How we can show that refereeing in the Premier League has gone wrong

By Tony Attwood

Imagine just for a moment that you were invited by a country that is applying to be part of Uefa  to help them put their footballing on a sound basis.

You’d probably take the standard model of three or four organisations, one which ran the league, one (probably a trade union) which looked after players affairs, and a separate body to be in charge of refereeing.  You might encourage the clubs to set up their own representative body too.

The reason for this separation is simple – each body can represent its area of interest, and stop any one part of the football world becoming too dominant, and thus reduce the chance of corruption.  Through representatives of the three or four bodies issues can readily be discussed and resolved.

And indeed this is roughly what we have in England (although we have split the FA and the PL into two organisations for historic reasons), and it is like this many other countries.   Not necessarily this exact separation of responsibility and power, but something along these lines.

Now if we move forwards, and if you imagine that you were involved in setting up the referee body what would you want?  Here are what seem to be the most obvious logical rules

1.  Enough referees

Not just enough refs to cover all the weekend’s games, but also enough in case of injuries or illness, and indeed to be really sure of things, enough to ensure that no ref got to officiate any club more than twice in a season.  Just in case there was any allegation of bias.

2.  Referees from a wide geographic and cultural spread

Also if your country had a linguistic, cultural or religious division, or indeed regional rivalries you would want to have a coverage from each sector of society.  Not everyone from the north of England or the French speaking part of Belgium or the Protestant community in Scotland

3.  An open culture

There is no particular reason why the referee association should be secret, and in democratic societies there is always a drive towards openness.  Openness in government, in the courts, of businesses, of political decision making – these are the things that democracies aspire to.

Of course our society often fails to reach these lofty ideals, but the history of western democracies is of a continual pushing back of secrecy.  And there is no obvious reason why referees should be the one monopoly provider of services that should be deliberately secret.

So you might imagine that referee reports on all matches should be made public, as should the review of the referee’s performance by the referees’ organisation (let’s call it The R.O.) so that we can all see how good or bad each ref is.   After all everyone from teachers to hospital managemers are openly assessed and the assessments made public in England, so why are refs different?

And one could introduce an open channel of communication from the public the R.O. and from the R.O to the public, so we all know what is going on.  That is in keeping with democracy, an open society, and the huge interest that there is in football.

4.  An open complaints procedure

Organisations need to be held accountable – in Britain we are struggling to find regulations to keep our press free but not able to destroy people’s lives or hack their phones, for example.  We have struggled to control our wildly criminal bankers but we are trying. Nothing is perfect, but at least our society is making an effort.

So with referees there should be a proper complaints procedure – not just to appeal against a yellow card, but to be able formally to question a referee’s competence.  Of course we need processes to stop trivial complaints and those not backed with evidence – perhaps with the complainant having to pay costs, as in the courts if the complaint is trivial.

Complaints then could be brought by clubs, and indeed by members of the public, and the R.O would have to answer them, and show due process and proper evidence of hearings held in public.

5.  A look at where it has gone wrong before

While drawing up these laws and regulations you would probably want to look at cases of where refereeing has gone wrong – for example places where games have been fixed for the purpose of betting, and of course with Italy’s corruption in which clubs got referees to be just that little bit in favour of some teams and against others.  Match after match after match.

You would note also that this spread to the bribing of TV production companies not to show certain incidents, and so you would want to put in place procedures to ensure this did not happen.   Procedures like openness, appeals, multiple refs etc – indeed you would check that all your procedures could stop a repeat of the Italian situation – even if you had no evidence of anything being amiss in your own country.

6.  Liaison with TV

Given that TV brings in a huge amount of money, and thus has a huge amount of power the question might be asked about TV’s responsibilities, and whether TV is influencing referees through what it shows and doesn’t show.   So discussions between TV and the R.O would be helpful with all the details published.

In particular the R.O should ensure that there is nothing that it does (such as offering ex-refs huge sums NOT to appear on TV) which could be deemed to be restrictive in terms of public knowledge about refereeing.

7.  Education.

It is clear that in all societies most supporters don’t actually know all the rules of football, and indeed most commentators on radio and TV and in the press, don’t seem to know the rules about such issues as “intent” and “he got the ball” etc.  So a very open and very public debate on the laws of football and how referees interpret them would be very helpful indeed, with current referees taking part.

