Telegraph publish another PGMO press release – and this one is even funnier than the last

His opening read,

Conventional wisdom states that refereeing controversies are, in large part, avoidable. If only referees were prepared to front up and explain their decisions to the media after a game, then you could clear up controversial incidents at a stroke. Managers do the same, and virtually nobody ever talks about them.

Wow, “conventional wisdom”.  Three years ago we were the pariahs of football commentary with our referee previews and reviews.  Now it is conventional wisdom.  What a rise up the charts!

He then talks about Jose Mourinho – as we did here earlier today, and says, “But this column is nothing if not open-minded. If an upstanding member of the football confraternity thinks there’s foul play afoot, then it’s our duty to investigate.”

Now that is the key.  Because writers who really are open minded never need to write such things – especially in such a silly manner.   Such phraseology, in the world of journalism screams, “Watch out!  Press release about”.

The Telegraph has form in this regard when it ran a PGMO press statement on video refs word for word, just days after Walter had highlighted what PGMO was doing about video refs with a blank page.

What Mr Lieu has done is considered teams who have played in at least three of the last five Premier League seasons, including the current season and compared their number of fouls, yellow cards, red cards and penalties. From this he concludes Arsenal don’t commit too many fouls, but when they do, it’s generally a pretty big deal, “which fits the impression of Arsenal as the sort of team who defend with one hand covering their eyes”.  (Is that a serious footballing analysis?)

This of course only works if referees treat each team the same.  But there is no supporting evidence to show this is the case, but a lot of evidence to suggest this is not the case.   But by refusing to recognise the assumption he has made without evidence (and of course the writer won’t admit it because to do so would invalidate this entire thesis), he tries to pretend that the growing number of people challenging the situation among PGMO refs are just wild ravers without any stats, while he is the man in the know.

He even goes on to quote Hitler Conspiracy Theorists and David Icke.

Lieu then goes through the same nonsense with “injury time” and quotes a study which shows that when the home team was a goal behind, referees awarded twice as much injury time as when the home team was a goal ahead.

This is either a gross error by whoever edits the footballing articles at the Telegraph, or a deliberately misleading statement.  It is not “injury time”, but time added for all sorts of reasons – including substitutions and time wasting.

What we see week after week in England (although of course if Mr Lieu gets his football coverage from Sky and other TV stations he won’t know, because as we have shown, they deliberately cut it), the reason is simple.  Away teams ahead in a game by one goal tend to waste time.  Some referees do their job and add time on to compensate, although very few punish players for the breaking of the rules.

Defending teams also take up time by using up their three subs at this point in proceedings – which itself can add another minute or 90 seconds – which is more than the variance the increasingly bizarre Mr Lieu found in his “analysis”.

I won’t go on and on with this – safe to say that the author uses the phrase “injury time” 11 times in the piece – referring to a concept that does not exist.   A piece based on an assumption using stats in a way that is completely nonsensical and a concept in football that doesn’t exist.  Hmmm.  I wonder what my tutor at the Institute of Education would have said if I’d done that in my research thesis.

The real point however is not about the way in which the piece was written, but why.

We saw before that after Walter made fun of PGMO over video referees the Telegraph zoomed in happy to print a PGMO press release countering Walter’s series of articles.  Coincidence?  Well of course it is possible, although unlikely given the silence of any newspaper in covering anything much about PGMO prior to that, and PGMO’s notorious refusal to say anything at all about what it is doing up to that point.

Now there is a growing range of activity commenting on referees – indeed Untold covered the issue of Mourinho and the refs only this morning in which we compared the PGMO to a blind, lame man, shuffling backwards towards a wasps’ nest. 

So is each article a PGMO inspired response to the growing awareness that something is seriously wrong when the referee’s association insists on being so fanatically secret?

Maybe.  Or was it just a piece by a very poor journalist with too much time on his hands?  Maybe again.

But one thing we can say.  As I mentioned in this morning’s piece, getting other media to write about the secretive PGMO and its strange ways of doing things is itself a victory.  Not a big victory, but still a step in the right direction.

