by .

We’ve said for a long time that PGMOL isn’t fit for purpose and referees in our country, for a variety of reasons, are not up to the standard.

Some basics have had my alarm bells ringing for a long time.

  • They are predominantly from the North of England (37%) with 0% from London
  • They are all English – I flag this because football teams have a diverse range of nationalities – why? Because they are picking from the best.
  • Up until last week, they were all white
  • The only severe accountability for poor performance has been one firing. For perspective, 17 Premier League managers were sacked last year.

If you were to build out an approach to creating a system of accountable refereeing that put a priority on performance and fairness – they way we have it right now would not cut muster.

Certain teams seem to be on the end of worse decisions, consistently

Certain referees have very disturbing patterns against certain teams

There is no consideration of regional bias when mapping referees to games

Certain managers have the ability to move refs off their games

The only consistency is the inconsistent application of the rules

So when Mike Dean goes on a podcast 3 months after giving up football and brazenly talks about not giving a decision…

“because he is a mate”

“I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had”

… questions will be asked.

There is a segment of people in media who think fans are absolutely mad for creating theories around how refs officiate – now they can all stand down, because one of the most notorious refs of the past decade just gave up the goods and told the world what we already knew – decisions aren’t based on the facts of the game, they’re wrapped in emotion.

If you can fudge a decision because you empathise with a mate, you are not a serious official. You are not above bias, you are not above partisanship, you are not above revenge, you are not mature enough to look beyond your own personal feelings of disdain towards characters you simply don’t like. That is a problem when your decisions impact lives.

One of the most famous referees in PGMOL history just admitted he took one for the team to protect a mate from grief. This gives an incredible amount of weight to the ‘not fit for purpose’ crowd. I’ve seen headlines that say ‘this will feed conspiracies’ which is amusing, because it’s not feeding anything bar the truth we all knew about.

The framing of this headline is so disappointing – it’s like the writer thinks this is a gaff that shouldn’t have happened. I disagree, I’m glad he said it, because now we have something to fix. This sort of honesty around the problem is much needed – especially as so many of the football intelligentsia have been telling normal fans they are stupid for believing that the only thing going on with refs is a touch of ‘whoopsie.’

The moment merits an external investigation. It needs a reaction. There has to be a longterm plan for how this sort of behavior is fixed. This isn’t a one-off – it’s part of a rotten culture. It is a corruption of the game, it is a sledgehammer through the window of fairness, and it’s a look inside the mindset of a group that has almost no accountability. If a Judge made decisions like this in court, they’d be removed. If an auditor made decisions based on likeability, they’d be sued. People lose their livelihoods based on these decisions and we’ve just found out they are tainted.

This cannot go unaddressed. The first action should be to hire an independent consultancy. There needs to be a root cause analysis of what the problem is and why it is getting worse.

  • Understand the data
  • Interview the refs
  • Interview managers
  • Look at the training
  • Look at the processes around improvement
  • Look at how discipline is dished out
  • Spend time with refs in realtime
  • Come back with recommendations that haven’t been influenced

Mike Dean’s comment has rocked the belief that there is fairness in the game, the severity means the investigations findings should be made public so we can see how PGMOL plan to fix them.

Will anything like that happen? No. Because Howard Webb is one of the boys. His job is to protect referees at all costs – not the integrity of the game. Until we put someone in charge who knows how to be a change agent in a rotten organization, we’ll keep seeing the decline of standards, and we’ll occasionally get snippets like this that confirm our worst fears.

Right, get on the latest podcast.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Arteta has become obsessed with this inverted full back shit…
    Just stop it like oil…

    That one ok UN…

    Can I get you to proof read before I post as to not upset you…

    Tremendous What A Toff ,,,,, you are

    In fact I will call you TWAT…as a term of of luv…

  2. Un


    Ones man’s toff is another man’s chav
    Just ask Jamie
    Chill your herbs princess
    Goooos frabla
    Go and have a cold shower
    Smoke a joint
    Have a five knuckle shuffle
    Or i dunno I’ll try the latest- go outside and touch some grass

  3. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Un no,,,

    You my fiend have started a battle I want to finish.,.

    Thought you were Bobby big bollocks with your comment against me…
    I will tell you to chill out ,,,
    Up till then I have a new game called winding the cunt up…
    Ya get me… you sure will.

  4. Pierre


    3 games against average opponents and not one big chance created by Odegaard، Saka or Martinelli who were our creative force last season.