8.  Modern technology

Given that digital technology is here and is used all the time, you would probably want the R.O to be at the forefront of this issue, demanding the availability of instant replays from an off-field ref who can determine what’s what at a second’s notice.  There might need to be refinements to ensure that the game does not stop more than it does now, but this should certainly be a major and urgent consideration.

9.  Open forums

These are complex and difficult matters to get right and there will always be debate, so you will want mechanisms through which the R.O and the public – as well as the media and the clubs, can engage in a proper and professional manner with the referees.  Of course people who just come along with no evidence, or the evidence of one decision and then say “he’s bent” or “he’s not bent” should not be taken seriously, and wild accusations should be subject to the normal law of the land.   But the essence of all this should be openness.

10.  Open tribunals

Of course players will be sent off and others will have their careers ended by tackles launched by the criminally insane among the playing fraternity.  So there will need to be enquiries, and like the courts of the land these should be open to the public and the media.

In England all courts are open to the public except for cases in the Family Division of the High Court (on the grounds that issues relating to children in particular should not be available to the public gaze).   Why the activities of the referees and their enquiries into incidents within a football match should also be protected from the public gaze is something I just can’t answer.

So there are ten starting points that you might want to consider.  You might not want all of them, you might want something different, but they all follow the essence of the way democracies in western Europe are heading – towards more openness.

This is not to say that in the UK, where we have a daily increase in surveillance of members of the public through cameras on every street and the reading of emails by GCHQ, we are anywhere near getting matters right.  But the secrecy of PGMO is fanatical even by the 19th century standards of openness of debate that exist within the rest of the country.

Indeed by writing this out in this way we can see that what PGMO does is the opposite of all of this.  They don’t just fall down on one or two points, they fall down on it all.  They are the ultimate secret society – so secret even the Masonic Lodges would blanche, and so in contemplating this odd situation we might ask three questions

a) why is the PGMO like this?

b) why do the clubs allow it?

c) why does the media not challenge PGMO’s secrecy?  Indeed worse, what is the Telegraph doing republishing their occasional press releases without critical comment?

To my mind, the failure of PGMO on all of the above points is enough to show that there is something very seriously wrong with Premier League refereeing.   If there wasn’t, why on earth would they need all this secrecy and this tiny number of referees?   If they differed from the ten issues above on one or two points that could be a matter of opinion and debate, but all ten?   PGMO is utterly out of step with the attributes of a democratic society.

What is the benefit of creating a secret society to run refereeing?  And who benefits?

These are the questions the media should be asking, and the fact that they don’t raises issues about their involvement in the whole affair, as much as we need to raise the issues of just how the monster that is PGMO has created this situation.

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67 Replies to “How we can show that refereeing in the Premier League has gone wrong”

  1. Good stuff.

    Having handled the defeat better than almost any other in years- think it was partly relief at the players coming away unscathed, partly because the amount of poor football from us meant that, initially at least, I was able to take that on the chin for what it is- I then see what for me is a minor achievement (not letting my weekend be ruined) toppled over like so much rubbish on a table thanks to the nonsense after the game.

    Having lost my mood and ended up spending the entire day yesterday ruminating unhappily about Arsenal things, I ended up spending as much time thinking about the refereeing as the fan situation.

    The player’s have been put into a situation that is nothing short of diabolical. The conditions are pretty much the exact opposite of what any player would want or which would allow them to play the game freely. Imagine knowing that on any given day a ref could well let the opposition kick you to the extent United did that day long ago (a long time ago, but the man responsible now runs the show), while you meanwhile can be booked- twice- for doing as little as Chambers did.

    It’s the nightmare scenario for a player/Manager. You get insufficient protection, which ,given how much that increases your chance of injuries, is the worst thing for a footballer, but you are also effectively shut down in what is the natural response to this- meeting fire with fire.

    Sad to say it, but the only thing that would keep a smart footballer with good options with us is a very strong sense of loyalty, because unquestionably life must be so much easier and fairer for them when they leave and, most of the time, are refereed fairly normally.

    Only a superb team would have a chance of overcoming this, which makes it a shame that the fan situation seems fairly likely to bring Wenger down, as he gives us the best chance of putting together such a team. I don’t quite see Allardyce, Pardew, Moyes, Owen Coyle ,or any of the others put forward in seriousness by people at one time as being able to lure Sanchez-grade players.

