Abuse of players and referees is in part at least, PGMO’s own fault.

by Tony Attwood

If you want to encourage people to attack a specific group there is one simple way to do it.  You make the group secret and select, while you make it clear that group has power.

At once people become resentful and angry.  They feel excluded, and start blaming the secret group for all sorts of things, whether those accusations are reasonable or not.  People resent the secret group’s removal from everyday discourse.  

We see this with religious and ethnic groups who have their own clothing, their own ways, and their own exclusivity.   Those outside blame them for all sorts of things: it is the start of racial and religious discrimination.

This is not to say that the behaviour of people who blame those who are not like them is right and should not be condemned.  Of course not.  But it is to point out that this is what happens and these people are not helping themselves.

Obviously people can’t change what they look like, and religious and ethnic groups don’t want to change their traditional styles of dress and behaviour.  But when we look at a recently formed organisation that has no religious or cultural affiliation but which still deliberately seeks to make itself a secret society, then yes, the consequences of that behaviour can be put at their door.

After all, why be a secret society if you have nothing to hide?   Surely if you want to produce harmony and a sense of fairness, you make the group accessible and open, as well as making it ethnically diverse.

This is all obvious, and yet the PGMO has taken the decision to be a secretive, self-selecting, self-preserving society that is not ethnically, racially or sexually diverse and which is answerable to no one.  And that last point is important: answerable to no one.

Worse, one way or another they have persuaded the media never ever to challenge what they are and how they behave.  Thus PGMO is a secret society whose members rarely if ever debate matters in public.  It is not surprising if some people start to threaten them and their families.

This is not to condone such behaviour in the slightest – it is simply to observe the type of society we live in and the way some members of that society behave.   PGMO know perfectly well what sort of society this is in England, they know how some people behave, and yet they deliberately make matters far far worse by adhering to the totally unnecessary code of utter secrecy and non-publicity.

In short, by living in their secret society which is answerable to no one, referees in the Premier League have made themselves figures to be disliked, the centre of all that is wrong.  And so it is not surprising that in a society like ours, some people will start sending them death threats and threatening their families.

And of course it is not just the fault of PGMO – although they are the people who have adopted the secrecy policy.  It is also the media that go along with this policy of secrecy.  Had the media challenged the way PGMO runs itself, it would undoubtedly by now have cleaned up its act and gone public.

The media could have led a complete campaign on this, but media interest in anything is invariably short lived.  So we have secrecy by the PGMO, and an unwillingness from the media to condemn PGMO for its ludicrous policy of tucking itself away, 

So we have the situation in which no one in the media is challenging PGMO for their secrecy, which is obviously helping to increase threats against referees.  

Of course PGMO is not to blame for the fact that we live in an increasingly aggressive and intolerant society.  Our elected politicians have the job of solving that problem, and clearly they are failing.  But by insisting against all the evidence that being secret and removed from public debate (unlike referees in the rest of Europe) is a good thing, they are most certainly making matters worse for themselves.

I am not a person who shouts abuse at or threatens a referee.  I am not making the referee situation worse.  They are doing it to themselves.

How can we tell that there is something fundamentally wrong with refereeing in the Premier League? 

6 Replies to “Abuse of players and referees is in part at least, PGMO’s own fault.”

  1. The abuse, via social media to Mike Dean and his family is wrong and I hope they catch the perpetrators.


    How on earth is he still refereeing in the EPL? he was appalling 10 years ago, he’s appalling still. He has just made (with the help of the impotent VAR) two appalling decisions in two games. Pretty sure a player would get dropped for two such clangers and Mike Riley should have done likewise on this occasion. But Mike was a poor referee and I still can’t fathom how a ref so bad ended up at the top of the tree. He continues to protect those poor at their job. He needs to go and take a handful of referees with him.

    on VAR, surely it would be better managing this on a challenge system, where challenges are referred by the coach through the 4th official to a 3rd party or parties independent of the referee who do not know the referees decision. This would pretty much only be for penalties and goals with offside being dealt with as it is now. This would stop the howlers and stop this need by the VAR official to protect the ref, which appears to happen now. it would in effect get the right decision with the aid of technology, enhancing the officiating of a match…

  2. Carl Lillis

    Taking that further VAR could even be set up in one location outside of the UK. There could be a central ‘HUB’ where officials from a pool of top European leagues oversaw for example the top 5 leagues in Europe, applying the Laws of the game in a uniform way across all leagues, after all, we all play to the SAME rules do we not ?

