In the last article we looked at how Mourinho is playing games with the media, the FA and PGMO. All this – and indeed the whole threat of Type III match fixing (in which club owners seek to persuade refs to hinder the progress of other clubs, rather than fix the results of their own club) – could be resolved with just one small change. Walter Broeckx explains how.
Untold Arsenal has published numbers about referees for many years. Numbers that not only showed that referees make many mistakes but also that there certainly seems to be a bias hidden amongst most refs. The old expression: ‘it all evens out in the end’ has been shown to be completely wrong.
The only thing that the PGMO (who employ the Premier League referees) has done all these years was every now and then Mike Riley would come forward with numbers that reminded us of elections in most dictatorships where the sitting leader was re-elected with a score of 98% or 99%. Offside decisions were right for 99% Riley claimed and key decision also got a score so high that it suggested that only some 22 wrong decisions were made relating to penalties, red cards, goals in one half of the season.
Now of course the PGMO didn’t say which decisions were wrong so even that couldn’t be checked by other people, like us. Secrecy at the highest level.
The PGMO gives no detail whatsoever so their numbers cannot be checked. Untold Arsenal and Referee Decisions worked the other way. We showed every decision we checked and all our decisions could be countered by arguments. Only a handful decisions were contested all those years.
But there are other countries in the world where they do tend to be more open. My own country being such one. The Belgian football association came out with the numbers. The numbers were given by Frank De Bleeckere a former top ref and one of the candidates to do the world cup final in South Africa (but because he had done matches as a referee in Holland in the years before he couldn’t do matches of Holland and so Howard Webb got that final.)
De Bleeckere, just as Webb took up a job at the highest level of the referee association after his retirement. And it seems that De Bleeckere is a bit more in favour of doing his job in an open way than Webb is doing.
So what are the numbers from Belgium from this season? And previous seasons?
The numbers include the key moments decisions. Goals, red cards and off sides leading to a goal. Game changing decisions and result changing decisions.
Last season over the whole season in the Belgian Jupiler league including the play offs they got a total score of correct decisions of 72%. That’s it. 72 (seventy two percent).
Just compare this to the dream numbers of Mike Riley and the PGMO. They released statistics showing standards had improved in every available measure in the five years since Hackett left the organisation. These include accuracy on major decisions, up to 95 percent from 94.1 percent, on decisions in the penalty box (98 percent) and offsides, 99 percent compared to 92 percent five years ago when Riley took over.
So in Belgium the football authorities say that in a whole season refs got it correct in 72% of the decisions. In England Mike Riley is saying it is 95% and that 98% of the penalty decisions are correct. And offside even 99%. Numbers that are completely contradictory to our own Untold numbers over many seasons.
So from where this major gap? Between 72% and 95% is a big gap. Are the refs in Belgium that bad? Or are the refs in the PL that good? Ask most supporters which number would be closest to the truth and I do think that most will say that the 72% are closer to the truth than the 95% from Riley.
Our own numbers also are closer to that 72% than the Riley numbers. Could it be that the PGMO numbers are a bit coloured? Could it be that they are trying to paint a nicer picture than the reality we see on the field?
In Belgium they analyse the refs in the same way that Untold do and what the numbers also show is that fatigue plays a big role in making correct decisions. Because if they analyse the numbers in periods of five matches they see that in the first 5 matches they got to a very high level of 86,6% correct important decisions. But in the last 5 matches this has dropped to 70,34%.
As one of our newspapers said, “The good thing is that refs were right for 70% of the decisions. But the bad thing is that there were wrong in 3 out of 10 decisions.”
The Belgian football authorities are now working to bring up the number of correct decisions. In the play offs that start in a few weeks there will be six refs in total for each match. I really think a next step they will start to look at is bringing in video assistance to help the refs.
But at least the football authorities and referee office are not hiding themselves behind amazingly impossible high numbers. No they admit that things can improve and must get better. While the PGMO sits on their backside and pretends that nothing is wrong and all is shiny and rosy in the football world and referee world.
While the Belgian football authorities look at the numbers and try to improve them the PGMO keeps sticking their head in the sand.
How much longer will we accept this to continue? Keith Hackett has called for his successor Mike Riley to be removed from his position with PGMOL and labelled the current crop of officials as the “worst that we have seen,” citing “over 20 major errors” during the Christmas period. Yet the PGMO keeps banging their drums and pretend that 95% if major decisions are correct.
Can we believe a person who has shown he can’t be trusted in his active career? I can’t. And nobody should. Let’s bring in Frank De Bleeckere to run the PGMO and I got a feeling that we might get more accurate numbers than the dream numbers from the PGMO.