PGMO “errors” could lose PL billions in revenue as Europe turns away in disgust


The eternal excuse: human error.

By Tony Attwood

One thing is certain – whatever the enquiry into the shocking VAR error that cost Arsenal two points at the weekend says, it won’t result in any overall criticism of PGMO and its staff.

And yet it should.   It is true that getting a VAR decision wrong is not a matter of life or death, but it is a matter of supreme importance to supporters, and the whole point of VAR was that it would eliminate errors – not that it would create errors or its own.  We put up with the delay after a goal is scored because VAR is supposed to be right.

This gives a problem to the media.  They have been absolute and unwavering in their support for PGMO up to this point, never once examining the failures, contradictions and variations in the ways referees treat different clubs.

This means that the media will not speculate on how and why the error that removed two points from Arsenal happened.   Now, it may well be argued that speculation never helps, but we should remember that speculation is what football in the media is about 98% of the time with its transfer rumours, predictions of who will play, forecasting of who will win, and indeed as we were discussing in the last article, fantasies about having access to a supercomputer – a machine that costs £79,000,000 to buy, and an awful lot to run.  Even Piers Morgan doesn’t earn enough to buy one, which he couldn’t do anyway since they aren’t available to the general public.

So what we have is a bunch of journalists who have been writing fantasy tales about football, which are at best inaccurate or at worst totally wrong, now criticising one person for making one mistake.

But will they go further, in noting that it happened not to Manchester City but to Arsenal?   No, they won’t because although it is interesting that CNN recently wrote, “The English Premier League has long been decided by the finest of margins; a dropped point here, a missed goal there.”  How true that could be this season.

Given that we have cases running at the moment about bribery and corruption at the highest level in the European Union, that Infantino is accused of having meetings in secret that he should never have had, that there were suggestions that Qatar got the world cup through bribes, that child sex abuse was rife in the League, that the Bradford stadium was utterly unsafe … given all that are we still going to believe the media when it says everything is straightforward and above board?

Now PGMO has admitted two errors, and the media will probably accept that as gracious, and say the matter is closed, because in the history books PGMO never makes mistakes.   In the data that we have provided they make cock-ups all the time, but the media will have none of it.  So PGMO gets away with it again.

And it is also worth noting that Reuters have reported that “Brighton were also frustrated with technology in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Pervis Estupinan was deprived of a goal…” which of course lost them points.

PGMO is now talking a lot about “human error” as if it is an explanation, leading to PGMO getting itself off the hook.   But there should not be human errors with this much at stake.   How would you feel if you went into hospital to have your left arm removed, and the surgeon removed the right arm by mistake and then explained to you later that this was down to “human error”?

Unless you believe in a fallible God, supernatural beings or animals with extraordinary intellectual abilities not yet widely written about in research journals, all errors are human errors.

But by saying it was “human error” PGMO are just offering a shrug of their shoulders, hoping that we will ignore the fact that they could have had an extra two people doing independent checks on all VAR decisions who could blow the whistle if they thought the first VAR person got it wrong.

That they have failed to do this is part of the “PGMO never makes mistakes” mystique which the media has so willingly bought into and which brings the Premier League into daily disrepute.  PGMO is a highly secretive organisation that refuses to open its doors and allow its employees to be interviewed.  It utterly refused to acknowledge the weird data that came out of Leicester a couple of years back, the massive errors that our own 160-match review programme found, and the way Jarred Gillett officiates matches in which 45.5% are away wins, while Simon Hooper has never officiated an away win all season!

Still I am sure they say that you can use statistics to prove anything.  You can’t of course, but it’s a standard excuse.  Just like “human error”.

10 Replies to “PGMO “errors” could lose PL billions in revenue as Europe turns away in disgust”

  1. Well, the fact that PGMOL are at least admitting ‘human error’ means that at some point, people making these ‘human errors’ will have to be deemed ‘unqualified-incompetent’ at what point PGMOL will not be able to justify employing them anymore.

    By not admitting any bias by Mason, it means that any next team having him as VAR or referee may start grumbling and the next error will be seen in a different light : not an error but the start of a series.

    It may take some time, but as in any avalanche, it takes the first snowflakes to slide down for the whole mountain to come down. I hope we are witnessing this.

  2. Surely it is a basic responsibility of PGMOL and the Premier league to provide staff that are fit to officiate. Perhaps AFC & Brighton should consider legal action against both bodies for failing to do this.

  3. In februari 2008 multiple referee errors (human errors….???) resulted in Arsenal from running away to win the PL ending up not winning it. The laugahable penalty from Dean at Birmingham when seconds before a Birminghad defender almost tore the shirt of Adebayor in the Birmingham penalty area without any reaction from Dean…. the disallowed goal against Sunderland when Adebayor slotted home a backpass from a defender only to see it being ruled out for offside…. how on earth….
    I fear we are having the same attempt from the PGMO to derail us this season. I hope the boys can overcome this but they will have to beat 11 opponents and 4 refs in the stadium and god knows how many blind man in the VAR section….

  4. How many errors do you need to make it plainly obvious bias/cheating or bribery is the only option you can think of? Once, twice but multiple times of apparent incompetence? Premier league? Be careful of what you wish for, as your audience will eventually disintegrate.

