As the evidence shows, VAR is not the problem. The problem is PGMO

By Walter Broeckx

I have been calling for VAR for a long time. And I still want VAR in football. Even after recent events. Why? Because I know that refs make mistakes and I want to make sure that referees make as few mistakes as possible. And I want errors to be corrected.

And I also know that VAR can work for I see it working in various countries.  Will we get rid of 100% of the wrong decisions. No. We will not. Never. But we can reduce the errors as much as possible.

As I have always said in order to achieve that goal you must first of all believe in the system and learn from the mistakes. And most of all you have to be transparent about the decisions VAR and the referee have made.

And once again I have to refer to Holland as an excellent example. Each week they show and explain a certain decision on how they came to the conclusion they did. Completely transparent.

But PGMO and transparency… well these words have never matched. I have been calling for the head of Mike – ref 50 – Riley for many years. For not having enough referees in the PL, for his bias against Arsenal, for allowing his refs without punishment to openly show their bias against Arsenal.

But now things are getting completely out of hand.  By the time we played our 10th match this season we had had four of these matches refereed by the same ref: Martin Atkinson. That is 40% of the matches by the same ref. That is a possible 12 points that he alone has been able to allow you to have…or not have. With Atkinson’s track record we know that he will do anything to not get us 3 points in any match.

Atkinson is like his namesake Rowan Atkinson, a clown. Mind you I can laugh a lot with Rowan – Mr. Bean – Atkinson but the track record of Martin Atkinson is not something that I find funny. I have written more than enough referee reports in the past where I showed his bias against Arsenal in the past to know what I need to know. Martin Atkinson is a loyal servant of Mike Riley.

Doing some digging I found that a certain Jarred Gillet was our recent VAR referee. He is an Australian referee who is doing some studying in Liverpool. Riley was happy to have him on board and I think Gillet knows who is the boss and who he has to make happy.

When you look for the PGMO you can find that they actually don’t seem to exist in fact. They have no website. Just an article in Wikipedia. And they are mentioned on the website of the PL. But they have no website of their own. And that for an organisation that as one of their tasks has to “inform the public about refereeing issues” as it noted when it was formed. Having a website would be a good start to inform the public these days I would think.

If we check the website of the premier league they say : “VAR will be used only for “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in four match-changing situations: goals; penalty decisions; direct red-card incidents; and mistaken identity.”

Cancelling the late winner against Crystal Palace was criminal. The Australian VAR ref mister Jarred Gillet is maybe looking at things upside down but he certainly doesn’t understand the words “clear and obvious error.”

In fact when you look at the images in the Gillet run Crystal Palace match you can clearly see that the first foul that was made was a clear push on Chambers. That was the only clear and obvious error that I have seen in the images so far. A Crystal Palace player pushed Chambers with both hands. A clear push that was missed by the ref on the field. So you could argue that the VAR would intervene and tell ref Atkinson to give a penalty to Arsenal.

After the not given push against Chambers a bit of a tussle happened between Chambers and Cahill (I think) both tried to play the ball and it still isn’t clear for me who actually played the ball further in the direction of Lacazette. Was it Cahill? Was it Chambers? It was NOT CLEAR! It could have been that it was the toe of Chambers who pushed the ball further, it might have been the defender. But it wasn’t and still isn’t clear up to now.

And then we have to look at the rules on how to use VAR and they state clearly: “VAR will be used only for “clear and obvious errors”

Now Mr. Gillet could you explain us what was clear and obvious in the tussle for the ball between Chambers and the Palace defender??? Like I said the only clear and obvious error was the missed push on Chambers.

In the many articles I wrote previously about VAR and how I wanted it to happen I always expressed my concern that if you put VAR in the hands of the PGMO you might expect disaster. Disaster like in sending the same ref four times in 10 matches to the same team. Disaster like in keeping up the secrecy on why they come to VAR decisions.

I see two possible things here: Mike Riley and the PGMO don’t want VAR to succeed and do all they can to sabotage a good VAR system. They can do this by making a mess of it. Not using the screens on the side of the field indicate in that direction. I think even Atkinson would not have disallowed the winning goal if he had gone to the sideline to watch the incident. Because he couldn’t come back to it because it wasn’t a clear and obvious error.