In this regard the intervention of Mr Lieu and the Telegraph is to be welcomed.  His piece is logical and statistical nonsense, and a lot of people will, I am sure, see it as exactly that.  And that will have made a few more people think, “hang on, if all was fine with the world of the referees, why is this sort of inaccurate stuff being pumped out?”

Let’s keep watch.

Will PGMO be annoyed at the childish and simplistic way in which the Telegraph handled its latest defence paper?

Will the Telegraph now drop the issue of referees, having been made to look rather silly once too often?

Will the PGMO go to another paper – like the Star perhaps?

Find out more in the next episode of “How to run a Secret Society in the Middle of Football and Try to Get Away with it.”

Classic Untold

Every reason why referees and their association should not be secretive


25 Replies to “Telegraph publish another PGMO press release – and this one is even funnier than the last”

  1. Informative and splendid article Tony.

    I must say in all my years of coaching, managing and teaching PE I came up with the dictum……..

    ‘If you know nothing about it, keep your trap shut’

    But well done again and all credit to UA for diligence and persistence.

  2. Curiously enough, the current Premier League Handbook, refers to the PGMOL!

    Section N deals with the Match Officials for each EPL game.

    Rules bounding on the Match Officials are:

    N4.1 the laws of the Game
    N4.2 the Football Association Rules
    N4.3 these Rules

    It would seem to me that the PGMO(L) has given precedence to N4.3?

    I now need to update my Football Association Rules!

  3. My great uncle Eli spoke the truth when he said “Only read the Telegraph in the Summer and even then, just for the cricket scores”.

  4. The more refs are written about, the more attention they get, which goes contrary to the wishes of the pgmol, they don’t like attention, like most who have been compromised.
    People calling for Riley’s head, ex refs slagging off current refs, Jose’s rants, Gary monk, stupid penalties given to Liverpool….again…hopefully arsenal will also join in and speak out against the next ref shite they face but as much as I love the club, not holding my breath on this one.
    The worm is starting to turn. Maybe churchills famous wartime quote about ends and beginnings of ends and ends of beginnings and generally that sort of thing will hopefully apply here.

  5. It’s amazing how often Arsenal are accused of having a poor defence despite all the evidence to the contrary. It’s just more proof that if you tell a lie often enough, people start to believe it.

  6. The daily mail also has another article bashing Riley. It seems Poll is increasing the pressure on Riley to be sacked.

  7. Riley getting a boot is a good thing….

    But whoz calling the shots here. Whoz gun is on Polls shoulder??…. One fine morning the ego maniac shouts conspiracy and out of the blue we have this ‘poor refereeing’ topics crop up. As if it all started now.

  8. Congrats UA – to many this is dry accountancy stuff as it takes so much time to compile and quite a bit to get your head around the product of those painstaking analysis into a readable cumulative format – STATS ! But the devil in the detail may just about be on the run. UA will have done a great favoured to the professional sport unable to find the courage or conviction to investigate this important arm of itself.

  9. Excellent article Tony; showing us mortals how inapt these so called journalists truly are – or how ‘bent’ they actually are!!

    I really had to re-check my eyesight when I read this: “Arsenal don’t commit too many fouls, but when they do, it’s generally a pretty big deal..”

    I guess Mr Lieu could substantiate how none of our “big deal” fouls have not broken any legs of opposing players, yet the non “big deal” fouls we are bombarded with have resulted in many leg breaks and long time on the side lines to our players!

    Lieu must be a modern day genius or a YES man!

  10. Liews opener:

    “Yes, it’s everybody’s favourite pastime: talking about referees.”

    erm, no it isnt.

    “If an upstanding member of the football confraternity thinks there’s foul play afoot, then it’s our duty to investigate. ”

    Exception to the rule, if you come from UA, then you are a cult/deluded loon etc.So its only certain people that are allowed to investigate?

    “fits the impression of Arsenal as the sort of team who defend with one hand covering their eyes. ”

    Yes, that spot on, in fact its the new trend to walk around covering one eye. Kim Kashardians arsenal is out and eye covering is in.In fact pirate eye patches are coming in I heard so the hands remain free.

