If Arsenal complain about refs, then nothing. But if Newcastle complain…

By Tony Attwood

From the moment of the takeover of Newcastle United by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia there’s been a feeling that matters are different.  And so it turns out now that Newcastle United are putting in a complaint about VAR.  Suddenly there seems to be an admission that referees are not always 100% right even when they are 100% wrong which is a radical change.  And that there is a way in which a club can complain about refereeing.  That is a novelty.

Although to be clear, the PGMO, the self-regarding, unregulated cartel that runs refereeing in the Premier League is going to investigate itself over VAR decisions concerning Newcastle.  And with the battlements crumbling it now seems that they will take a look at themselves in regard to West Ham as well.

There is even a hilarious statement in the Telegraph which says “Senior figures within the league itself have demanded accountability, having been left bemused.”   Hilarious because until yesterday there really was no way to “lodge official VAR complaints” nor indeed was there even such a thing as an “official complaint” against a referee.   There simply was no mechanism for making a complaint.   The doors of PGMO were closed, and always remained closed.

In fact, and rather amazingly, PGMO don’t even have a website.  Instead the Premier League and the Football League each have a page on their own websites about PGMO.  The pages are suspiciously similar, and are best described as the bland leading the bland.

We know of course that in the past Arsene Wenger was repeatedly sanctioned for commenting about referees, but now that he has gone, there has been silence.   Until Steven Gerrard of Villa criticised officials for “disallowing Philippe Coutinho’s potential winner for offside in their home draw against Manchester City.”

But of course no such relaxations ever apply to Arsenal, but now Newcastle and West Ham are not only being allowed to criticise the referees, but “PGMOL was immediately ordered to investigate,” according to the Telegraph.

And that is very interesting because until now no one has ever even known how to “order” PGMO to do anything.  The paper goes on to say that PGMO “is understood to have promised to cooperate with the Premier League’s rare request, and will “take lessons” from the furore to help shape training of match officials.”  Even that is a novelty.

Above all, it is all very sickening, given the way Arsenal has suffered over the years at the hands of PGMO.- not least when Mr Wenger was banned by PGMO for 12 games for assaulting a referee.  That according to the media was his fault.  This time however the emphasis seems to be on supporting the managers AGAINST PGMO.

Newcastle’s argument is over the denial of penalties in matches against Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and the random adding on of extra time in favour of Liverpool.

Now if you are a regular reader you will know that Untold has tried over the years to put a statistical edge onto the random reports of referee bias that very occasionally occur in the media.   This statistical input came in two forms.  One over the insane number of penalties that Leicester were awarded.  Before that we investigated over a series of articles how Leicester could commit more tackles than any other club but get fewer fouls against them. 

That revelation wasn’t just a statistical blip – it was enormous and constant.  Leicester fans naturally looked for other explanations, but there were none, and after our revelations both on the crazy number of tackles and Leicester’s amazing number of penalties, so matters changed.  Refs started calling fouls and stopped giving them penalties.

The media, as I say wouldn’t touch this, and perhaps it was sheer coincidence, but after we focussed on Leicester’s exalted position of being able to foul with impunity and get penalties at an astonishing level declined – matters suddenly changed.

First we were told that “major decisions in games were now being reviewed as a matter of course by a panel also involving three ex-professional players,” as the Telegraph puts it.  Now we see Newcastle and Liverpool are able to put in complaints.  (The Liverpool complaint is particularly interesting since over the years their figures, like Leicester’s were really, really odd).

Of course no one is ever going to say that our campaigns have ever made a difference.  But we can at least say we were onto the subject a little ahead of the game.

The current recognition of PGMO gross incompetence won’t help Arsenal and will help Newcastle and West Ham, which is frustrating, and no one of course will recognise Untold’s work in bringing these matters to the fore in the last few years, which is also a little frustrating.  But at least there is some movement where previously there was none.

For more on this topic from years gone by you might like to glance at the 2020/21 Data Tables page.

12 Replies to “If Arsenal complain about refs, then nothing. But if Newcastle complain…”

  1. The biggest movement will be when that corrupt clown Riley packs his bags & rides off the cliff into the scrapheap of rubbish PGMOL referees with such Illuminati’s as Mike Dean,Atkinson,Gallagher,Friend( lol),etc.Actually,too many to mention.A joke of an organisation.I’d rarther have robots reffing.

