So what does the PGMO lack of Referees actually do for clubs?

by Andrew Crawshaw

There have been 11 rounds of matches in the Premier League so far and the referees have been announced for matchweek 12- nearly a third of the way through the season giving a total of 110 games played.

The PGMO have used 18 referees so far so each one should have officiated in something like 120/18 matches say six or seven and whilst some teams might expect to have seen an odd referee more than once this should be the exception rather than the rule.  How have the PGMO done then?

Table 1 – Matches refereed to date

Michael Oliver 10
Craig Pawson 10
Mike Dean 9
Jonathan Moss 9
Andre Marriner 9
Neil Swarbrick 8
Anthony Taylor 8
Bobby Madley 7
Martin Atkinson 7
Lee Mason 7
Kevin Friend 6
Graham Scott 6
Roger East 5
Mike Jones 5
Lee Probert 5
Stuart Attwell 4
Paul Tierney 3
Chris Kavanagh 2


Note the Pink shading shows referees who have done more than the average number of matches so far, the Blue shading  shows those who have been under used and the three in green are those are about average.

Michael Oliver and Craig Pawson have only had two weeks without a game.  Chris Kavanagh has only had to carry his whistle twice and Paul Tierney only three times so far so clearly not yet trusted to do what is required of them.

Have the PGMO  done any better with regards to providing a variety of referees to each team?

Team Referees seen once Referees seen twice Referees seen Three times
Arsenal Mike Dean, Andre Marriner, Neil Swarbrick, Anthony Taylor, Bobby Madley, Kevin Friend, Lee Mason Michael Oliver,Craig Pawson, Mike Dean
Brighton  * Michael Oliver
Burnley * Martin Atkinson, Roger East
Bournemouth * Craig Pawson, Bobby Madley, Lee Probert
Chelsea Michael Oliver, Mike Dean, Andre Marriner, Martin Atkinson, Lee Mason Craig Pawson,  Anthony Taylor, Jonathan Moss
Crystal Palace  * Andre Marriner, Bobby Madley, Kevin Friend,
Everton * Jonathan Moss, Andre Marriner, Graham Scott
Huddersfield * Jonathan Moss, Kevin Friend
Leicester * Michael Oliver, Mike Dean, Graham Scott
Liverpool JonathanMoss, Andre Marriner, Neil Swarbrick, Martin Atkinson, Roger East Craig Pawson, Anthony Taylor, Kevin Friend
Manchester City Craig Pawson, Mike Dean, Jonathan Moss, Neil Swarbrick, Anthony Taylor, Bobby Madley, Martin Atkinson, Roger East, Mike Jones Michael Oliver
Manchester United Michael Oliver, Mike Dean, Andre Marriner, Neil Swarbrick, Anthony Taylor, Lee Mason Craig Pawson, Jonathan Moss, Martin Atkinson
Newcastle  * Andre Marriner, Stuart Attwell Craig Pawson,
Spurs Michael Oliver, Jonathan Moss, Neil Swarbrick, Anthony Taylor, Bobby Madley, Graham Scott, Kevin Friend, Lee Mason Mike Dean, Andre Marriner
Stoke  * Neil Swarbrick
Southampton * Lee Probert Mike Jones,
Swansea * Mike Dean, Lee Mason, Mike Jones
Watford * Michael Oliver, Anthony Taylor, Graham Scott
West Brom * Bobby Madley
West Ham * Neil Swarbrick, Martin Atkinson

* In order to save myself some typing I have included the single visit referees only for the top six placed clubs.

In twelve weeks three Clubs – Chelsea, Newcastle and Southampton have seen a referee on three occasions – a quarter of their games supervised by a single person

Every single team in the PL had had at least one referee twice, many have had two referees for two games each.  Half of all of the clubs – ten out of twenty – (Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Swansea and Watford) have each had repeat visits from three referees.

Whilst there is no direct evidence to suggest that this kind of scheduling with regards to match officials is in any way connected to match fixing, it is certainly a system that is open to exploitation.  I would go as far as saying that if one wanted to design a system that could lead to Type 3 matchfixing (the type where Team A persuades a friendly referee to ensure that Team B doesn’t win a game against Team C – it is the hardest type of match fixing to spot) then one would probably end up with a system very similar to the one employed by the PGMO.

The referees who are not getting many matches will never improve if they aren’t given more and those that are being given matches every week will certainly start to suffer from burn-out if they aren’t given more rest.

Both Lee Probert and Roger East have only been allowed a whistle in five games this season.  Two of Mr Probert’s have involved Southampton and two of MrEast’s five games have involved Burnley.  Not a healthy state of affairs.

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10 Replies to “So what does the PGMO lack of Referees actually do for clubs?”

  1. So mike ‘the horror show’ dean for us. Well….what is the club going to do about this???? Nothing….after the match the same old moaning.

  2. It could be argued that it is because of the moaning that this sort of appointment is made. Mike Riley does not like being held into account and the more that publicity is cast on his organisation the more he will kick back . This is one way that he can after all he only answers to himself.
    What can be done about it ? On the surface very little but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop trying . He was the perpertrator of one of football’s greatest robberies for which all of The Arsenal’s support should never forgive him . He and his organisation needs hounding , softly softly catchee monkey so they say . One day his time will come.

  3. A structure that is designed for failure will eventually fatigue and fail.

    The beam or post that is propping up the floor that you might be standing upon at this very moment was not designed for failure because the performance parameters are set to ensure that the engineer responsible is not negligent in their duty.

  4. Arsène Wenger is right in his comments about the International standing of PGMO referees. Currently Martin Atkinson is the only one licensed to take charge of the highest level of International matches and that is only because he has a limited waiver to the upper age limit. That waiver expires before the end of the season. There will be no English referee at this summer’s World Cup.

    That is the reason why Arséne can’t be formally censured by the PL for his recent comments on the decking competence of referees.

    The only comeback the PGMO have is the single finger response of appointing one of their principal attack dogs to our next big match.. make no mistake about it Mike Dean knows the rules – forwards, backwards and sideways. It is his interpretation of those rules that is quite likely to be problematical. It all depends if he decides to be honest or not and we will know that in the first few minutes of the game.

    We are deploying our ‘secret weapon’ with a small party of Belgian Gooners coming over for the match – hopefully that will be enough to counter Dean’s influence.

  5. I found it interesting when compiling the tables for the article that of all the top six teams, Man City are the only one who have only had one repeat visit so far. Every one else has had three repeaters representing 50% or more of their games. A big potential influence from a small group of people. No proof of any wrongdoing of course but interesting nevertheless.

  6. Mike Dean as referee for the next match and after what AW say in the media, I expect Spurs to benefit from a penalty and an Arsenal player red carded.

  7. It seems to me that the PMGO used to screw Arsenal after the turn of the year to ensure they don’t win the league. But now they seem to screw Arsenal at the start of the season to make sure that they are not competing for the league. I wonder do the referee reports bear this out?

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