Pep wants to unravel PGMOL puzzler

Pep Guardiola is becoming increasingly perplexed by the ‘puzzling’ decisions of Premier League referees.

His frustration at what might be described as ‘inconsistent’ or ‘incompetent’ officiating, was evident following City’s 2-1 win over Burnley last week.

Pep was clearly perplexed by Lee Mason's decisions and actions during City's 2-1 win over Burnley.

Pep was clearly perplexed by Lee Mason’s decisions and actions during City’s 2-1 win over Burnley.

Consequently, the Spaniard gave short shrift to inane, imbecilic after-match questioning by ‘journalists’ working a thinly disguised anti-City agenda, with interviewers reveling in what appeared to be a New Year ‘Have a go at Guardiola’ resolution.

Consistently referred to as ‘prickly’ and ‘tetchy’, the provocative press and media further goaded Guardiola later in the week, wantonly misrepresenting his quotes, given during an excellent 22-minute interview with US network NBC.

Short shrift - Guardiola quite rightly treated idiotic interviewers with the contempt they deserved after the Burnley game.

Short shrift – Guardiola quite rightly treated idiotic interviewers with the contempt they deserved after the Burnley game.

Urbane, philosophical and articulate, the Manchester City manager’s words relating to his future in football and historical comparisons with rivals, Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, were deliberately twisted by Sky Sports, BBC and the red-top, rag-loving tabloids.

The fact virtually every mainstream football media outlet in the UK chose to take Pep’s words out of context, provided further evidence of mischief making towards City, as well as tacky ‘click bait’ for a gullible audience.

Who can blame Pep for becoming exasperated by a litany of dreadful decisions that have gone against City this season?

Who can blame Pep for becoming exasperated by a litany of dreadful decisions that have gone against City this season?

It could be argued it’s largely business as usual for a media, massively influenced by a need – a desire – to appease the masses aligned to the likes of United and Liverpool.

An anecdote in recent days, more than hints that City’s owner shares Pep’s concern about the overall standard of refereeing.

A well placed source in Abu Dhabi has intimated Sheikh Mansour was less than pleased when watching City’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, as well as the January 2nd victory over Burnley.

Sheikh Mansour is thought to share Pep's frustrations with refereeing decisions this season and fully supports City's manager.

Sheikh Mansour is thought to share Pep’s frustrations with refereeing decisions this season and fully supports City’s manager.

There’s no reason to doubt the information, and the fact the Sheikh feels the same as the fans at any perceived injustices, should warm the hearts of all City supporters.

Naturally, referees will make mistakes in the ‘real time’ searing pace of Premier League football.

There’s no doubting it’s a supremely demanding role where, with the benefit of hindsight, umpteen TV camera angles and every decision subject to micro-analysis, the referee and his assistants are on a hiding to nothing.

Appalling - Lee Mason seems to perform badly from City's perspective when taking charge of games involving the Blues.

Appalling – Lee Mason seems to perform badly from City’s perspective when taking charge of games involving the Blues.

But – there’s so often a ‘but’ – far too often nowadays, these full time ‘professional’ referees and linesmen are getting blindingly obvious decisions horribly wrong.

It begs the question, why?

To try and gets the necessary answers it’s thought City are seeking a meeting with the ‘referees chief’, Mike Riley, the General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).

The Life of Riley - PGMOL General Manager, Mike Riley could be asked to explain some seemingly bizarre refereeing decisions in a meeting with City.

The Life of Riley – PGMOL General Manager, Mike Riley could be asked to explain some seemingly bizarre refereeing decisions in a meeting with City.

There’s a certain sense of déjà vu about Riley’s ‘invitation’ to address City’s curiosity in 2017. Something similar occurred back in 2012.

Of course that was the year the ‘noisy neighbours’ won the title for the first time in 44 years, after Fergie had previously proclaimed City would never finish above United in his lifetime.

Sir Alex failed to deliver on his statement and is still with us to this day.

City were Champions Of England in 2012 - the first time in 44 years - despite some strange refereeing decisions that went against them and in favour of United in the 2011/12 season.

City were Champions Of England in 2012 – the first time in 44 years – despite some strange refereeing decisions that went against them and in favour of United in the 2011/12 season.

The catalyst for the 2012 meeting – apparently requested by Riley – was widespread disquiet over a litany of dubious decisions, deemed detrimental to City and advantageous to United.

It’s alleged that a specialist third party – outside of City – conducted a study into matches involving controversial refereeing, seeking any relevance to the betting patterns of unregulated – often illegal – gambling syndicates in the Far East.