Or Mike Riley and the PGMO being happy to use the VAR in order to be able to help the higher goal, whatever that higher goal maybe. But one can be sure that manipulating the PL is a way of describing it.

In other countries refs on the field go over to the TV screen to see themselves if their decisions are correct. In the PL they refuse to do so. Maybe because somebody is whispering somewhere things in the ears of some people. Do I have any evidence for this? No of course. But can the PGMO prove that this isn’t the case? No, because they decide to keep up the total secrecy they have used to hide behind from the start.

I challenge the PL, FA and the PGMO to do as they do in Holland. In Holland the VAR-sponsor (yes they do have a company who sponsors the whole thing) puts up a video clip where they show how VAR came to a conclusion. This has all the images AND MORE IMPORTANTLY ALL THE TALK BETWEEN the refs on the field and in the VAR studio. It is there completely in the open. So PL, FA and PGMO what are you waiting for to do the same? Or are there things we are not allowed to see or hear?

VAR is not the problem, the PGMO and Mike Riley is the problem. As long as we have a person like Mike – ref 50 – Riley as head of the referees you can never expect the PGMO to be independent.

And here is a thought.  The video of VAR disallowing the Sokratis goal for the Chambers foul, was available, but has now been withdrawn from circulation.   If you find it popping up anywhere do let us have the link.


32 Replies to “As the evidence shows, VAR is not the problem. The problem is PGMO”

  1. The fact that the video of the incident is no longer available speaks volumes. The PGMO clearly want it confined to history as soon as they possibly can for that recording, and any other similar incident, is clear evidence of their manipulation of events.

  2. Its a question I’ve been asking myself for some time, if VAR is manned by people, how sure are we that they will not be biased? Why is it that for spke situations in the category which requires VAR, its not consulted?

  3. The points you make are the same points that I hear expressed daily amongst fans of most clubs (barring Liverpool and Tottenham, both of whom receive every favour going from VAR). Why is it that not a single outlet of the mainstream raises these points in a more public domain?

    We’ve all seen evidence of sustained media campaigning to get certain managers dismissed, for example, so why can’t they use their powers for the good of the game rather than for destructive purposes? Is there a wider conspiracy at large here?

  4. How can var rule out a goal for a toe or arm being offside it has to be the body we have seen some terrible rulings in this respect .if this continues people will go off football as no supporter want to see goals ruled out like this

  5. There is a theorem that says: “An infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time could eventually write the works of Shakespeare.”

    My version is: “An infinite number of PGMO refs with an infinite number of screens and an infinite amount of time could eventually reach the 98% of correct call Mike Riley pulled out of his bottom.”

  6. Please excuse this double posting. I posted it on the previous thread but think it is more relevant here.

    We still refer to VAR as if it were a technological box. It isn’t. It is a set of three screens that have the facility to show an incident from 3 camera angles simultaneously.

    This is how it works in England: The person observing the incident is the new ‘God’ who decides if the incident was or wasn’t what Mike – ref 50 – Riley wants. A suitable far fetched ‘footballing’ reason is given and the game goes on. The on field official does not have vision of the incident nor attempts to verify the decision of the Video Assisting Referee (VAR).

    In Europe, the official who looks at the three screens decides if there is sufficient reason for the on field official to revist the incident on a screen next to the dugouts. The on field official makes a decision and the game continues.

    The match officail in Europe has control of the game with the help of VAR. The match official in England has control of a whistle that he might as well stick up his Arsenal as it is overidden by the new ‘God’ a disciple of Mike – ref 50 – Riley

  7. I should think Sky Sports might have the video recording being talked about in the above article posting. But I am not sure if they have it or not as it’s just a guesswork by me. But how about the BT Sports, shouldn’t they have the video recording of the said controversial chalking off of Arsenal winning goal in their home match against Crystal Palace in the PL when the VAR was manipulated by the PGMO alias PIGMOB as they pigmob on Arsenal to deny them a clear cut goal scored by Sokratis and a clear cut penalty that should have been award to them when Chambers was deliberately pushed down in the box? And away to Sheffield Utd in the PL, the PGMO denied Arsenal a possible chance to take the lead in the match by not awarding to them a sure penalty that they won. Thus, Arsenal were denied 2 to 3 valuable points in two back to back PL matches. Which if not for the denying, Arsenal would have at least be on 20 points in the log as at week 12 in the PL. Some Gooners have even said it’s 22 points because there was one other PL match in which Arsenal were also denied 2 legitimate points which I didn’t mention.