    Vieira، Trossard and Rice have each created one big chance apiece but our main creators are not producing، is it the new system that is stunting their creativity، is it the lack of full backs higher up the pitch or maybe Odegaard، Saka and Martinelli are being too selfish and are making the wrong decisions by taking a shot at goal when they could be bringing the likes of havertz into play.

    To emphasise my point
    Martinelli 4 shots
    Odegaard 3 shots
    Saka 3 shots

    Compared to the more central
    Trossard zero shots
    Havertz one shot

    Though Eddie managed to get a few shots away due to his link up play with Vieira.

    Personally I would like to see our creative players look more for our central offensive players in the box instead of option for the strike on goal.

  5. TR7

    Re Harvertz : Working hard and running off the ball is not enough for any attacking player starting for Arsenal. You need to make things happen on the pitch.

  6. Un

    Agree but it’s his 3rd game
    Martinelli was shit tonight
    Let’s highlight that
    Why is he getting a pass?
    He’s settled

  7. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    I’m a married man with kids in me 70s…
    If you are offering me out…
    So be it… you complete cretin a typical keyboard warrior..
    Take your mums tit out of your mouth and wipe the spunk from her tits….
    I’m a battle you started and I will win…,,.

    Diss me again you cunt and I will pop over to the shitty bombers paradise where you live you fool.

  8. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Un maybe you should get a job in a morgue … u n jimmy share a likeness,,,

    Weirdo …
    Have you seen your sister lately .

  9. TitsMcGee

    Agree but it’s his 3rd game“

    Guy played preseason didn’t he? He also played 3 seasons for Chelsea as well and couldn’t hit water if he fell off a boat there either.

  10. One

    Again, Saka’s to blame for loosing the plot twice. Should have defended that corner by forcing Palhinha’s accuracy off. Idiots blaming Aaron for the second goal are exactly that, Idiots. Kai’s play is completely instructional, Manager’s to blame for that. The idiots are blaming Kai and Ramsdale for doing nothing to stop goals that they may or may not stop, but not blaming Saka for his errors in those goals, Hypocrites. One idiot here even blamed Zinchenko for the corner. I’m confounded by the amount of blindness for somebody they favour (Saka) but Kai who isn’t to blame for us conceding is receiving flak for not doing more.

  11. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    U n

    You started this by coating my opinions on the watery sake played,,,

    You just a big Irish bully …
    Ain’t the 70s no more paddy,,,,
    You learnt to use the shovel yet,

  12. Pierre

    Personally I think Havertz would make a good centre mid in the Rice mould ، I think he is wrongly thought of as being a striker /creator ، whereas in reality he is happy recycling the football.

  13. Josip Skoblar

    I have just watched again the game. Ramsdale’s positioning on the first goal was absolutely awful! He is a liability.
    On the upside, Vieira had a good game.

  14. Nigel Tufnel

    Pierre makes some interesting points with stats. Worth thinking about, analising, rather than screaming in anger on the internet.

    To the mob, somehow it’s all Havertz fault, and Partey is the victim of Havertz shoehorning even though that began last season.
    They don’t even think before they write.

  15. Josip Skoblar

    Maybe. But he has the reputation of being a Zidane-type offensive midfield . That’s what Lothar Matthäus says.

  16. One

    Pierre Thank You for that link. I was watching the match seeing opportunities for Saka and Odegaard to make crosses for Kai and Martinelli to run into, but no… They’re not to blame, Kai didn’t do more. Some will call me a Kai wanker, truth is, I never really like Kai until a match ago when I watched him help us truly hold the ball and control a game we needed control over after the red card. People keep underestimating him when he’s done what he was told to do. The others aren’t trying to rely on him more. He still gets blamed for our key players errors in part.

  17. Un

    I’m English 😂
    There’s no fool like an old fool
    As Jamie said this week
    What is a bloke of your age doing on the internet?
    Did your old winkie stop working? Try some viagra
    Get your life back on track

  18. Un

    He’s an off the ball player
    Nigel posted a great video this week of how Martinelli and tomiyasu kept kissing his runs as they didn’t have the capacity to spot and execute the pass
    He will come good
    Unlike rspca
    He will never come again

  19. EdTheRed

    UnAugust 26, 2023 20:31:17
    Just getting called a racist piece of shit
    For what?

    You know for what. Quite few won’t forget that shit from yesterday.It’s quite pathetic reading you trying to warm your way back into this blog.

    RSOCA had sussed you out anyway. My respect to him.