    “But before you dismiss Jose’s concerns out of hand and place him in a box with “9/11 Truthers”, “Hitler Conspiracy Theorists” and David Icke”

    Interesting to see those people lumped together,in a box.So its only José that can feel somethings up, if on UA, then its (again,yawn) delusion or something else.Does that make every blog a deluded? Perhaps its better to be a deluded than fascist, as some other blogs are?
    As a footnote to this, why are UA posters often accused of “not debating”.If one can be bothered to look, there is only debate to an fro, the point is that most posters on UA wont concede or submit.Why do they have too?The dont..

    According to a quick Google, Jonathan Liew supports Spurs.Poor bloke.

  11. Pat -It’s amazing how often Arsenal are accused of having a poor defence despite all the evidence to the contrary. It’s just more proof that if you tell a lie often enough, people start to believe it.
    I dont know what evidence you have but the table below is evidence that our defence has been poor so far this season.Only spurs out of the top 6 have a slightly worse defence than us..LETS BLAME THE REFEREES FOR CONCEDING 25 GOALS SHALL WE!!

    Chelsea 20 20 14 4 2 44 19 25 46

    Man City 20 14 4 2 44 19 25 46

    Man Utd 20 10 7 3 34 20 14 37

    Southampton 20 11 3 6 34 15 19 36

    Tottenham 20 10 4 6 29 27 2 34

    Arsenal 20 9 6 5 34 25 9 33

  12. @Nick Lee : Without the 5 goals wrongly awarded to Arsenal opponents (Naysmith offside vs Everton, Diame foul on Flamini vs Hull, Felliani offside AND foul vs United, Shawcross push on Stoke 3rd goal and the penalty vs QPR), we should be at 20 goals conceced, similar to all the top 3 teams, despite having 2 players of the starting Back Four injured for months…

  13. Nick Lee – you are truly a smart individual when it comes to picking what suits your argument. The goals for are a clear indication of why the order exists. Arsenals defence has been poor relative to expectation due to injury & consequent inconsistency. Your pathetic thinking does not consider the fact that you are to dim to see how many combinations of players Wenger has had to use to maintain the quality that holds 6th place. It is time for you to return to school & learn that the data that creates statistics has to be considered when using the statistic.

    The Referees have had a telling effect on our position and our statistics. They have cheated us of a fair game with blatant avoidance of punishing fouls against us. This has in effect robbed us of points & results. If you do not think that is the case then you are more pathetic for coming onto an Arsenal blog that has proven the case beyond doubt.

  14. @Mandy it’s not a question of holding your breath. It’s a question of the amount of money saved by not complaining and the fact that Wenger can still sit in the dugout. If you calculate each match as being 20k and progressing by 25% you will find that the saving will pay for 2 more transfers. Furthermore Wenger has had uninterrupted facility in the dugout. This has pissed the aaa off big time. There is no point in complaining to the pot about the kettle because they are warmed by the same smoke filled fire.

  15. Menace
    Id rather have my pathetic way of thinking than your blind optimistic way that follows the few on here in believing that everything is fine and dandy at the club,that arsene is the messiah and he cant do any wrong and that its everyone else’s fault for our failings.
    Man utd have conceded far less than us with a bigger amount of injuries at the back and through the team so its the same for everyone .The only facts on how we are doing is the league table.That never lies.

  16. @ Kenneth Widmerpool -January 10, 2015 at 8:54 am – I am one of the deluded and am delighted to be in this cult of AKBs!
    And one of Kim’s arsenals poking me in the eye doesn’t even faze me !
    Liew is a Spud lover ? Now it clear !
    Jose the great moaner – he’s got it right ? Really ?

  17. More moaning !

    The Marriage Dictionary!

    A new dictionary is soon to come out, defining some issues in marriage that people were curious about. Here are some of the definitions we thought we’d offer to include in it:

    1. A man who has been able to avoid the opportunity of making some woman miserable.
    2. A man who is said to be foot-loose and fiancee-free.
    3. A man who never made the same mistake once.
    4. A bad boy who has cheated some poor girl out of her alimony.
    5. A person who believes in life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.
    6. The only man who has never told a wife a lie.