If, as strongly implied, the study was undertaken and its findings presented to the FA, it does little to quell any conspiracy theories about potential corruption in Premier League football.

Fast forward to the present day and City once again appear exasperated by some of the decisions which have injured their title hopes.

The letter 'A' is for abysmal, abject and Anthony - all three applied to referee Taylor in City's clash with Chelsea.

The letter ‘A’ is for abysmal, abject and Anthony – all three applied to referee Taylor in City’s clash with Chelsea.

While there is no suggestion of anything untoward in his handling of the game, it is fair to say ref Anthony Taylor was heavily criticised by fans, pundits and in the media, during and after City’s defeat against Chelsea.

He clearly bottled it when he should have shown David Luiz a red card for a professional foul on Sergio Aguero.

Chelsea should have had three players sent off against City last December - none saw red. City had Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed! Strange decision-making from the referee!

Chelsea should have had three players sent off against City last December – none saw red. City had Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed! Strange decision-making from the referee!

Ultimately, when tempers flared towards the end of the game, he failed to red card Chelsea’s Chalobah for violent conduct towards Aguero, and Fabregas for slapping Fernandinho’s face.

As we know Aguero and ‘Dino’ were sent off in the melee.

Fabregas slapped Fernandinho in the face and received a proverbial 'slap on the wrist'. Dino saw red.

Fabregas slapped Fernandinho in the face and received a proverbial ‘slap on the wrist’. Dino saw red.

The catalyst for Pep’s displeasure after beating Burnley was ref Lee Mason’s poor showing, the usual standard for Mason, whenever he takes charge of a City fixture.

In the aftermath of Mason dismissing Fernandinho during the match, a clearly disgruntled Bacary Sagna took to social media to declare City had played ‘10 against 12’ – a sentiment shared by many City fans.

10 against 12 - City's Bacary Sagna faces an FA charge of misconduct after venting his frustrations on social media following the 2-1 win over Burnley.

10 against 12 – City’s Bacary Sagna faces an FA charge of misconduct after venting his frustrations on social media following the 2-1 win over Burnley.

Needless to say Sagna is now on an FA misconduct charge, but it’s the FA and PGMOL who should be facing charges of misconduct and negligence.

How do they explain two yellow cards given to United’s Marcos Rojo’s for twice executing two-footed ‘assaults’ on opponents against Everton and Crystal Palace?

Only yellow for a Red - United Rojo was only booked for this obvious sending off offence against Everton. Why?

Only yellow for a Red – United Rojo was only booked for this obvious sending off offence against Everton. Why?

Is it just inconsistent or an injustice?

Other incidents that rankle with City are Aguero’s three match ban for ‘violent conduct’ against West Ham, and yet the same FA Panel let Zlatan Ibrahimovic off without even a rebuke for doing far worse against City’s Nicolas Otamendi.

If so-called ‘elite’ referees are as incompetent as they appear, then clearly they shouldn’t be doing the job. They’re not fit for purpose.

Another one bites the dust - Aguero is sent off against Chelsea as the red cards stack up against City this season.

Another one bites the dust – Aguero is sent off against Chelsea as the red cards stack up against City this season.

They’re not publicly accountable and yet PGMOL members are free to carry on regardless.

Sympathy for referees is in short supply, especially when they’re handsomely rewarded with big salaries and the ‘fame’, which so many now seem to crave.

Social media is often awash with stinging criticism of referees but, if any City fan has the temerity to hint at bias towards the ‘established’ global football brands of Trafford and Liverpool, they are labelled paranoid or just another ‘bitter blue’.

Red for a Red? No, hardly ever - United's Rojo only received a yellow card for another blatant sending off offence, this time against Crystal Palace.

Red for a Red? No, hardly ever – United’s Rojo only received a yellow card for another blatant sending off offence, this time against Crystal Palace.

By their own admission, both the Premier League and Sky, want to see United and Liverpool succeed, as it boosts worldwide audience figures and revenue streams. No vested interest there then!

Surely it reeks of naivety to dismiss the possibility of corruption in the Premier League. Wherever big money is involved there’s invariably a temptation to protect the ‘cash cow’.

Will Riley still be smiling if and when City seek answers from the PGMOL chief?

Will Riley still be smiling if and when City seek answers from the PGMOL chief?

It’s not an exaggeration to say bets running into hundreds of millions of pounds are placed on a myriad of different factors in Premier League fixtures, often from shady quarters in faraway lands.