  2. Newcastle fan, I am not sure we have complained officially, but I agree with the anger, isnt it better that the PGMO are under scruitny regardless of who is the focus of the investigation, we are not part of the septic six and repeatedly attacked in the media, even though other clubs have also got dubious owners. Thailand, Iran, China and Russia spring to mind. It seems one thing we seem to agree on is that VAR isn’t working well at the moment, we need to learn lessons from rugby union, have a time keeper who stops the clock preventing bias by refs, have a ten yard rule for arguing with officals, allow physios on the field during play to make sure players are ok rather than stopping play when not in that area of the pitch and after Mr Klopps antics when playing not just Newcastle think about longer touchline bans. He was like a rabid dog towards the 4th offical and the Newcastle bench. He is worse than Mr Ferguson for watching his watch and creating anger in the crowd. Good luck for the rest of the season except when playing us.

  3. How exactly will it “help Newcastle and West Ham” ? The matches are over, the results won’t be changed.

  4. Jod, although it is true that it is very unlikely that the results will be changed, but there has for a long time been something very wrong with refereeing and VAR – as our investigation into Leicester City’s tactics showed, along with the strange “coincidence” of how refs suddenly stopped those tactics after we had exposed them. But now the media has finally caught up with the issue (several years late but better late than never) it is possible that VAR will no longer be used to excuse all sorts of odd behaviour by teams favoured by PGMO.

    It’s a step in the right direction, even though very small and very late.


  5. @ jod. It will help them ‘in future’, as they’ll be more likely to get the rub of the green.

  6. A slightly biased article and a gripe of mine here is wenger getting a 12 match ban… he should have been banned for the season or even chucked out of the game. Violence is disgraceful.
    Biased refs have not just suddenly turned up and Arsenal fans whinging about injustice makes me laugh. Your club is one of the septic 6 who should have been relegated at the very least for wanting to walk off into the dark realms of the stupid league. So don’t give yourselves a pat on the back for the self righteous campaigns for making football better when your club could have destroyed the game.
    VAR is OK when the ref asks for it but intervening when a decision is clearly correct is pathetic. It’s all about power.
    Football is, and has been, corrupt for many years.
    I believe in fairness but don’t want to see fans moaning about their club not being treated fairly because all of this affects every club.

  7. AugCaesar, even the PGMO backed down over Wenger’s 12 match ban and rescinded the ban on appeal. If you think that he should have had more than the 12 match ban it would be interesting to read your explanation, especially since I have never seen anyone make that point. On the contrary it was the referee who came in for criticism. If you can’t provide that evidence I fear you do a significant disservice to the first emperor of the empire whose name you have taken. Augustus would never have made such a wild statement without evidence. That is partially why his name lives on in history.

  8. Re refereeing: If you thought AFC had an equal chance in yesterday’s match then you don’t know the their results in matches overseen by Paul Tierney Tony Attwood has published these results on many occasions including leading up to the match. He was consistent with prior performances, a loss for AFC and a home win. It’s not opinion it’s fact. The only deviation from his usual treatment of this club was that he didn’t send off an Arsenal player.

  9. How did Arsenal manage to be allocated both a match and VAR referee from the Manchester area for a game against a Manchester team?

  10. @SelfRightous,

    you nailed it. This is something else that Untold has been discussing in the past.
    The vast majority of referees are neither from the south of England nor from the London area.
    Officially, this came from PGMOL if I am not mistaken, those coming from these 2 regions had to be ‘re-trained’, as if football down there is different….

  11. Tony,

    maybe it would be interesting to see stats regarding arsenal matches when reffed by thugs like Tierney, it seems there is always something controversial with the same referee in our games. Im also quite annoyed at the fact that when it comes to arsenal losing a game due to inept refereeing, we are told ‘arsenal should have won it during the 90 mins’ but the same is not said for west ham or newcastle, it is very interesting why the notion changes. yes they are not as big as arsenal, but if we are to say there is no bias than teams should be treatted differently in this matter, thoughs?

  12. Fuji that is a superb idea. I’ve got the stats – it will take a little while to get them sorted but I will try and do this after the Europa game. Thanks Tony

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