    It would probably take at least another couple of windows to get there- think signings in or around Alexis,Ozil calibre only defensive ones this time (and I presume the reason he held off from bringing in the extra body we need in defence was because he sees only top notch signings as being capable of elevating us where we need to go, and settling for someone would have jeopardised the chance of making that happen)

    Imagine it again,though, a player can repeatedly kick an opponent hard with no intention to play the ball, and not be booked; and a player can grapple momentarily with an awkward opponent who has been fouling all game and who also happens to be grabbing right back, and be booked. It’s inconceivable that that can happen without something being stinkingly rotten in referee Denmark.

    In Wenger had access to a time machine, he’d be more than entitled to set the dials for the Summer of 2005 and an unsentimental ‘adieu’

  2. Oh yeah, and anyone who wants a little more anger- think also how many fouls Milner and Oscar were allowed before finally getting booked against us. They each must have had a good five fouls equal of greater than Chambers first before getting booked. An incredible advantage for them; a stinking injustice for us.

  3. I don’t know how.. the only thing i can say for certain is that the referees hate arsenal and do everything they can to make sure we don’t win.

    We would be top of the league if it weren’t for them cheating.

    They must have meetings about Arsenal every week

  4. I was sat at Wembley alongside the rest of the Arsenal sipport and right in front of us we saw The Arsenal win a cup final in which they were denied three/four nailed on pelanties (not marginal calls!). A game broadcast in blighty and around the world, I’ve heard the plunditry was interestingly air brushed. In spite of those “errors” from the officials and the broadcaster The Arsenal won the cup.

    Ever get the impression the PGMO and some shrill others were upset by that result?

  5. Tony, I agree with the points you have raised, but i think we have reached the stage when the question we need to ask is: –

    “How do we outmaneuver the apparent cartel consisting of the PGMO, media and possibly a third entity that has remained well behind the scenes.”

    I suggest this because for a considerable time UA through many many reviews has already “shown” that refereeing has gone wrong – wrong to such an extent that it would be difficult to excuse it on grounds of incompetence alone.

    How to proceed? We can try to get the club to make representations to the FA. Some of us have emailed the club & suggested this – but without apparent result. We could try to embarrass the PGMO through ensuring ref errors go viral. Alternatively, we could go to the ultimate authority – the UK Minister of Sport. After all an election is due & at such times politicians become less audibly challenged.

  6. The PGMOL need someone independant to go in and sort them, unfortunately that would harm too many vested interests. as has been pointed out by many on here, no matter how odious FIFA are, English football is not in such a way it can really have a go at FIFA. Those in glass houses.. It is a shame, Scudamore, who will have a direct influence on the refs seems to run football like Ecclestone ran F1…comercially very successful of course….but…

    “It would probably take at least another couple of windows to get there- think signings in or around Alexis,Ozil calibre only defensive ones this time (and I presume the reason he held off from bringing in the extra body we need in defence was because he sees only top notch signings as being capable of elevating us where we need to go, and settling for someone would have jeopardised the chance of making that happen)”

    Spot on Rich. The days of not being able to afford signings, and then the days of panic signings to make up numbers are over.
    Seem to remember Walter being told by someone at the club that they would no longer make signings that would burden the club.
    As fans, it can be frustrating, but we have to be patient, something in short supply at the moment.
    Just a shame we have to put up with these refs most games

  7. bjtgooner.

    I admire your optimism that there could be a way to tackle this, but don’t share it.

    For me football falls into something of a sweet spot, or the opposite of a sweet spot, in that an inordinate amount of people care about it and yet, though powerful interests are involved, it will never attract the interest of those rare individuals- journalists for the most part, but also occasionally whistle-blowers- who uncover corruption or malfeasance which might as well be the result of corruption.

    It just won’t happen,. Look at the unbelievable liberties Fifa are able to take. The world sport, worth billions and billions, cared about passionately by maybe a fifth of the planet, copious evidence something is surely incredibly wrong with them, but they cannot be taken down because the only organisations big enough to do so would be a national governements or one of its agencies, and though they are surely corrupt and some of these governments and agencies at least grumble about it, Fifa do not quite do enough to bring those governments/agencies after them.