It doesn’t have to be the specific result or even the outcome of a game.

Bets are placed on more innocuous elements such as the team to get the first yellow or red card, the number of fouls committed, the number of cards shown by the ref, timings of corners, throw-ins…the list goes on and on.

Winners - City still managed to overcome Burnley and Lee Mason's wayward decisions on January 2nd with Sergio scoring the vital second goal.

Winners – City still managed to overcome Burnley and Lee Mason’s wayward decisions on January 2nd with Sergio scoring the vital second goal.

It’s comparable to cricket, when Pakistani bowlers were found guilty in relation to ‘spot fixing’ and bowling ‘no balls’ at specified times during the match against England at Lords in 2010.

It can only be hoped that any such unpalatable elements are not prevalent in the Premier League, but who knows what’s gone before and what could be happening now, right under our proverbial noses?

Bent - FIFA was, possibly still is, corrupt to the core but President Sepp Blatter got away with it for decades.

Bent – FIFA was, possibly still is, corrupt to the core but President Sepp Blatter got away with it for decades.

The world and his dog suspected FIFA was rotten to the core for decades, but President Sepp Blatter and his predecessor Joao Havelange continued unabated for more than 40 years, manipulating and corrupting the beautiful game.

Pressure is mounting from ticket paying fans in England for transparency – they want to know if their team is winning or losing by fair, rather than foul, means.

Thumbs Up to a High Five - Pep was smiling after City's 5-0 drubbing of West Ham in the FA Cup - hopefully he'll have plenty more to celebrate before the end of May.

Thumbs Up to a High Five – Pep was smiling after City’s 5-0 drubbing of West Ham in the FA Cup – hopefully he’ll have plenty more to celebrate before the end of May.

City will have questions aplenty for Riley and PGMOL, but for the sake of Pep’s sanity and the greater good of English football, referees must be made accountable and brought to book.

  

By David Walker

The winner of the Read But Never Red Christmas-New Year Competition was true blue Dave Leyland, who prioritised the Aguero Moment of 2012 above Dickov’s Wembley equalizer of 1999.

Read But Never Red competition winner Dave Leyland proudly wears his 'Aguero Moment' T-shirt, courtesy of the Art of Football & RBNR.

Read But Never Red competition winner Dave Leyland proudly wears his ‘Aguero Moment’ T-shirt, courtesy of the Art of Football & RBNR.

Thanks to our friends at the Art of Football http://art-of-football.com/collections/man-city (follow on Twitter @Art_of_Football) , Dave is now the proud owner of a T-shirt showing that 93:20 winning goal. Thank you to everyone who entered and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

 www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

32 Comments

  1. January 11, 2017  12:55 pm by Guvnor Reply

    Pep’s sanity and the greater good of English football, referees must be made accountable and brought to book, Read but never red, I am afraid no matter how much they are investigated, nothing will change, I hope it does but I doubt it very much. The first step should be Refs coming out every match to take compliments or to explain the weird decisions they are giving. I do not think that for one minute we are the only team to be picked on, but we are the only one in the top ten in the premiership that is constantly being wronged. SKY Sports must take some of the blame. FA wake up and change your thinking on Refs. Well written piece Read But Never Red. Well done.

    • January 11, 2017  1:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      There's something not right about this refereeing lark! Thanks Guvnor, much appreciated.

  2. January 11, 2017  1:11 pm by Wes Reply

    Scudamore highlighted it in his interview a couple of years ago. they see it as bad for teh @brand@ when the likes of united and liverpool are struggling outside of the top four. As a consequence they are being given all the help they need by refs to help them on that crusade.
    Great article as usual Dave

    • January 11, 2017  1:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      It certainly does give food for thought but with the 'Establishment' Sky TV and the bulk of the media, all protecting or promoting vested interests, who's to say the top flight of English football isn't tainted by corruption?

  3. January 11, 2017  1:18 pm by Mark Reply

    It's time Riley got his head out of his arse and allowed referees to explain dubious decisions. Either that or return them to amateur status and make them earn their corn. Just seems to me, since being made professionals, they've decided to go even further backwards

    • January 11, 2017  6:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      Riley was a dreadful referee in his time, so having him replace Keith Hackett at PGMOL was akin to giving the lunatics the keys to the asylum. Who can forget his 'immaculate' handling of United against Arsenal back in the day, when Fergie's team kicked off Arsenal half to death at The Swamp, beat them 2-0 and ended the Gunners unbeaten run. It's difficult to have any confidence in PGMOL while someone of Riley's calibre is the boss.