    Anyway, as the article posting is saying, the Mike Riley’s PGMO is not making it a secret of their anti-Arsenal agenda in making sure Arsenal FC did not under Mike Riley’s watch as the PGMO chieftain win the Premier League title again since the club last won it in 2003-2004 season’s campaign. And even as the VAR has been finally introduced for implementation in the PL this season, Arsenal hopes to win the PL title again are all looking but frustrated and dashed as Mike Riley’s PGMO appointed match officiating referees in the PL matches who are refereeing under strict orders from Mike Riley have continued where they left off in cheating Arsenal with or without the VAR as they continue denying them the points they have legitimately collected in their PL matches. In fact the PGMO match officiating officials are looking to not leav any stone unturned to continuously cheat Arsenal in the PL and have now extend the cheating to deny Arsenal a PL top-four table finish continuously in the last 3 season’campaigns. And this season they are misusing the VAR to cheat Arsenal perpetually in PL points collection.

    But should be the way forward for Arsenal if the continuing cheating done them in the PL points collection had to stop and be stopped without any pre-conditions? I think Arsenal should orchestrate a general revolt in conjunction with other big and none big PL clubs against Mike Riley’s PGMO by writing a petition letter to him Mike Riley to explain why is his PGMO operating the VAR device differently to the operating of the machine devices obtainable in other top European Leagues and elsewhere in the world where the VAR is being used. The manipulation of the vedio assistant referees machine device to cheat Arsenal in particular in the PL this season is looking to be the trademark of the PGMO elite select referees who are adhering strictly to the letters of it. Whereas the VAR is seen being efficiently manned and used in top European Leagues very correctly.

    In conjunction with any agrieved PL club sides, Arsenal and these club sides should write a protest official letter to the Mike Riley’s PGMO to seek for immediate redress on certain aspects of operating the VAR in the PL as it’s currently being operate by the PGMO in the PL which is not in conformity with the way it’s being operated in the rest of the European top Leagues and make demand for immediate change to it streamlining it with the operation of the application in the rest of the world where the application is standardly operated. This official protest letter should be copied to the FA, the League Management Board, the company making the VAR machine for use in PL matches and the UK Parliament for their information and necessary possible action. And after this has been done and if there is no positive action taken to redress the ugly situation. I think UEFA can be petitioned to look into the matter with some urgency to it. The protest petition letter could eventually get to FIFA’s CAS adjudicatory chambers in the long run for final adjudication if negativity is encountered along the way.

  8. One thing that perhaps FIFA and UEFA (and other FA) could do, is if certain national referees get unusual allocations of games within their national systems; that they not be considered for international games for the remainder of their fiscal years.

    Such a rule, could result in no English referees being used in international games for decades. Or, at least until 😈 Mike Riley is sacked.


    Josif, that sort of question is common in statistical mechanics. I think the version we once had in a class I took was all the monkeys that have ever lived hitting one key per second for the lifetime of the universe producing just one of Shakespeare’s works (which I think was called 10,000 words?). I think the probability came out as about 1E-160.

    The number of atoms in the known universe is currently in the vicinity of 1E80. So this probability of Shakespeare dwarfs even something that is 1 per atom in the known universe. A reasonable approximation to impossible. But, I appreciate your sentiment.

  9. I feel there’s no point arguing that VAR is against arsenal. Ask man city, Sheffield utd, man utd, Aston villa and practically fans of every team and they’ll reel off incidents to prove that assertion is true against their team.
    Concentrate of protesting against the way var is currently being used

  10. Gord, thank you for that elucidation on the impossible nature of how a monkey could possibly type out one of the works of Shakespeare, even given all the time in the world!

    The PigMob is, as has been said, that monkey. The truth is that ‘this monkey’ has no interest in typing any meaningful data or information that is anywhere near normal comprehension, except what their task masters have sanctioned.

    Nothing, nothing is ever going to remain the same forever including the PigMob, it would all unravel to their chagrin.

  11. The Premier League club bosses have met with Riley today and have decided that ‘VAR is alive and kicking” but ‘investigation is needed’ and pitch-side monitors will not be used, and have decided that there is some improvements required..