    Presumably, as those governments agencies have pressing concerns like wars, terrorism, the world economy,etc, only bodies could justify them committing to taking on FIFA once and for all. The world’s best investigative journalist ,meanwhile, are also concerned with issues of national and world justice, and no matter how much we care and think about football, there will always be-without bodies- things which take precedence for those journalists.

    And that’s FIFA, who are almost certainly outright corrupt. Or nemesis meanwhile may well not be quite as bad as that, and there’s just no way those top journalists nor our government will have any interest in investigating unless something cast-iron solid arrives with a guarantee something is dreadfully amiss which needs further investigation. The only realistic chance of that is through some other inquiry, such as the phone-hacking one, which I must admit I was disappointed didn’t happen to mention any referees.

    We know they went after players, we know they went after the players representative Gordon Taylor (and settled for a mill with him in an attempt to shut the thing down; he took silencing money, the rat) so, given it was easy enough that any old person could do it once they knew the trick and given they did it to untold- ha- thousands of people, I’d be amazed if that didn’t included managers and,yep, referees.

    And remember this is Newscorp, and the horrifically shady private investigators they use, who own the Sun, who own Sky, who we all suspect have their favourite teams…

    Ah, but I heard no mention of it in the hacking stuff, so in that negative sweetspot football and any of its shadiness will stay

  8. I once mentioned on this site about going on EA’s Facebook to express my dissatisfaction that they sponsored the PMGOL referees. I’m told top selling FIFA 14 game has virtual referees and officials carrying the EA Sports brand as they do in the real game. With the state of world football and dismal refereeing standards on the whole (Spanish league anyone?) the virtual game would be damaged if real referees impartiality was called into question. But I have no idea if sponsors are that worried. Hell, EA might include a sub-algorithm with Arsenal players getting brutally tackled and then having a card waved in their face for feigning injury as they were trundled off on a stretcher. That would be so funny if it weren’t so close to what is happening now.

  9. @ Rich

    ” . . . which makes it a shame that the fan situation seems fairly likely to bring Wenger down . . .”

    I don’t think there’s any likelihood of that. Wenger steers his own course.

  10. Mandy Dodd

    Good post as usual (and not just because you agreed with me!), unlike you ,though, I can’t be calm (are you calm? you sound relatively calm) about that process of getting back to the top, one window at a time.

    The support issues pose a serious threat to the chances of it- soaring under Wenger (hallelujah, nothing in football for the rest of my life could make me happier)- coming to pass. Things seem to deteriorate badly with each bad result and we still have quite a few bad results in us unless we can get most fit soon/ perhaps make a crucial signing in Jan.

    Hairy stuff.

  11. @Michael Staley.

    Hope so. No exaggeration to say it’ll wound me for life if it doesn’t end well.

    Leaving ,having fallen short ,of ultimate success, in the next year or two, but having kept a high level of support and respect from vast majority of fans, would now appear to be off the table as a relatively happy ending; so only getting through this rocky period before a big leap and big success is left as an option. Fingers crossed

  12. @Rich

    I was not being especially optimistic, rather I was trying to make a few suggestions with the intention that others would perhaps make some better or more practical suggestions as to how we could help the club re ref bias – or how the club could move to help itself.

  13. bjtgooner

    Cool. Didn’t mean to sound dismissive or anything. It all does my head in to such a degree that logic would say I should leave football alone. But (a) what would I do without it, and (b) it would still be going on

    As for practical solutions, I’m completely stumped.

    One avenue I expect we all go over many times per year is the killer press conference. Sometimes, in my head, it’s a go for the throat and disembowel em job, other times it seems placing facts together (if you can call it a fact that,say, Milner was allowed five or six equivalent fouls to Chambers one, or that United were allowed to kick shit out of Reyes without a card, so how can that possibly tally with bookings for virtually nothing) with the utmost coolness would suffice

    Anyway, he has never done anything remotely like such a press conference. The only possible reason is surely a belief it will do more harm than good. So…stumped.

  14. Perhaps a banner of favorite refs detailing their intended actions, predicting their actions during our home games?

  15. People can call Untold bias, but after, the only thing we all want is fair and open refereeing, so that it is a level playing field for everyone.

    I also wonder why ex-players never bring up the matter of bias against the club. Not just retired players, but those still playing, like Cashley Cole, Clichy, etc. who know what it’s like at other PL clubs, and can compare the treatment they get. And also players like Welbeck and Sanchez, I wonder how they feel coming from clubs that may have been protected.