    A girl with great prospects of happiness behind her.

    A nice little arrangement between husband and wife whereby they both fully agree to let her have her own way.

    A man who is able to convince his wife that a fur coat would make her look fat.

    A husband who holds the stepladder tightly so his wife doesn’t fall while she’s painting the ceiling.
    A man who notices his wife dropping her knitting and immediately kicks it over to her so that she can pick it up.

    What a wife without anyone noticing it until she doesn’t do it.

    A man who has decided to give up privileges he never knew he had.
    A guy who controls the house and everyone in it, and is allowed by his wife to say so.

    Joint Checking Account
    A great little device which allows a wife to beat a husband to the draw.

    An obsessive delusion easily cured by a wedding.

    A woman who slowly destroys a man’s peace of mind by telling him what’s on hers.

    A job title involving long duties, very light earnings and zero recognition.

    Someone who will protect you, help you and help you solve all the problems you wouldn’t have had if you’d stayed single.

    A partner who is always complaining that she doesn’t have a thing to wear at the exact same time she complains about not having enough room in the closet.

  18. From Simple – some good advice for the moaners !

    “So many people stay stuck in a horrible or unloving relationship for the sad sake they are afraid of change and afraid of being alone.
    It takes courage to stand alone; it takes strength. Loveless relationships only hurt people.
    Move on.
    Happiness is in our mind and in our soul, and is to be shared with those who deserve us — not ones who disrespect or hurt us.
    Make good decisions.
    Make it work or make an exit.
    Don’t live in misery.”
    — Dawn Haehl

  19. Nick Lee – the table (& the Referees) never lie! That is unfortunately not true. Look at the record of the man. He took us to several trophies, finals and he built us a training facility & Stadium second to none. The football I have seen played by Arsenal is truly beautiful & I’ve seen football on 5 continents. I do not support him blindly, but he has won my respect & belief. What have you ever done that is even close to Wengers achievement? Moaning about weakness that occurs with injuries is poor. Arsenal are amazing & despite playing against opposition supported by Riley’s crows win matches. I support Arsenal when we lose because I know we played to win.

    I am an Arsenal supporter in thought word & deed. I support the whole club including the kids & the womens team.

  20. Ha! If a national newspaper is comparing points you make to Icke and Hitler conspiracy theories then you know you’re onto something. I think Untold’s style of specifics and validation of information contradicts the national media’s own methods. The bottom line is the Telegraph has a bottom line that is the priority of its existence, and sensationalism rather than serious, referenced articles is what sells. It’s almost a cliché to mention that at this point, but it’s still the reality unfortunately.

    To me this all shows that the Telegraph and all the other national outlets simply don’t give a crap about football, as they just have to sell papers/get website views or whatever makes them their money.

    Another point is that these aren’t primarily sports publications. They report sport a few pages down from the world’s latest horrifying events, and it seems they think this gives them a license to just make up stories (you just don’t see dedicated “RUMOURS” columns in the current affairs sections of newspapers) as it’s recreation for a lot of people.

    So keep up the good work, everyone at Untold! Your calmness, rationale and humour are the perfect antidote to the media’s empty reporting on football.

  21. I am always hopeful of some karmic justice befalling Riley, but worried that if he does eventually get the chop, who takes over. Unless the whole PGMOL is revamped, won’t it be business as usual? I just wish our club would contribute to the process, otherwise it just feels like we are letting it all happen. Heaven knows it has been happening to us for way too long.

  22. NOTH

    Thanks for sharing that little nugget. In their own words:

    “N3: PGMO Rules Football”

    It’s football Jim. But not as we know it 😉

  23. Nick Lee, spurs have only a “slightly worse” goals conceded than us? Us 25 them 29, that’s 4 goals in our favour right, then there’s Man Utd who have conceded “far less than us”, again we have conceded 25, Utd have conced 20, that’s a difference of 5 goals in their favour, that 1 goal swing takes it from slightly, to far, that alone rules out your judgement.

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