be the focus of any referee and of any PGMO.  And if the “game will flow” or not is only a result. And a flowing game can only happen…if both teams respect the laws of the game.

If both teams play it to the laws of the game there will be few fouls. As they will try to play the ball and not the man. But in their eager to let the game flow we got the situation where referees didn’t blow the whistle despite obvious fouls. In order for the holy cow called: “let the game flow”.  This is putting the carriage in front of the horses.

Let us move on to the numbers as this is how the PGMO said how the officials performed in the season 2011-2012.

First of all a reminder on how they put the performances in certain categories:

60-69,99% KEY ERRORS

So how did match officials perform through the season according to the PGMO?




Yes, this is it according to the PGMO.

A first remark from my part is… where are the STANDARD PERFORMANCES? I don’t see it being marked. So do we have to believe that no referee had a standard performance in the PL in a whole season? Sorry, I can’t believe this. This is complete and utter rubbish.

And to add insult to our mental capacity they even have the nerve to say that there have been NO POOR PERFORMANCES in the whole season 2011-2012.

As I can’t find the category in their report and as the total is 100% of their numbers that is the only conclusion I can come too.

There have been no poor performances in the whole season 2011-2012 in the PL. That is the truth according to the PGMO. Do you find this believable?  In my mother language we have an idiom for this: with all the Chinese people, but not with me. Saying you can try to tell this to a lot of people but I will not believe it. I can’t. Because it is impossible. And the funny thing is that on the same page they in fact show why this is impossible.

Again I quote from the PGMO report:  “Another young referee, Stuart Attwell, was moved mid-season to continue his career in the Football League. He has not made the necessary progress expected but is still young enough to return if his performances merit it.”

So the PGMO tells us there have been no poor performances in a whole season and yet they have send one of their referees back to the lower leagues. But if there have been no poor performances….then why do you have to send someone back down the leagues again? If they would have said there have been a few poor performances then you could have thought: oh well this will have been Stuart Attwell matches and so he was send down. But no! These poor performances haven’t happened in the PGMO dream land.

Because all performances were good and even better. Ok, they have admitted a few key errors (43 in total remember from our previous articles. But even those few key errors were not that many. Only in 34 matches is what they are saying that we had key error performances from referees. In only 34 of the 380 matches.

So what are you all moaning about. Mike Riley does a great job and so say all of us. All of us being the PGMO themselves of course. It is a bit as if Fifa would investigate the allegations about corruption for giving the world cup to Russia and Qatar. And then from that own report they would come to the conclusion that all was well and no corruption took place.  Oh wait a minute….that is exactly what they did. And that is exactly what the PGMO report sounds to me.

In the next article we will compare the numbers of the PGMO on overall performances with the numbers from our own Untold reviews. And I think this will show some more strange numbers.

15 Replies to “We all live in a PGMO dreamland…more strange numbers”

  1. The ‘flow’ and ‘fewer fouls’ comments do suggest they feel they are the ringmasters or ‘the compere’ at a circus or a variety show and it’s their job to make it entertaining…..

    Does Fifa/uefa have a definition for the job of a ref? If they do then I doubt it’s anything like this.

  2. For what its worth, The FIFA website has a lot of information including the Laws and the notes to referees (advice & examples of how to officiate). I have not read the recent versions as they bear no resemblance to PGMO officiating. Roulette has a better resemblance – maybe the Russian version!!

  3. What I find interesting is 83% and up is considered Top Class. Thats a B/B- in many of the class rooms I’ve been in. Top Class Should be at least 90% if not higher.

  4. Walter, I don’t know why you are struggling with the report you have received. It is quite clear to me that 60% is awarded for turning up at the right ground and with the right kit. Further the 43 key decisions wrong in 34 games can only be describing penalties and other decisions given in Arsenal’s favour. There you are mystery solved.

  5. @Walter – forgive me for not going through every comment that has been made so far but do refs have the same definition of a ‘error’ as we do? For instance we say that not giving a penalty when the replays show that they should have done is an error. They say that errors relating to penalties are only those when one is awarded when it should not have been (e.g. it was a dive or it was outside the area). Is that right?
    In order to judge they must use replays but they don’t look at decisions not to award a penalty – if they did then their error rate would presumably go up.
    This seems to be supported by the policy of only retrospectively punishing a player for stamping if the ref didn’t see it or didn’t see it as a foul at the time and took no action. Violence, quite rightly, never stops being wrong and punishable. But, if this analysis is right, non-violent cheating is, if missed at the time, not seen as being the refs fault.
    Without the benefit of replays (prompted perhaps by appeals) we can’t blame refs for being human. Incompetance or dishonesty however are different things entirely.

  6. On a side-note Someone asked what Howard Webb is doing at PGMO. I don’t know that, but he is doing the ‘after dinner speaker’ bit. I’m told he was at the ‘corporation of Lloyds’ Lloyds FC annual dinner on Friday.

  7. I think the move over to the emphasis on keeping the game flowing is probably the most profound move that could be made. As you say Walter, they have moved away from the laws of the game to the flow.

    I imagine this is an arbitrary decision on England, and not reflected elsewhere in Uefa.

    This in turn explains English clubs’ difficulty in Europe, the whole approach to refereeing the game is now different here.

    Thanks for finding that comment – it really is a fundamental change in how the game runs, and puts the Premier League out of step with the rest of the world I suspect

  8. Having read all three of Walter’s articles, I stick to what I said before.

    Riley sits in his office and makes the figures up. Where else can they come from?

    But this about keeping the game flowing, not adhering to the laws of the game, is a very dangerous step. It means all objective standards on which to judge referees have been removed. I’m glad Walter has published this PGMOL report and I hope some other people have read it. This has serious consequences for the whole premier league.

  9. Tony/Walter – the laws are the same everywhere – and with all the FIFA guidance (hopefully more credible in this respect than others!) there should be very little room for discretion.

    But this goes back to the predominance in England of the “northern interpretation” around “game management” as opposed to the southern (and most other places in the world) “technical refereeing” (i.e. applying the laws). And, of course, we only have one Southern referee in PGMO.

  10. Insideright,
    In he penalty decisions the PGMO names both penalties wrongly given and penalties missed.
    So they pretend to have looked at both decisions. LOL, which makes their numbers even more unbelievable.

  11. Unbelievably brilliant article.

    I just do not know what to say, apart from……..bloody hell!!!!!

  12. Somewhat off topic, but……….

    has anyone else noticed the ‘new’ cheating foul as seen by Hazard against Chambers, and again in the England game when Rooney ‘won’ his penalty.

    It appears that when an attacker is running with the ball, and the defender is running alongside(no tackle or contact involved), the attacker intentionally steps across the defender’s line causing contact thus leaving the defender no time to avoid it, both players to ending up on the ground.

    I am convinced this is part of the Chelsea coaching mantra; and they are not alone.
    Decision is ALWAYS a free kick (penatly) to the attacker.

  13. bob mac,
    indeed I have seen it also. Hazard did the same trick against Iceland this week. As the TV was on and I was watching with one eye and writing an article with the other I saw him running with the ball and I knew that he would stick out his own leg to make contact even before it happened. And within a second he was down on the floor and the replay clearly showing how he stuck out his leg to make contact the defender.
    It looks as if he (they) have been practising this….

    The problem is that for a ref this is very difficult to spot. So far in the last years I have only known one referee (in Belgium) who has identified this and called a foul against the attacker. A young and upcoming referee whom I had the pleasure of doing a match with. Hope he can make it to the top in Belgium as it sure takes balls and vision to spot it and to call it that way.

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