    Unfortunately I think the only thing that might work is boycotts, riots, etc., but as Rich says, football is probably not important enough in most peoples’ eyes for that sort of drastic action.

  16. Excellent article, the lack of any transparency with so many interested parties is stunning.

    Ask yourself this, if something rotten within the PGMOL was exposed who would suffer most financially? The answer is The Premier League, The FA, the clubs and the television companies that make money on their investment. It is saddening to admit to oneself, but even if evidence of any wrongdoing has been or ever will be secured by the club, the chances are it would not see the light of day in our lifetime. Too many interests and people with too much to lose- and it is in everyones best interests not to destroy or damage the product. AFC with a large wage bill and a long term mortgage debt to be serviced included. I think that at least partly answers the question asking why the clubs allow it.

    Its ironic that I think our only real hope in the near future is ‘a whistle blower’

  17. Another idea I’ve been thinking about is setting up an independent review board for refereeing, where retired refs *from foreign leagues* would review matches. I think it can go a long way to reducing bias if we had, say, a panel of two Spanish, two German, two French, an American, Brazilian, Ghanaian, Japanese refs (ten in total in this example) who would review all the PL games independently from the PGMO, and publish their findings publicly, and openly showing how they arrived at their results.

    Then again, we all want video technology to be used to reduce bad decisions, but that doesn’t seem very likely, so the idea of an independent foreign review panel seems very far off indeed.

  18. It’s good that some of our fellow gooners are fighting the good fight.Knocking some sense into those AAA knucke heads.

  19. Look around the world and you’ll find that the biggest club in the biggest city usually dominates. If that is seen to be Arsenal (and the combination of Wenger plus The Emirates pretty much makes it so) then there has to be a fear that Arsenal, given fair treatment by refs, would become too strong.
    Counterbalancing that, the increasing American ownership of the EPL has, in my view, to lead to an increasing ‘Americanisation’ of how refs are judged and aided by replay technology.
    Stan Kroenke is the one that has sunk so much of his money in the Club and it may well be that, via him and his fellow overseas owners, things have the best chance of being changed.
    Lastly let’s not entertain any thoughts of lowering ourselves to the level of others and fighting fire with fire. If anything is going to be achieved on the pitch we have, as a club, to adopt the same standpoint as we have off the pitch in order to get FFP as far as it has come.
    We will not make progress on anything major if we desert the moral highground. But cages have to be continuingly rattled.

  20. bjtgooner

    How do we outdo PGMO?

    In a very real sense my little piece above is a manifesto – a set of measures that any reasonable organisation of football would put in place.

    This is the start, the establishment of ground rules

  21. I’ve said it before but I firmly believe the Referees are carrying out pre-ordained orders. As much as I dislike the Taylor’s and Dean’s of this footballing world, they themselves are doing a duty of service from those above.

    Arsenal are not simply fighting one group, it’s not us against the PGMO, it’s something far bigger at work here.

  22. Since the game on Saturday, I have been telling everybody who will listen that “it’s just wrong” the whole situation is just wrong. I penned a quick blog on the matter which was posted yesterday on the positively Arsenal site, I have argued long into the night on facebook and twitter about the state of the officiating at games. What do I get back from those who want Wenger out “excuses excuses” and from fans of other clubs “Arsenal fans always moaning”, this is getting bigger than just excuses for Arsenal dropping points.

    Games this season involving other clubs apart from Arsenal have been affected by rather dubious reffing decisions but because I can relate more to the Arsenal game I have pointed those incidents out more. How can officials run a game with different interpretations of the rules for different teams, how can the players know what they can and can not do, how can the manager send his team out to play not knowing what the ref thinks is a foul or not. How can the fans in the stand have a clue what is going on regarding late challenges, offsides or when is a penalty not a penalty.

    Something is crooked in the state of football, the media are too quiet on the matter, things are glossed over to quickly, trivial matters in a game are highlighted but challenges like Adams are overlooked. If I was a sport journalist I would be all over this especially with the information gathered on this excellent site, but no not a word from any of them, I can only assume they are compliant in the cover up of poor officiating at games within the PL.

