How the FA, PL and PGMO backtracked on the promises made by the National Review Board.

By Walter Broeckx

In 2001 the news was made public that referees would become professional in the PL.

In an article on the BBC website from 13 June 2001, we found these bits and pieces and we will only highlight the things that relate to the current working of the PGMO and the referees.

It said: “The FA, working alongside the Premier League and Football League, will overhaul the management, training and development of all match officials. The new scheme will enable officials to go full-time as a result of the financial incentives on offer, and they will also be more accountable regarding their performances in matches.”

And yes referees have now a full time job in the PL. But would someone please tell us more about being accountable regarding their performances in matches? Could anyone shed a light on to that part of the deal that was made? As far as I can see there is no such accountability. Or it must be that when refs did something that upsetted one manager in particular they would not do matches of his team again in the near future? Because that seemed to be the only accountability I have noticed in the past.

The article continues: “The referees’ National Review Board is to be replaced by a new organisation, called the Professional Game Match Officials Board.”

Since then the “Board” part has dissipated. Probably taking the accountability with it when going out the door.

But now we enter something really special as this has been one of the main points we have been banging on over the last 7 or 8 years.

It was written: ” The select group will officiate in the Premier League and other competitions and comprise of 24 referees and 48 assistant referees.”

Yes that is right. You read it well. The plan was to have 24 referees in total.

In our last review we have 17 referees who did matches this season in the PL. So that itself is already 7 referees short to what was told at the start. That is a shortage of around one third.

But it gets worse. Because of those 17 referees we had more than one only doing a handful of matches. If we look at matchweek 13 we had seven refs who did more than 10 matches. The real full time professionals one could say.

We had five referees who did half of the matches (7-8 matches), so we could say that they are more or less part time referees. And then we had five referees who only did a handful of matches. The partial part timers one could say.

So if we really want to be strict we only had… 7 (seven) full time referees trusted enough to do matches all the time. Remember we should have 24 referees full time. And now we only have 7 in reality!

I think 24 referees would have been the ideal for the PL. As that would mean that the appointments could be made in such a way that you never get a ref more than twice in a season.

This is something we have been banging on for well years and year and years….

But the PGMO under the guidance of Mike -50- Riley can’t even fill up the 24 referees the PGMO should have according to what was said when it was founded! The have seven full timers and the rest are part timers.  They hardly manage to get half of the number they should have!

So who is responsible for this low number of referees? Is it the FA? Is it Scudamore from the PL? Or is it Mike Riley from the PGMO? I think all of them are responsible for this scandal. Because that is what it is. They have promised and negotiated to have 24 refs and they don’t deliver them. Maybe they want to keep the little select, select group as small as possible to…. yeah why? Tell us Mr. Riley. You could release a note to the press as to why you don’t have 24 referees at your disposal. We are waiting to hear about it.

Untold has shown what a strange person ref Dean is. We have been doing so since 2009 or thereabouts. Now it seems that the eyes of the rest of the footballing word are starting to see what we have been seeing all those years. Yes there is something strange about his behaviour. His dislike for some teams (Arsenal amongst them) and his favouritism for some team can be seen when you look at his stats. The other day he managed again to put himself in the spotlight. After not having send off Barkley from Everton for a dreadful tackle on Henderson a few days ago he now sends off a WHU player for a far less dangerous tackle. And on top of that he and his assistants managed to miss the umpeenth offside decision in the last weeks resulting in MU scoring another offside goal. It seems that Manchester teams are more or less specialised in scoring offside goals these days.

Now I have seen tweets from ex-players saying that Dean should be removed. I have seen tweets from from journalists who also say that this Dean-show has to end.

Well I ask them: where have you been the last 10 years or so? How long didn’t you see the obvious? How long did it take you to see what we have been saying all those years? Well it took you a very long time, didn’t it? And that is part of the disgrace. It is a little blog run by some football enthusiasts (and Arsenal supporters) who have been doing all the hard work all those years. We analysed match after match after match after match. For seven or eight years now. And you? You professionals, what did yo do in the meantime?  Well the answer is mention it one hour and then forget it. And then only when you couldn’t avoid mentioning it. Because you preferred to look away from the referees as much as possible.