    I think in theory that sounds ideal. It should eliminate, at least to some degree, peer pressure, any fear of undermining colleagues, judgement on reputation, fear of media criticism. Sounds good to me.

    Never going to happen.


    Because our referees, VAR operators and the PGMO, even the FA to a degree, are run by the media. They operate more or less in a manner that will please and appease them.

    All that matters to those bodies is that after the game they get the seal of approval from SKY BT or TS etc.

    It is no surprise that 2 decisions that the media went apoplectic about where overturned, where as Xhakas that was largely, though not universally I concede, condoned on the basis of “It’s the rules” (Walton the ex ref for one bending over backwards to defend the decision) was not. You do not overturn Arsenal decisions.

    If Xhaka played for Spurs, a team the media love, it would of been overturned, of that I have absolutely no doubt.

    If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. The media do NOT want fair and impartial application of the laws of the game, either by the referee or VAR, they want it applied in a way that benefits the teams they dictate that it should benefit.

    When there was the media Love-in for Leicester, just look at the decisions that went their way during the championship season. Penalties? Allowing all-in wrestling by their back four?

    Nothing is going to change because this ambiguity and inconsistency, is exactly what the media want.

  3. Nitram – I always thought of it as purely two ex good refs (not necessarily English) sitting in a studio waiting to make a decision across all 10 EFL games. Basically they are called to adjudicate separately and each final decision would count as one of three, i.e. it would take them both to over rule the ref.

    On your other point, look at Souness (who I prefer out of all the pundits), laying into Timo Werner. When I saw the ‘foul’ I actually said that ‘he’d done a Vardy’ in that he kicked the ball one way and then jumped into the player. Vardy has done this many times, against us he done it on Kosheilny I think when they won the league. No one ever mentions it with Vardy, Kane, Sterling, Maddison, Mount etc because they are English and yet they are amongst the worst offenders for cheating in the league! Appreciate that we also have players that have dived but the above are current players and serial offenders. The league and the officials have made little to no attempt to cut out the diving and it ruins the game, especially when you see them getting away with either gaining an advantage or / and not being punished for cheating.
    Perhaps I should be more jingoistic like Chris Wilder who claims the foreigners bought this into the game, 1 – it’s utrue, 2 – even if it was true we should still be trying to eradicate it…. anyway , rant over.

    keep up the good work gents!

  4. Regarding Referees and VAR, I honestly believe that, as much as possible, their overriding impulse is to make a decision that will ‘go down well’ with their judge jury and executioner, the media, and to do this they have to follow their guidelines.

    I cant say it often enough, the media dictate the agenda. They set the tone under which the referees should referee.

    IE: Pires dived. He’s a diver. Watch him.

    Rooney ‘wins’ penalties. He doesn’t dive. If he goes down he’s fouled.

    Arsenal players are ‘dirty’ Spurs players are ‘committed’. Treat them accordingly.

    Wenger was ‘whinging’ Fergie was rightly ‘outraged’. Send Wenger to the stands. Give Fergie your phone number.

    Every tackle can be ‘nasty’ or ‘full blooded’, depending on who committed it.

    The media can ‘spin’ all these things whatever way they want, and that’s exactly what they do.

    Referees should take note. They do.

    As for your observation regarding the inaccuracy of “Perhaps I should be more jingoistic like Chris Wilder who claims the foreigners bought this into the game” I have commented on this accusation many times. I’ve heard the same accusation from Mick Mills I think it was, who actually laid the blame at Pires’ door.

    These people obviously forget Man City’s Francis Lee who was I believe the first 1st Division player with a reputation for diving and that was back in the late 60’s early 70’s.

    By the way, keep ranting.

  5. What is mr Wengers position at FIFA at the moment? Is he not in charge of training or such? This to me is an ideal opportunity to inform all the European unions that from now all VAR operators will be from another country. That way the ‘good’ refs from Europe will show up the bad refs in England….

  6. It was Danny Mills, and not Mick Mills who had a go at Pires. These things matter, given Danny Mills’ record as a player and pundit.

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