    We now go to games expecting a poor game from the officials and their decisions, how can that be, how can we the fans be expected to be happy with that. Their actions to me seem to be that of trying to even up games or to ensure one team gets the result they need. The officials know that Arsenal don’t like it up em and so allow that to happen and so put Arsenal at a disadvantage from the off. I am like most not using the ref as a scapegoat for Saturdays performance but if the players are not sure of what they can and can not do how can they go in for challenges. If they see free kicks given away for Gibbs patting a player on the back what do the others then think, if the see Crouch able to use his elbows freely but Chambers sent of for hardly anything what are they to do.

    How does Wenger and how do the players set up for games, on facebook some were saying we need tough fighters in the team again but, as I pointed out if they were on the pitch on Saturday how long would they of lasted. The moaned that nobody went to help Sanchez, I bet if they did they would of been booked or sent of for their actions.

    As I have said before this happens in other games for other teams this action is not just an Arsenal problem and it is a problem that has been going on for a while now, football is going to hell in a hand cart if this is not addressed by the powers that be. We the fans will get disenchanted with the decision making and begin to turn off or not go.

  23. Off topic – sorry – FA Cup 3rd Round, we are home to Hull. First out of the “hat” strangely.

  24. What are the odds that Probert would be the ref (if he comes back from his injury/illness ?)

  25. Looks like Charlie Adam has got away with it. The club, and probably managers and players should have been all over this on the pitch and after the game publicising what happened. Time to start getting back in refs faces again. There is a respect campaign but some of them do not deserve respect.

  26. Tricky one Kenneth, we have Amy Lawrence, but not one to get involved in such issues unfortunately.
    Then there is John Cross, I have met him, he is a passionate Gooner, but when he goes into work, he tows the party line. Can only assume the media are in on all this for whatever reason.
    I have read the posts about why wenger cannot get involved public ally, and they are reasonable enough, but I think the likes of Ivan should be doing more than they appear. The health and safety of our players is at risk with some of these idiots officiating our games. What is this fear in exposing , or at least having a quiet word behind the scenes, this is Mike Riley, not the Sopranos.

  27. Maybe there is something behind Riley, and thats why the hacks are to frightened to investigate.The media are much more controlled than people realise.

  28. Maybe Kenneth, fergie was certainly one figure behind Riley, and he was scary to some…but not others. But world wide corruption seems to go unto the hands of illegal betting syndicates, and they will have some pretty unpleasant people on their payrolls. Also, it is possible some of the media could be party to any corruption, as with the situation in Italy,a,few years back, reason enough for the media silence, and that is exactly what it is.

  29. Tony, Untold was very slow to load on my laptop just now, not sure if it is my machine or if UA is coming under attack again.

    Mandy – someone certainly seems to be pulling Riley’s strings, or maybe he is happy to co-operate with a third party, or it could be he is a self motivator who really hates Arsenal. Either way someone seems to be influencing his minions to our detriment.

    My view is still that there are a number of parties with a common interest in seeing Arsenal hit the rocks – some for short term gain & some more long term.

  30. Guess there are a few pulling Riley’s strings, the EPL and FA enjoy a very cosy relationship with his favourite club. And beyond that, who knows, but To contradict myself earlier, if a tenth of what the likes of footballisfixed post is genuine, there will be some pretty scary people in the chain somewhere. Maybe I am being a bit harsh on the club for not taking this on with full force.

  31. So Fellaini first of all picks up the ball then, a few minutes later, leads with his forearm into the face of a Southampton player – and doesn’t even pick up a single yellow? How does that work compared with Chambers? Mind you, Mane was lucky to avoid a red for scything down he who must not be named!

  32. @ @Swales1968 December 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Good post and I agree with much of what you are saying, but how can you think that not having more tough/ leader types on the pitch would be of no benefit? Not having players who can ‘look after themselves’ and their teammates on the basis that they may be sent off makes no sense at all. Take a look at the number of red cards we got during the best years of AW’s era. It was no different back then, we just had the players to cope at the time because they were all leaders.

  33. @Pete,

    I watched that too and could not believe my eyes. Kevin Friend even called the foul for the deliberate handball on Fellaini giving a free kick to Southhampton, but no yellow card, then literally gets away with elbowing Mane in the closing minutes. Guess Friend was told to make sure they don’t lose any of their players for the match against Liverpool

  34. @Tony and Walter,

    Can you consider creating a formal petition for the government to hold PGMO accountability based on the data that has been compiled? I noticed they did have a grass roots petition with over 10,000 signatures that received a response.