  12. Walter,

    what I do not understand is why in the world Arsenal as an organisation are NOT reacting to the fact they get the same ref 4 times in 10 games.
    After all it is they who are (potentially) loosing millions. I say potentially just to be on the safe side. But statistically each team ought to have the refs a couple of times and nothing more, right ?

    So why do they accept tp get ‘robbed’ of points – and money ? I mean what do the PL and PGMOB have on them ?
    And if the rules of PL ‘menbership’ say something about such situations, why cannot the clubs who are sitting at the board of the PL just decide to change the damn rules under which PGMOB operates ? It is not as if each club would profit in turns is it ?

    This all just does not make sense if one considers it from a ‘reasonable’ point of view. So there is a reason we cannot see , but as they say, the truth is out there.

  13. Walter, I’m glad you spotted the push on Chambers leading up to the “goal”. I was beginning to think that I was going mad.

    I have a link that shows the original footage, although they don’t show any replays, but you can clearly see the push on Calum. Unfortunately UA is displaying here in mobile mode so I don’t have access to the HTML tag control.

    Here goes

    They will probably take this down as well

  14. The foul is at 2:02. It’s staggering to think that VAR operative was unable to spot this foul.

    Until you consider the organisation controlling the footage.

    The footage should be watched by the referee pitchside, and simultaneously relayed to the big screen at the stadium. Why should it be hidden from the paying spectators?

  15. @sissmic – I’m sorry to report that PGMOL has had control of what the spectator/supporter is allowed to see since its inception. The EPL and all its clubs are under the control of the geriatrics of the FA. How these so called footballing people can allow PGMOL to hoodwink them with verbage that is obviously a pack of lies is beyond me.

    The radio link to the officials is kept secret to evade the truth ever being known by the paying public. It is quite obvious that the VAR ‘discussions’ are also kept secret. The so called agreement by the EPL to allow VAR to continue with the referee not using the pitch side monitor is an absolute dereliction of duty to the supporting public. It basically emphasises my earlier comment.

    It is time for all season ticket holders to make an official complaint to their club to show our displeasure of the PGMOL & their employers the FA ruining the game with secret, private officiating methods outside the realm of fair sport.

  16. @seismic, what your video also shows is Chambers clearly treading on a Palace players foot (while attempting to reach the ball).

  17. @masterstroke

    I’ve looked a dozen times and can’t see him treading on a Palace players foot. Even if it’s just the way I’m looking at it and I’m wrong, are you absolutely convinced this is “clear and obvious”? Because I am completely and utterly convinced it’s neither of those things.

  18. @Mikey, yes at 2.49 seconds, Chambers left foot onto the defenders toes. It was accidental, but an accidental foul still counts.

  19. @seismic 15/11/2019 at 12:01 am Having watched the incident I cannot see how the goal could be disallowed for a “foul”.

    @Menace 15/11/2019 at 4:55 am – You have encapsulated the problem with a secretive organisation like PIGMOB. Every week I have a reminder of why I do not watch the premier league. I would rather watch a completely clean sport like professional wrestling – there is little or no difference between this and the EPL.

  20. Menace

    I would think it is possible for someone to get a recording of the “radio traffic” within the stadium. I can see it being possible that the radio link is encrypted, but encryption can be broken.

  21. Any team hoping to make top four will need over 70 points. Arsenal are going to need to grab at least 70% of the remaining 78 points to finish with at least 71 points …..And there is also the little matter of needing to overhaul one of Chelsea, Man City or Leicester. An opportunity to silence the critics ……?

    Booing your own player makes no sense…. Headline….booing a single player marred a 7-0 victory!

    Does Wenger have new hair or am I the only one noticed his grey hair completely turn blonde? …….no more of those pained expressions watching Messi shred Arsenal……. No more undue rush of stress hormones!

  22. VAR was and still is intended to be used as a tool to improve the decision-making of the referee and the cooperation between his or her assistants and the person in the centre. It was never meant to work against the referees, nor to embarrass them and demonstrate their inability to make the right call. What has seemed to be happening is that the PIGMOB have warped the original intent Laws. I cannot understand why there is not a seasoned PIGMOB official always required to supervise VAR and why there are no screens used near the pitch, so the referee can review the events in question and get advice from his or her VAR colleague(s).
    This is very bizarre and unfortunately typical of the PIGMOB’s approach to providing their ¨services¨ to the highest bidder.