But coming back to Dean there is one excuse even I want to make for him. That is the fact that it is almost impossible for referees to do the busy schedule they are doing. And then we come back to my previous point … the lack of referees. Dean did a match on New Years Eve  and then had another yesterday. Hardly 48 hours in between. And keep in mind that referees run more than the players and have to be alert constantly during the 90 minutes of match then it is no surprise that big errors are made.

I finish with the words of former Fifa referee Roger Milford  who believed that the move will be beneficial for all. He said in 2001: “I am sure this will mean more consistency from the officials on points of law which cause controversy, The fact that the referees will meet regularly for training sessions means they will sit down together and watch videos of incidents which have caused controversy.”

Well that surely didn’t happen…..

  • Untold Arsenal started in January 2008
  • Walter joined us in 2009
  • Our first referee review was published about a year after that.

Untold Arsenal: Bournemouth v Arsenal 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Referees are becoming more brazen, but the media is waking up at last to the fact that something is seriously wrong

Bournemouth – Arsenal : 3-3 crazy match, great come back

Bournemouth v Arsenal: the team, the statistics, the styles of play, the home v away.

Bournemouth – Arsenal : 3-3 crazy match, great come back

Bournemouth v Arsenal: the team, the statistics, the styles of play, the home v away.

Bournemouth v Arsenal: the complaints, life in the old days, and who could return tonight.

Bournemouth v Arsenal 3 January 2017 – The Match Officials. Beware a return to the old ways.

New from the Arsenal History Society – all the player histories indexed.  The AHS player histories tend to be more detailed than those on the official Arsenal site – especially for players from the early part of Arsenal’s history.  Now we are undertaking the huge task of indexing the main articles.  Players with surnames A to G have been linked to their main articles and we are continuing the task day by day.

24 Replies to “How the FA, PL and PGMO backtracked on the promises made by the National Review Board.”

  1. they have given Dean the Spurs game at the weekend. I’m assuming that this ensures he’ll get a warm welcome and therefore feel a bit better about himself, reffing his favs… ‘penalty, Alli’ anyone???? 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for your hard work and to show world obvious facts about refs, PGMOL and all these strange things!

  3. Appointing Dean to the Live TV game (be it Spurs or anybody else) is Mike Riley sticking two fingers up to everybody and demonstrating that he can do whatever he wants and nobody has the balls to do anything about it.

    Keep up the good work UA and here’s hoping that when it goes the whole English football world collapses like a house of cards.

  4. Dean….an interesting character to say the least. He always liked the Spuds, used to think it was an Arry thing, but the love liveth on. A nice handshake for Dembele as he was substituted after Dean intervened to help Tottenham recently at Southampton

    and now, he has the Spuds again at the weekend.

    Graham Poll says ref are now overworked, and blames Mike Riley

    The question is, who is keeping the inept, secretive Riley in place, and for what ends.
    The refereeing we are getting, get the impression someone scents blood over Wenger this season

  5. Excellent Walter. The PGMOL are a corrupt bunch & do not reflect the society that follow football. No Asians. No Afro Carribeans. No Africans. Only a select blend of cheating incompetents.

    There are no rules or regulation of this group of people who decide where the billions in English football goes. The lack of control & accountability deems them corrupt.

  6. I remember Richard Scudamore being quoted as saying something to the effect of …. a successful Manchester United means a successful Premier League. Richard Scudamore is the Chief Executive of the Premier League who invest in the PGMOL .

    I also recall that Mark Clattenburg was not allowed to referee at one time due to the collapse of his business and therefore running up enormous debts. He now gets to referee every final and most important games.

    I am not making any assertions just stating facts.( Google searches are enough to provide the evidence . )

  7. Hmmmn, 16 years after and the project to have 24 professional referees at Pgmol, the project is yet to be completed speak volumes. And even out of the 17 so far employed only 7 of them are privileged to work regularly weeks in weeks out while the remaining 10 have been reduced to partimer professional referees tells us the Pgmol has become a mafia organization.

