Referee changed after Liverpool demand; even the excuse makes no sense

By Tony Attwood

Taking certain referees off the rota is just one of the things we have campaigned about for years in relation to PGMO – the ultra-secretive agency that handles refereeing in the premier league.   We’ve also questioned the regional bias of the referee group, the fact that we have far fewer referees in the Premier League than in other major leagues, and the fact that some of these referees undertake many more matches than others.

Add to that the fact that some referees are involved in matches with the same club over and again and you begin to see what is wrong with refereeing in the Premier League.

Plus all that is before we get to the decision making and the fact that the referees are hidden away, unable to give interviews during their career, and offered massive sums after they retire to go on saying nothing.

So yes we have argued for 12 years that the whole referee system is wrong, and we’ve produced our proof too – not least in the 160 game analysis and numerous other reviews of referee actions on this site.

But the notion that one club can get a referee changed because he’s done them down in the past is not part of our agenda.  We have never asked for the clubs to be able to demand referee X should not be involved in their games because he allegedly missed a decision last time.  That just gives power to the clubs – we want referees to be properly independent, but the processes surrounding them to be open to scrutiny.

Yet removing a ref because they don’t like him is what Liverpool have achieved, after it was revealed that Liverpool’s game against penalty prone Leicester on Sunday will not have David Coote as the VAR official as was originally planned.  And for why?   We are told for “operational reasons.”

So, define “operational reasons”.   Law Insider gives the definition as

actions taken by the Company after careful planning and analysis, and not arbitrarily or capriciously.”  They then give examples from the airline industry such as “To avoid a potential flight delay, 2. To avoid a potential flight cancellation, and 3. To fulfil FAA/Regulatory requirements.”

Right, “careful planning and analysis” and to avoid the football equivalent of the above – which I suppose would be the game being called off or delayed (not relevant here – he was available).  I can’t see how the other types of change would apply here.

In short, it is nigh on impossible to make “operational reasons” apply here.  He’s been removed because Liverpool demanded it.  Which tells us a huge amount.

But wouldn’t you know it – none of the media – endlessly complicit with the PGMO as they are – have questioned this “operational reasons” issue.  They stick by their deal with PGMO never to question.

So here’s the story step by step…

David Coote was appointed VAR official for the Liverpool match this Sunday.   Coote was then replaced yesterday by Andre Marriner and he is now going to referee the Saturday game between Manchester United and West Bromwich A.  “Operational reasons” my arse.

And why have Liverpool demanded this?   Because in an earlier game with Coote involved Virgil van Dijk suffered an injury but VAR didn’t say there should be a red card.  Klopp complained, adopting a Liverpool tactic that we have seen used successfully in the past, and the referee has been changed.

As the Daily Mail has noted today, Marriner’s “appointment sparked anger after controversial Merseyside Derby”, and reported that “Coote thought the offside leading up to Pickford’s scissor challenge — which he checked forensically — nullified what happened afterwards.”

Coote however has since returned as a VAR referee, being in charge of the technology for Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa.

So there we are: a Liverpool complaint can lead to what we have always been told would never happen.  A club being able to influence which referee is in charge of a match.  Not right for Liverpool – let him do Arsenal.

There is however a positive side to the story.  We have been suggesting for years that some clubs – particularly Liverpool – and in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United – were able to select their own referees, and now we see this process in action.

It is interesting that the story does not make the news in the Guardian however.

Is Premier League refereeing bent?  Obviously yes.

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10 Replies to “Referee changed after Liverpool demand; even the excuse makes no sense”

  1. I agree that PMOGL is a very poorly run organisation but you have no proof whatsoever that Liverpool complained which led to the incompetent Coote being replaced. Another plausible reason could be that they are so stupid as to think giving Coote the gig was perfectly OK, until they put two and two together. The next thing you will claim is that Trump won with no evidence required.

  2. Generally speaking Stephen I find that most people who believe in the need for tinfoil hats know exactly where to find them. Those who follow logic and analysis of course know that they don’t work. But go ahead and get one if it makes you feel good.

  3. Actually Red Ted if I may say you make the error of thinking that writers will put all the evidence in the case in one article. But in the case of PGMO which has been at the heart of a 12 year study for this site, that would be impossible. But if I might refer you to the London School of Economics research paper into the actions of PGMO officials, to which we have oft returned, and which of course is mentioned in depth on other sites, you will find there good reason to see that there is something very fishy about PGMO, which makes it quite likely that the Liverpool complaint resulted in the change.
    And even if that does not make you feel this is the most likely outcome, if you looked at, for example the evidence from Switzerland which we have considered, and how that relates to PGMOs own figures, again you would find that my explanation in that article is the most likely.
    I think it is taken that a blog written by football fans is not going to be able to gain its own evidence – although the “160” game analysis did do a magnificent job, which I don’t think anyone else has ever attempted. So we use the evidence that is in the public domain, but to repeat it each and every time would a) take up more time than each of us who writes for this blog has, and b) be very tedious for our regular readers.
    The biggest problem is that some football fans do see individual articles as needing to include all the information each and every time, whereas that simply isn’t possible in the real world.

  4. Tony, “quite likely” is again speculation as there is no evidence that Liverpool ever made a “complaint”.. If PGMOL were going to react to Liverpool asking immediately after the debacle for an explanation of Coote’s decisons, then surely they would not have put Coote in charge only to embarrasingly change him at the last moment? To me it’s the ‘cock up theory’ really. They are stupid; put Coote in charge only to realise their idiocy when the media picked up on it, then covered their ars*s with a meaningless ‘operational issues’ defence.

  5. Worrying the power certain clubs have over the establishment. If Wenger had asked for a change of ref, he would have been on the end of the Dean Atkinson Taylor routine Some clubs are more equal than others

  6. Red Ted – let me enlighten you as to how Arsenal were treated in the past. Injuries such as knee problems, leg breaks and hamstring collision with opponents knee were all put down to poor training methods by Wenger.

    Might I suggest you approach Klopp and instruct him to change his training methods that resulted in van Dykes knee issue.

    The PGMOL are directly trained by God and their approach to this mere mortal game of football is to allow those that the chosen Riley decides are select to fare better on the fields of England. Liverpool were gifted the Premier League by this select group and any unappiness is due to unkind methods of training. The use of brown paper envelopes is frowned upon in this digital age and only cruise control by oligarchs are acceptable.

    Supermarket sweeps in Walmart do not come close to Thai massage with King Power!!

    Keep the faith that flows through the veins of the FA, The British Museum and several clubs involved in the game and accept the slavery of those that build stadia for the select in the Middle East without complaint.

    It is after all the Beautiful Game.

  7. OOOps forgive me I forgot to mention that the £14.95 to watch a game on TV thats already been paid for in a season ticket is a Black Friday special.

    Wash your hands; Keep you distance; wear a mask; and shut the fcuk up!!

  8. Mr Coote. He certainly covered himself in glory earlier. It was fun watching BTSport’s pet referee trying to dig him out of that hole.

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