  5. @Walter,

    can’t remember that in 2008 PGMOL even aknowledge the errors and basically apart from Arsenal fans. no one cared.
    What has changed is that now this is being talked about by PGMOL themselves.
    As I’ve written before. Once the thing is visible…everything changes.
    Maybe in the end we’ll get screwed of a title. But change is coming. Now the name of a referee NOT going by the rule book when checking validity of a goal has been officially given. They can’t hide behind the vineleaf anymore

  6. I recall the 2008 Birmingham match and the disgraceful Dean performance, as summarised by Walter.

    All that the media was interested in was the incident when Gallas was upset at the end, with the suggestion that he was making a fool of himself, with absolutely no acknowledgement of the blatant failures by the referee which had taken place.

    Even the shattering of Eduardo’s leg was only reported as an unfortunate accident, with sympathy for the offender, who was “distraught” and “not that kind of player”. The media went on to criticise Arsene Wenger for not sharing in the sympathy. We were to see another such event when Pulis-inspired Stoke player shattered Ramsey’s leg two years later.

    The British media are disgraceful

  7. A Manchester-based VAR tilting the pitch against Arsenal during a game refereed by the PGMOL draw-meister? What are the odds of that happening?

    A free-kick that should have been given the other way (Toney had both arms wrapped around Saliba), followed by two players being offside, both of them influencing play. Gabriel was “blocked” but the player blocking was not within playing distance of the ball, so that is an indirect free-kick regardless of whether he was offside (it turns out that he was). The player crossing the ball for Toney was also offside. What are the odds of that happening?

    The offside relating to the blocking player was reviewed by VAR, and ruled onside. What are the odds of that happening?

    The offside relating to the player crossing the ball appears not to have been reviewed. What are the odds of that happening?

    Lee Mason must be at fault for most of these incorrect decisions, but what was the AVAR doing during this fiasco? Had he gone out to get coffee?

    What were the linesmen doing during this period? Were they ordered to shut up?

    So many coincidences, and the odds against all of them occurring together during one passage of play must be immense, and yet we are expected to believe that VAR made an error. I don’t think so.

    This can not be simple incompetence. There are too many factors involved here. PGMOL is not fit for purpose. is it systemic, institutionalised incompetence, or something far more sinister?

    This has been going on for over 20 years. The Premier League, the FA, and PGMOL cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

  8. As an ex assistant referee I have a sharp eye on coming back from offside positions evn during live games. If the assistant was well positioned he should have seen the offside from Norgaard without any doubt. He should have raised his flag (he could have waited for the end of the phase even). But after the ball went in he should have raised his flag. Not doing this eather meant he didn’t see it of didn’t wanted to see it. Either way he is also culpable for the whole shambles. If he had raised his flag and communicated that he suspected Norgaard coming back from an offside position the call would have been checked. So incompetence all over the place….

  9. When so many things go wrong in one sequence of play (the incorrect awarding of the free-kick, the two offside calls which were never made, the obstruction of Gabriel), that cannot be explained away as incompetence. When so many officials are involved, and the correct decisions are not being made, Lee Mason should not be singled out for blame. All of the officials are culpable. Howard Webb is going to have to do a lot better with his excuses and explanations. This is not right.

  10. It’s got even worse after the City game. Arsenal have been charged because a couple of water bottles got chucked in the vicinity of the Angel Kevin DeBryne. Apparently, Tayor put the incident in his Match Report. Yes, Anthony Taylor the referee from MANCHESTER.

    When Richarlison incited a Spurs fan to physically attack Aaaron Ramsdale, the fan was arrested and charged and has plead guilty. However, the instigator of that assault, Richarlison wasn’t charged by the FA for his role. Neither have Tottenham been charged by the FA for failing to control their supporters. Why not?

    When Haarland pulled Gabriel’s shirt, and when that caused the defender to fall over and pull the attacker with him, MANCHESTER referee gace City a penalty and Gabriel, a yellow card. Enter VAR – who took forever to draw the lines (probably deliberately to try to get a reaction from Arsenal supporters), before giving Haarland offside. There were plenty of replays showing the original foul by Haarland on Gabriel. However, when Tayor originally gave the penalty and the card to Gabriel THREE Arsenal players (Granit, Tomi and Jorgi) pleaded the defender’s case with the referee. The outcome was that the goal was disallowed for Offside. The yellow card for Gabriel was rescinded. There was no card for Haarland for the inital foul. What there is, is a charge of Arsenal for players “surrounding the referee”. 3 of them – what a joke. It’s almost as if the MANCHESTER referee has said to City “Well, I have to disallow it, I have put the fact that SEVEN of your players surrounded me earlier, but don’t worry, I’ll get them on charges as well.” It really is PATHETIC how they are acting. It almost appears for payback because one of their own was shit last weekend and got a week’s ban by PGMOL. But “don’t worry, we’ll get them back”.

    There were many other incidents too – the deliberate elbow to the head by Haarland on Gabriel just after the disallowed penalty. But the MANCHESTER referee failed to give a foul and VAR failed to alert him to it. Or they did and he chose to ignore them, because, well, he’s from Manchester innit!

    There were other things happening – when Taylor finally booked Bernardo for his 5th foul on Saka, Tayor held up 3 fingers. That’s how blatant they are.

    What can we do? Maybe we need evidence and a crowdfunder to get a QC to look at the evidence for any sign of wrongdoing.

    We know there is, but it needs someone noticeable to say it because the British media won’t!

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