    And we know or have heard what mafia does, illegality is their trademark business. So it’s not surprising to see or hear that the Pgmol are involved in referring escaped activities. What else are we expecting from them? Do we think they don’t know what they are doing? They know. Or we think they don’t hear or read our complains and protests? They do.

    Now, we’ve heard some retirees football officials have told a committee of govt enquiry that old English men or people are the ones stopping the FA to reform. And the FA is the oversight body that oversees the Pgmol and regulates it’s activities. But how can the FA who are prevented from reforming itself for the better as ordered by the government, reform the subsidiary body under it watch. I think this matter is complicated.

  8. Great work Walter as usual. Even if the PGMOL had 24 refs, they wouldn’t know what to do with them, and majority would get around 3-4 games a season!

    It’s scripted, today is Chelsea leaning Atkinson so the Spurs will get hard done, and then Spurs loving Dean over the weekend helping them out. Then the media will report “see it all evens out”.

  9. Pls insert escapades for escapes in the 6th line of the 2nd paragraph of my last comment posting.

  10. Menace,

    Too many factors involved in what you stated to over-simplify it in that manner. You can easily bring the other complaints about players and managers into the discussion and then dismiss racism out of hand, although that’s not to say some prejudice doesn’t exist because it still exists everywhere.

    For example, why aren’t there more Asian players in football (nine in the top four leagues, I believe)? Firstly, because of cultural attitudes amongst Asian families who pressure their sons to take the path of education into blue-chip professions. Because young players – plenty of whom reach trial level – are also put off going further because they have no Asian-origin role models, in addition to a dressing room lad culture which they can’t identify with.

    Why aren’t there more black managers in the game? Simple demographics, I’m afraid. Those considered Black British/Mixed in the UK only number 3-5% of the total population. If you look at the total number of black managers across the 92 clubs, it’s actually representative of the national demographic for any industry. Also, remember that most top flight coaches are 50+ with a few in their late 40’s – the influx of black players into English football has only really hit full stride within the last 20 years or so. This transition hasn’t been any sort of issue, so expect more of the same on the management front, you’ll just have to wait another 10 years for it to start taking effect. Referees make up such a miniscule part of the football machine in terms of numbers, I think we should be blessed to have had Uriah Rennie at all, although I do think this will change re: my previous point.

  11. Walter

    Hope you read this one. Bit long but hopefully worthwhile. Think things are really heating up a little.

    About two weeks ago Mason gave a pen moments after he had decisively shook his head. It looked bizarre and was very hard to explain.

    On the weekend, he goofed by putting his hand to his earpiece immediately before producing the red. It could have just been good practice- getting additional advice, or even an assistant speaking unbidden- but what was clear was that someone had just spoken to him and as he had a great view there was little reason for it.

    Anyway, we’ve long speculated about the possibility of 4th officials, especially more experienced ones, having an input on big decisions, or even someone else doing so.

    It is yet another clear failing of pgmol – to adequately address the huge change in the game brought about by modern communication devices. Previously, if a linesman wanted to tell a ref something important, they’d flag and it would be clear they had intervened. A good clear system. Now, we have no clue.

    If,say, a linesman has a better view of a pen call or anything else, they tell the ref, we don’t know of it…and that’s ok. Though it does needlessly and unhelpfully distort the audiences view of what has gone on. It matters how the big decisions are made and who made them.

    But what happened with the Mason pen call? His view was perfect, he surely decided no with the head shake and his demeanour, but then switched to yes in an instant. What happened?

    Earpiece or no earpiece, if a linesman makes a pen or red call, the flag should go up and they should consult properly. Either that or the communications have to be audible for the tv audience, as happens in rugby to the benefit of all. Otherwise it’s an open invitation to mischief and bad practice. Or rather, it means having to trust the sport is totally clean and fair, as opposed to providing systems which make it as hard as possible for anything untoward to take place

    Anyway, yesterday, no doubt in response to the weekend’s events, the Mail ran a piece about video technology, with input from the main man. There’s mention of a minimum two-year trial period, without explicitly stating whether or not that has begun, but with the revelation ‘We have trialled using Video Assistant Referees for a number of Premier League games so far this season.’