    Fans of the premier league should unite and ensure that the matches are decided fairly on the pitch, not by inept/corrupt officials.

  35. Jerry.

    Another possible idea, would writing the Church of England help? The church tends to help grassroots things, and this has a grass roots part to it. And the church is in part responsible for what we call honour, ethics and morality. 🙂

    I live in Canada, asking my church (if I had one) wouldn’t help. But, if the head of the Church of England whispered in the ear of the Prime Minister, might something start?

  36. It’s astonishing, Mandy, that the photograph of Charlie Adam with the armlock around the head of Sanchez did not cause an outcry. It struck me as one of the most thuggish and neanderthal acts I’ve seen on a football field.

  37. This may seem naive but how about bringing a banner to a home match stating something like” Arsenal Fan’s/ supporters Demand Fair play from the Match Referee No More Cheating fair play for all” could be worth a try and it would certainly draw the Clubs attention as to how we supporter s feel about this disgraceful treatment of our team by PGMO,

  38. I really thank the fans who swore and abused Arsene Wenger at the train station and wish them that they may live forever. C**ts !!!

  39. Amy Lawrence! Heh! She doesn’t come across as much of a supporter, she just toes the line as well.

    A catchier banner would “No More PGMO Cheating!”, or something like that.

  40. My apologies for the mistake in my e-mail address. I meant to say:

    Amy Lawrence! Heh! She doesn’t come across as much of a supporter, she just toes the line as well.

    A catchier banner would be “No More PGMO Cheating!”, or something like that. But of course the club can be punished for something like that.

  41. Louis van Gaal: Man Utd ‘lucky’ to beat Southampton

    Sure. ManU is “lucky” that all the “currency” they have paid to Mike Riley 😈 to win all the time has actually resulted in this “win”. With Fergie not there any more, the flow of “currency” had become unpredictable. Maybe Mike Riley is just making this a “loss leader”, and this isn’t guaranteed of becoming a permanent feature of the FAIR English Premier League.

    Has Mike Riley bought any property in the Caribbean lately?

  42. The randomness of PL referees mistakes( when Arsenal are not involved), helps the PGMOL retain some sort of semblance of competence and fairness.

    Atkinson in the New Castle / Chelsea game, had a blinder and didn’t put a foot wrong all game.( Sorry Al, I have no idea what it was you were talking about.’Atkinson doing his best to let Chelsea win’. He did no such a thing.)

    Mariner on the other hand, should’ve sent off two Man City players for dangerous and reckless tackles against Everton’s Eto’ and Barry.

    Then he gave a very soft penalty for Jagielka’s challenge on Milner, who wasn’t even asking or expecting it.

    The match commentator on NBC , former Chelsea left back Graeme Le Saux thought it was a good call, but another commentator for The English TV in the PL review on NBC , thought it was a bad call.

    And that’s why you will never see an organized movement against PGMOL.

    Most controversial calls fall into the ‘ have seen them given’ or you win some you lose some’ category , and with the PL being the cash cow for owners, managers and players, no one will rock the boat.

    As far as Arsenal fans doing something against the likes of Taylor or PGMOL as a whole, they are too divided and angry at each other right now. Add to that the slew of mistakes Arsenal players have been making , and the mistakes by referees take the back seat in all Arsenal conversations outside of this forum.

  43. @Tom,

    “As far as Arsenal fans doing something against the likes of Taylor or PGMOL as a whole, they are too divided and angry at each other right now. Add to that the slew of mistakes Arsenal players have been making , and the mistakes by referees take the back seat in all Arsenal conversations outside of this forum.”

    Fully agree, spot on. And this is why we should unite against this PGMOL bias, and we stop then, and the team still underperform, then we can fully accept its the team/manager full responsibility.

  44. How about setting up a Youtube channel highlighting all the incorrect decisions against Arsenal from game to game? Try and publicly shame the FA, Premier League and the ref’s association into making a change?

  45. ThomB – your analysis of red cards then and now is not right. If you are going to put forwards points like that you need to quote the stats.