  23. I watched a video where fmr Huddersfield, now schalke boss complained of similar issues with the use of VAR in Germany. The use of VAR in international tournaments has also been highly criticised. So claiming it is a Pgmo issue seems to be clutching at straws

  24. @Masterstroke The first foul is clearly committed by Milevojevic when the corner was taken. It looks like a deliberate push (two arms) into the chest of CC. Last I heard, this is a yellow card offence, and thus a penalty. Atkinson didn’t signal an advantage even though he was looking directly at the players. The lino should have seen it too. The fact that VAR didn’t pick it up is simply unbelievable.

    The Chambers trip/foot stamp is six of one and half a dozen of the other (i.e.; NOT clear and obvious), except when you consider that he was pushed in the back by Cahill before the foot contact took place – another penalty.

  25. Yilch I can never follow your logic. If Jack, John and Jim make forged £20 notes, there is an issue with Jack. The fact that there is an issue with John and Jim does not remove the fact that there is an issue with Jack. If the only time something was an issue was when it just focussed on one person we would have no issues.

  26. @seismic…It must be my tired old eyes because for the life of me I’ve been unable to see a two armed push on Chambers. One defender definitely had his arm on Chambers chest, but not enough to call it a push, although he may have had a bit of his shirt as his hand went down with Chambers as he fell.
    VAR’s complete mess as it stands in the PL. The technology’s OK, but the way they implement it is a disaster.So many people were screaming out for it (including this blog) when it was obviously not yet ready, and this is the result.

  27. @Tony, frankly I don’t know why you have a problem with my logic. I feel if(this is an assumption, before martin comes for my head) Germans have problems with use of VAR, English have problems with it, FIFA and uefa have problems with it, then i think
    1. it’s common sense to assume that perhaps there’s an intrinsic issue with VAR that makes its proper application difficult.
    2. It’s a fact that you cannot say the VAR issue is a pgmo issue. Since pgmo is not responsible for VAR implementation in Germany, FIFA etc.
    This your ultra defensive posture is baffling sometimes

  28. Yilch, in all other countries VAR is used in a completely different way. I can point at Holland where they show each week a clip completely in the open with all the images and talk between VAR ref and ref on the field. Are all decisions in Holland correct now? No but the VAR and the refs know that they are watched by the public and so will do their best to make the correct decisions.
    What if Atkinson talked to Jarred Gillet after the winning goal and said something like: “Come on Jarred find something so that I can rule the goal out?” I can’t prove he said that. But you can’t prove that he didn’t say that. In Holland it would be simple: the images and talk can be seen and heard. So I would bet a lot of money such a conversation could not take place in Holland.
    In Germany they removed the head of the VAR implementation from his job after the first season as I seem to remember that things weren’t done as they should have been.

    In other words:In other countries they take measures to prevent possible cheating and they act when they see that things don’t work as should be. In England with the PGMO….nothing happens, no changes are made even when people see that big errors are made or when things aren’t done like they should be done.

  29. This question is for Mr Attwood who over the years has consistently exposed d bias of PGMO concerning officiating of Arsenal matches;. 1.why have the FA and UEFA not stepped into d issued so often raised by UNTOLD? 2.why has Arsenal not done anything officially in whatever way,to seek redress all these years? Because Pgmo bias is enough fraustration for players to refuse playing when a referee like Atkinson is detailed to officiate their match. 3.isnt it possible for d clubs in PL to stage a sustained protest against d Pgmo? I my view I believe UT has documented so much evidence with video analysis so convince D FA,League company,UEFA and FIFA that Pgmo is killing d PL! Besides, what is d role of government Sports Department or Ministry in all this?

  30. Austin Paul: Untold as a small independent publisher raises issues that the writers think are of interest and which look curious to us. Our explanation for what is going on is that PGMO and Premier League and/or FA gives licences to broadcasters and recognised journalists which require them not to cover certain topics. For example, and most obviously there seems to be a general agreement not to show crowd trouble during games held in England – although this used to happen. There also seems to be an agreement not to criticise referees during radio or TV commentaries. Our suspicion is that this agreement goes further than this and includes agreements not to criticise PGMO, and not to take up any subject which suggests that PGMO officials make mistakes. As a result no broadcaster or mainstream online or print publisher will touch the issues we raise.

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