The great referee con, played on us poor punters over and over again

And today, here’s the trick in all its glory as Hackett writes in the Telegraph…

“I’m realistic enough not to expect many football fans to have given this much thought, but at this time of year my sympathies always go out to the country’s referees.

“In the Premier League especially, officials are about to enter into a schedule that is quite frankly madness.

“Michael Oliver and others will cover close to 1,500 miles during the festive period, with the next week or so putting an enormous physical and mental strain on Premier League referees.”

Ahhhhhhh.  Yes of course it is instanity.  This is PGMO, football’s notorious sercret service.  In secrecy terms the football equivalent of the now-defunct KGB.

The piece continues…

“For a top-flight official, there is no such thing as a Christmas holiday. The demands of the period are such that alcohol and unhealthy foods must be strictly avoided, and many of those who are doing Boxing Day games will spend their Christmas Day on the motorway.”

Now let’s check the facts.   Firstly, some Premier League referees work game after game after game for the simple reason there are not enough Premier League referees.  It is not the crass stupidity of the Premier League and its match schedule department.  It is not the demands of TV.  It is the decision by PGMO to have a tiny number of referees and use them over and over and over again that is the problem.

Second it isn’t a problem that is forced upon them.  They could appoint lots more referees, set up more training courses and bring them to a high standard.   And in doing that they would not only stop referees having to drive across the country night and day and officiate at match after match.  And there would be some other bonuses too.

First, they would reduce the chances of type III match fixing in which a very wealthy club with no scruples suggests to a referee with no scruples that if he could see his way to Club X not doing very well against Club Y then Club Z would be very grateful and would be delighted to offer him the use of the summer villa in Italy or the south of France or where ever takes his fancy.

Second they would increase the recovery times for refs and provide more time for mature reflection on their performances, a spot more training and a bit more of the social life.  England does after all pride itself at being a country that looks after the family.

But the excuses continue: and here’s the all time deflective favourite.  The “you might think this is bad but I remember when we worked down pit all night until 5am on Christmas Day and then came home to wrap up a bit of cheese to give to the kids” moment.

Hackett says, “I remember in the 1970s working on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day!”

Or indeed if his memory was as good as he might like probably not.  Because football matches on Christmas Eve stopped in 1958.  But hey who needs facts when one is working to protect the good name (I use the phrase lightly) of PGMO?

He does get one moment of reality when he says “Multiple matches in quick succession is tiring enough, but the reduced recovery time is an additional physical burden and can drastically reduce performance levels.”

That is of course, and a major concern to all of us who consider refereeing, but it is what he doesn’t say, and what TV pundits and radio pundits and those who write blogs and who actually remember there is a referee involved don’t say.

These problems are all entirely of PGMO’s own making and our prime question should be WHY?   Why do they do this?  And why do people like Hackett cover up for them all the time, going so far as to introduce fantasy tales about refereeing on Xmas Eve?   Why does a paper like the Telegraph not bother to check the facts in an article of propoganda written for them?

In another part of his work Mr H also gives us a list of referees with the number of cards and the average per game.    It opens…

Name Games Fouls Awarded Yellow Cards Red Cards Average Yellows per Game
M. Dean 14 316 56 6 4.00
C. Pawson 13 289 50 3 3.85
K. Friend 13 302 53 1 4.08
J. Moss 12 273 39 4 3.25
L. Mason 10 236 37 0 3.70

And so what?  It looks like it ought to tell us something but actually, it doesn’t, because “average yellows per game” is pretty meaningless.  Our stats on how long teams play a man short because of poor refereeing actions was somewhat closer to the mark, but we don’t get that.

Only at the very end does he make the point, “As for a solution, we need more referees, less reliance on elites like Atkinson and Oliver, and fewer games. There also needs to be more care about the way referees are allocated matches during the festive period.”

Yes, that is of course true, and it is what Untold has been saying for years and years.  But here’s the point: WHY DON’T WE HAVE MORE REFEREES??????   That’s the one he won’t ever face.

All that build up, and the big question is missed.   Which once again leaves us asking, “WHY?”

This article in the Telegraph is one of very few that will be published during the Christmas period on refereeing.  It might be the only one.  And it is a complete case of utter misdirection, taking attention away from the perfidious nature of PGMO and the way it organises things, while trying to suggest we should be sorry for its employees.   It is the referees’ choice to work for PGMO, and asking us to feel sorry for them is rather like asking citizens of the UK to feel sorry for the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) and the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service of the Federation).  (The two bodies that replaced the KGB).

No, we should not feel sorry for them.  We should watch them ever intently and note and report every act.



8 Replies to “The great referee con, played on us poor punters over and over again”

  1. “…..elites like Atkinson and Oliver” lmao

    If Hackett thinks they’re the “elite”, we’re in bigger trouble than we thought!!

  2. It’s not just football.

    The LTA tennis is run by grey haired nobodies who haven’t got a clue, the British amateur golf is run by old despots.

    Maybe we should start a rival to the PGMO with 20 referees who officiate 19 games per season each. Off free membership to any one coming across from PGMO and run Hackett out of town.

  3. Hackett is also active on Twitter. He usually replies to politely made questions. We had an interesting exchange a week or so regarding Mike Dean.

  4. OT: Heading the ball and concusions in football

    NPR is running a story about recent and ongoing work on what happens with the skull undergoes accelerations (such as when heading the ball). The research was started because of people interested specifically in football (being a USA article, they are calling it soccer).

    There is a reference to a 2017 medical/engineering paper on this work in the article. It is an Open Access article, so you can download a copy of the PDF for free.

    Happy holidays people!

  5. The Sun has a story about how Arsenal will so tremendously benefit because a Mike Dean “mistake” will see a Brighton player be suspended from the Boxing Day match against us (Lewis Dunk). It may be that the first yellow called on Dunk in whatever game that was, was a mistake. But knowing these “referees” it is also likely that the player in question should have received another yellow at some other point, and never was.

    More made up transfer stories, most of which ignore the home grown rules.

    Out of Africa, a medja story about how two losses in a row constitutes a losing streak. Next up, some medja outlet will figure out that a single loss also constitutes a “streak”. Anyone for how losing 0 games in a row is also a losing streak?

    I believe yesterday the Guardian had a story about “fans” rating how the teams did, divided into two parts. The Arsenal sub-part was nice. But the Fulham sub-part also singled out Callum Chambers.

  6. It is the time of goodwill to all men. My heart bleeds for these poor select officials that have to travel to the soft south from up norf homes to officiate and then to bank their income in Swiss banks in Londons City. Then they have to travel back home to the fresh tough north & leave the soft smog south before coming back to officiate in another game as the south does have a fair share of teams.

    Their carbon footprint must be an ecological disaster.

  7. “…..elites like Atkinson and Oliver” lmao

    If Hackett thinks they’re the “elite”, we’re in bigger trouble than we thought!!”

    FIFA did not agree with Hackett? They are not elite?
    Perhaps they thought they were overworked and needed the summer off? Heh.

    Upon the Totally Football podcast with James Richardson, some chap who works for a betting company said the following:

    “English refereeing is at it’s lowest ebb in decades”

    And no one can disagree.
    Except the broadcasters, the TV executives and failed novelists/hacks.

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