  46. Tom
    Atkinson was trying I tell you. He gave them a few free 50-50 free kicks in dangerous areas, from which they scored from. Even that second yellow for the Newcastle defender, I thought both players went in hard and the ball was there to be won. But I’m no Newcastle fan so I don’t really recall each and every incident, but from where I was it didn’t look like he wanted Newcastle to win. I think what saved Newcastle that day was they scored their goals a little late on, had they done so around the halfway mark I’m sure they’d have lost that day. I know the injury time was not down to Atkinson but I don’t recall seeing physios from either team get on the pitch in the second half, but a whopping 6 minutes was added on! Someone definitely wanted Chelsea to get a draw at least that day. May not have been Atkinson (if you believe that then you’ll believe anything), but definitely someone from his fraternity.

  47. Anyone who doesn’t fight fair is a coward. These refs are all a bunch of cowards. How can they go home and sleep well at night after overseeing players brutalised the way Sanchez and Chambers were by Adams and that freakish thing called crouch, and see it fit to punish Chambers only for a much much lesser offence. Any morally upright individual could not do that and go home with a clear conscience. I’d stand up to whoever is issuing those orders and say I’m not doing that, if it was me.

  48. From

    > on the team news…

    >> To make it as simple as possible, I have 11 experienced players and six young players on the bench. That means I have nothing to hide. Debuchy is back with us and will play, Szczesny is back in goal, Mertesacker, Chambers will play because Gibbs did not travel, Bellerin at left-back. Then you have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Flamini, Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell. The players who needed it stayed behind – like Cazorla, Sanchez, Gibbs, Giroud is not qualified and Welbeck, who could have travelled but recently had a little knee problem, so took advantage of that to rest him.

    > on any other news…

    >> Not because of the game on Saturday, but Sanchez had a groin problem for some time, and he has played 27 games. Cazorla has played many games, it is more just the number of repetitive games we have.

    Gibbs didn’t travel, there is no mention of Monreal. Left back will be weaker than desired. The AAA will bitch. We have a ton of midfield and forwards. Even resting Cazorla and Sanchez. And Giroud ineligible. Another youngster to shine?


  49. I saw the two bookings for Chambers, surely that has to be flagged up as blatant cheating?

  50. Looking a little (not a lot) around the news, I will make an optimistic prediction.

    Lucas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom to get braces. Assists to the other youngsters who went to Turkey.


  51. Good chance for the youngsters to get a chance to feel the atmosphere playing first team football and of course CL.
    Hope the regulars do a good enough job so that the youngsters get a chance to play.

  52. Al
    I don’t know about the 6 minutes of injury and extra time because I didn’t keep track of stoppages, but both Steven Taylor yellow cards were totally deserved. As a matter of fact his first foul on Willian that earned him his first yellow , could’ve been a red in itself as he pulled the Chelsea player down by his neck.

    His second yellow was no 50/50 challenge at all , but rather a rush challenge he didn’t need to make.

    As a matter of fact Taylor’s two yellows were the only two mistakes in otherwise flawless game by the New Castle team.

  53. There is one way to sort this once as for all to dispell the myth that araenal ‘don’t like it up em’. Wenger needs to send the team out in a high profile game against another top 4 team and just say to the players kick the fcuk out of them – it doesn’t matter if the game gets abandoned because the referee is spinning like a top and sending off a player every 5 minutes from the first moment from the kick off go through every opposition player 100% do this for 2 games and then maybe just maybe refs will have to reconsider there foul calling and bias. And also have jack Kieran Rambo ox and chambers screaming in the refs faces in their native language that they are cheating scum. That will have an effect. I have written on here befor that I hoped that once we had nearly half the England team in our squad we would start getting fairer decisions – this year, not in your nelly. Jack who had just got FOUR yes FOUR back to back mom’s for England was mullered by a stand in utd defender and will be out not only for arsenal but for England also. You would have thought he would get some protection?? Just as lampard Rooney terry Gerard and shearer all had? Not in a million years. Didn’t even get a pen at home against utd after silking Luke shaw and getting pushed over. I’m telling you sacrifice 2 games absolutely smash every opposition player and we get some fair referees for a while. We may as well try as for a decade we haven’t got anything by playing fair. Time to up the ante.

  54. I am not a million miles away from you on some of your points Danny, but think unfortunately, the manager probably is, he didnt used to be, but something seems to have changed his philosphy

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