    Basically, a dry run. A ‘non-live environment’, meaning the video guys do their thing but do not communicate with the match officials.

    Good practice, no doubt, but then you wonder about Mason’s strange behaviour, how it tends to go for us with Dean as fourth official, plus all the other crap, including Dean at the weekend looking as though he was more inclined to continue play than anything else, let alone produce a red. Hmmm.

    Finally, if this is my imagination running wild, I’m not alone. What there is of the ref community on twitter is a little agitated at the moment, and I noticed someone today who is billed as a ‘Former Fifa assistant referee’ who made these comments yesterday

    _ ‘looks like a case of a secret VAR intervention?? He did not even give a free kick initially’

    – AGAIN the ref- Mason @City- holds his finger to his earpiece to get ‘confirmation’ from ‘somebody’ before a big call-

    Hmmm. By the way, a number of things on this person’s twitter confirm he’s the real deal and what he says he is. Also, his general attitude is far from our own- he likes Dean- and surely excludes the possibility of something akin to corruption. It looks more a case of there being factions and enmities within the current and former ref community

    All the same, heating up. I just hope what we’re writing here isn’t noticed and that the word isn’t put out to be more careful.

  12. Rich:

    “It looks more a case of there being factions and enmities within the current and former ref community”

    You only need to read Geoff Winter’s book to confirm the factions within PGMO

  13. Brilliant article, Walter. Going right back to what they said – 24 referees – and what we have now – in reality 7 full time referees – nearly takes your breath away. How do they get off with it? Some very powerful people must want it to be this way.

  14. Quoting from Keith Hackett in today’s Telegraph: “We have a serious shortage of quality referees. There are only five or six capable of taking on any game the fixture computer throws up. Mike [Dean] is one of them. And those we do have, we do not manage properly. We do not give them feedback any more from former referee assessors, we do not have a regular system of discussion. There is no proper accountability.”

    Apart from the fact that he regards Mike Dean as “generally excellent” (!!), former referee Keith Hackett is saying a lot of what Walter says in this article. But what is going to be done about it?

  15. Tottenham predictably allowed to foul their way to a two goal lead? lots of calls appealed by the Gazcorp players in the last ten minutes.

    Many reading this comment knew the result before kick off.

    The show must go on!

    The player who terrorised Iceland and so clearly outclassed his Welsh opponents last summer is unstoppable! When playing in the PL and allowed to dive and clog as per requirement.

  16. Corruption is actually increasing(did not think it could get any worse really) all across the board, not just football.

    As those at the “top” continue to steal and lie, those “a little below” decides to follow suit and this comes down to the (“flock”) the people, who given this example as the way to success, follows it too.

    Any small changes for the better are like trying to patch a dam with mud and straw.

  17. Flares – most Asian kids play football and many are real quality. They stop playing because of racism. They get kicked (normal for English football) & then realise that it is safer making money with their brains rather than brawn. There are several players in India who play at a very high standard. The players here in UK get a better grounding & get to high standards but there are ‘select’ individuals that control the game & do not make room for ……….

    One only has to see Sunday league football to understand why some ethnics do not progress.

  18. Finsbury,

    Was appalled by Rose’s play acting and all around snidey play. Never seems to get called out for it.

    A very nasty tackle on Costa by the Toby whatshisname totally ignored by Atkinson. Lucky the anger management(or hypnotist) course must be working on Costa.

    Not that I care a stuff about the Odious Costa mind you.

  19. Nothing more then a hapless bunch of divers and cloggers indulged by the pgMOB

    When players like Rosicky target useless cloggers like Rose (not just the once! That legendary early goal at WHL, he knew exactly where to go to find the space for his run…), when said players fail appallingly against the likes of Iceland, that is a fairly strong and consistent pattern.

    Bertrand (started a CL final for Gazcorp) & Gibbs must have the wrong agents.

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