One English newspaper is openly critical of PL referees, and it offers a dire warning



By Tony Attwood

There is an article by Keith Hackett in the Telegraph today that opens, “I do not think I am alone in expressing happiness that Sunday saw Jonathan Moss’s last game as a referee. It is not before time.”

With that I would agree.   And indeed with the follow-up statement that “I now shudder at the thought that next season he will be managing his colleagues that operate in the Premier League.”

So yes, I suspect many Untold readers, and our friends who have from time to time written on the subject would concur that, “Moss’ performance was frankly poor and highlights for me that in recent months we have witnessed some seemingly lazy officiating, with the man in the middle over-relying on the video assistant referee (Var) to throw him a lifebelt.”

The article however argues that VAR did not always throw the proverbial lifebelt in the right direction, saying, “where was Tierney [the man on VAR duty] on this, was he in a rush to get home from Stockley Park? Did he see what I and millions of others saw?”

All of this anyone who saw the game could probably agree with.   But… and this is a big but, there is another reason to be terrified of the thought of Moss in control.   A much bigger reason – and it is nothing to do with personal opinion concerning his refereeing (which is what Hackett writes about).

For the fact that Moss could make mistakes on the pitch is one thing – but being in control of PGMO does not mean that he is going to march into the ultra-secretive PGMO hiding places and tell everyone to “go out and make mistakes.”   Of course not, that is nonsense.

And it points us to the total failure of the article in question: how a poor referee in charge of PGMO is going to make things worse.   What is he going to do that will encourage errors?

But worse still, the article in question does not in any way deal with the really, really big issue of Moss, and it is an issue that could indeed influence the way things go in the future.  And the fact that the article misses this point really must raise huge questions about what Keith Hackett is up to in writing about refereeing in the Telegraph.

Here’s the point…

Nine referees oversaw 20+ Premier League games this last season…

Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw% H/A difference
Anthony Taylor 28 42.9 25.0 32.1 +19.9%
Paul Tierney 27 37.0 37.0 25.9 0
Mike Dean 26 34.6 34.6 30.8 0
Martin Atkinson 26 53.8 30.8 15.4 +23.0%
Michael Oliver 26 53.8 26.9 19.2 +26.9%
Craig Pawson 26 50.0 34.6 15.4 +15.4%
Jonathan Moss 25 64.0 24.0 12.0 +40.0%
Stuart Attwell 20 60.0 20.0 20.0 +40.0%
David Coote 20 25.0 40.0 35.0 -15.0%

Moss (the new PGMO boss) awarded a higher percentage of home wins this last season than any other referee except Stuart Attwell who recorded the same 40% favouritism of the home team.

Now it might well be that you are fed up with me banging on and on about this issue, so let me bring in another writer on this topic, and refer you to How the home team advantage is lost when no one’s watching” from the Guardian.

I could of course cite all the articles written on Untold that point this out over and over again but for the moment let me cite one piece from that Guardian article:

“Using data from 6,481 matches played before and after the mid-season shutdown in 17 countries, [the study] finds that the removal of fans reduces home advantage by narrowing the gap in the number of yellow cards for away teams compared with home teams by a third. Why? Fan absence lessens pressure on referees to punish away teams more harshly.”

The fact that it is the notion of the influence of fan pressure came from research undertaken by a mix of academics and referees – there is a set of links at the end to various articles on this.  It is that high levels of home wins are shown over and over to come about because of pressure on referees from supporters in the ground.

And occasionally the media – such as the Guardian article above – have noted it.   But then they forget it and go on pushing the notion that everything is fair and equal in football.

But it isn’t, as those astonishing referee figures above show.   Tierney and Dean show no home or away bias, while Moss (who is about to become head of PGMO) and Atwell show a 40% bias toward the home team.   

And not one broadcaster or newspaper columnist sees fit to mention it!

That says a lot about PGMO – but probably a lot more about the media that simply will not recognise the fact that there is something dreadfully wrong with refereeing in the Premier League and with PGMO itself. 

And it is about to get a lot worse.

5 Replies to “One English newspaper is openly critical of PL referees, and it offers a dire warning”

  1. off topic – another great piece of business by the club as Caitlin Foord sign a new deal with Arsenal Women

  2. Getting rid of Riley would be not too bad. Replacing him with Moss seems a bit … strange….

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