  20. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    So the internet is only for youngsters…
    Could you become anymore of a cunt that you are,,,, I bet your parents are cowering in a room thinking where did we go wrong with this c7nt… the others come out ok… arguing over whose thought you are … old man thinking I should have done vinegar strokes… mum thinking I should have kept the affair with theman next door.

    Bastard in al, terms of the word.

  21. Paulie

    I’m not a havertz fan, I think he was an outrageous waste of 65 million pounds but he’s not to blame for the debacle today, the blame lies completely with Artetas lack of knowledge and Ramsdales continuous mistakes

  22. Nigel Tufnel

    I probably will watch it again.
    You mock people who do research and yet you are proudly ignorant judging from what you post here.
    I’ll keep trying to learn and understand better, whatever goes wrong or goes right.

  23. One

    R.S.P.C Saka’s at fault. Paulie can say what he wants, but anybody with half a brain can tell Saka should have put Pahlinha under pressure and not stand off him.

  24. One

    Saka gave the ball away too easily for the first forcing Aaron to back track centrally because of the player in the middle which was the most likely option for Pereira to play to. Nobody would expect him to try to score from that distance. Most would expect a pass to the player in the centre.

  25. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    One I switched off by then…
    You could tell something was wrong with the team today
    Ben white has never spent so much time in the oppos half… thataint right

  26. Pierre

    Today v fulham ، Martinelli and Odegaard made a total of 98 passes with zero KEY passes.

    Today v fulham ، Havertz and Trossard made a total of 39 passes with 5 KEY passes ( 3 trossard 2 havertz).

    Its important to remember that KEY passes are vital for creating chances، anyone can pass sideways and backwards ، the difference makes are the players who can pick a pass in the final third of th pitch and that’s why the likes of Debruyne، Maddison fernandes and Trent Arnold are so important، Odegaard is nearly in that category but so far this season he is playing in recycling mode and we need him to raise his game…

  27. Nigel Tufnel

    I was saying earlier today, BEFORE the game, that Martinelli has been awful so far this season.

    I take no joy from it, because I love our guy, but he is one big reason we haven’t looked good.
    I did post the video of Gabby completely missing about 8 of Havertz runs last week alone, with his head down, but the blame goes straight to Havertz from the scapegoaters.

    Any of Saka, White or Ødegaard would have found him almost every time.
    As I said earlier, Zinchenko won’t miss those runs.
    And lets be honest.. the assist to Eddie was not on purpose, and Eddie’s penalty was a designed set piece play.

    Maybe a run out for Reiss will shake him awake?

  28. Pierre

    Vieira could be seriously knocking on the door in the next few weeks if our creator don’t not raise their game.

    Yes he was only on the pitch for half hour but his contribution was immense ، he played it simple when need be(100% pass success) ، he won a penalty by delaying the cross and tempting the defender to make the tackle، and his assist for Eddie’s goal had everything you want in a killer ball ، pace، accuracy and into the corridor of uncertainty، that ball was meat and drink for Eddie ، he rarely receives a ball like that because both saka and Martinelli usually cut back onto their favourite foot..

  29. David.D

    In response to One or whatever his name is.
    If Zinchenko doesn’t lose the ball they don’t go into our third and get the corner and score from it.
    Quite simple really

  30. Kpankulu

    What? I’m stunned. I read articles confirming that they have that sort of relationship with them just being friends, heck, it said after their world cup win, one of the players jokingly purported the both of them getting married and everybody laughed. Why are they changed tune? [@One] – – –

    Are you referring to Rubiales and Hermoso? Where did you read the articles?

  31. Kpankulu

    Fabio to be our savior after spending 200m. Fuck my life. [@raptora] – – –

    Did not age well, eh? That’s why we watch the game until the end.

  32. Kpankulu

    1. Blaming Kai Havertz for our tying the game is simply simplistic screeching and moaning. Did he score two own goals?

    2. Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah are steadily causing their vitriolic haters tummy heartburn.

    3. Simply expecting to beat any team in the Premiership based on the opponent’s last game or name or reputation [on paper] is the height of arrogance. I am not happy we didn’t win, but at least I’m aware that no team wins ALL its games. Some of you will still cuss the gaffer out even if was a tough narrow loss to a [on paper] very tough team like Liverpool or Manchester City.

    Just calm the fuck down and remember that despite the anger flowing through the fan base, it was just a freaking game. Games are won, lost, and drawn home and away by any team on any given day. There are thirty-five more games to go.