  4. January 11, 2017  1:23 pm by Mike Jones Reply

    Articulately spot on as ever David, a very good summary of the situation.

    • January 11, 2017  6:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Mike - your feedback is greatly appreciated. Often the best parts of a story are those that cannot be printed - I believe this to be a case in point.

  5. January 11, 2017  1:39 pm by Lily Reply

    In effect the Premier don't allow anyone to question the integrity of their product. that's a closed shop, it is far from transparent, it is how FIFA operated.

    I don't usually suspect foul play, but this Don't talk about cheating issue is making me think they're is something to hide. They should at least have an investigation.

    City need to keep pressing this though. Don't let them relax.

    • January 11, 2017  6:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'm with you on that one Lily, it's preposterous to presume that English football is whiter than white. I, like others, fear it could be as pure as the driven snow. Who knows if we'll ever truly find out?

  6. January 11, 2017  1:44 pm by Dave Leyland Reply

    David,
    excellent analysis of the current and inconsistent situation with today's referee's. Having been there in the middle myself on many occasion, I sometimes suffer the annoyance of my family and friends I sit with when I sometimes sympathize with the referee of the day, but I must stress that is getting very rare these days. I certainly feel there is an hidden agenda within the PGMOL being used against City? Going back in the day when I was refereeing (I got up to the Old Conference level in case you was wondering) sometimes I officiated at Platt Lane or The other Swamp (The Cliff) and or Carrington when they both moved over there. But only for the Junior teams or sometimes the Old Reserves as was.
    In those days we could not officiate on First team games unless you lived outside the Greater Manchester Area, and that included 4th officials. Knowing Mr Taylor and Mr Mason both hail from Altrincham and Bolton respectively they both live within the GM area and despite what they say they are both Rags. The rules on referees and 4th officials changed after an incident at Newcastle United, when a 4th official had to take over the assistant referees role when the ref got injured. it wasn't until 10 minutes after he had taken position that not only the ref and the other officials realize the guy was totally incompetent. It transpired he'd never ran a line before, yet managed to get a 4th official role on a prem game? After that the league made sure all it's officials where fully trained and the 4th official must be a prem ref. But that posed a problem we are stuck with today. There are not enough referees on the premier league list to cover games outside their own area, so that is why we end up with Rags like AT and LM refereeing our games. What makes it most annoying is they continue to state they don't support Ushited yet we know they do? After all who the Feck supports Altrincham, mores the point who the feck supports Bolton?

    I hope this makes sense?

    Regards Dave Leyland.

    PS thanks again for the T-Shirt.

    • January 11, 2017  6:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's amazing what folk will say when they've just won a Read But Never Red competition :-) Only joking of course Dave, there's so much more that could and should be said and written about this topic - hopefully it will be in due course. Thanks for reading and commenting and congrats on winning the Aguero t-shirt.

  7. January 11, 2017  2:03 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Referees do and always will make mistakes, that's life.
    What isn't life is the total inconsistency, and I know fans of other clubs feel they are "hard done by".
    The job isn't made easier by the fact that it is increasingly becoming a non-contact sport, where any little ill-judged "tap" becomes a foul or Yellow Card and the annoying habit of certain playes to harangue and/or try to influence any decisions.
    Enough of being nice to Referees : The Chelsea game was a deplorable example of poor refereeing. No issue with the City red cards but there were a few that could and should have been issued to those in dark blue. A fact not even shown on the self loving plastic MOTD programme.
    Since they were "profesionalised" I think referees want to become part of the match day expierience. How Mr Mason enjoyed brandishing his paint can like a prospective Turner Prize Winner.
    The standard today makes you yearn for an official like Colina (was that his name?) a referee who earned and commanded respect.

    • January 11, 2017  6:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, what would we give for 20 Pierluigi Collina's or, going even further back, a few Jack Taylor's - men of great integrity and ability. The question bedevilling PGMOL is why are their representatives so consistently poor in the workplace. Their incompetence is the only consistent element when it comes to applying and interpreting the rules of Association Football. If it's such a tough job, why isn't PGMOL pleading with the Premier League for more technology and transparency to ensure the decisions taken on the field of play are correct?

      Maybe the football authorities, PGMOL and TV companies don't want 100% visibility and accountability. If that's the case - why not?

  8. January 11, 2017  2:34 pm by C.W. Kinsey Reply

    Great as ever and thought provoking. You're right, where there's money, corruption will follow. Perhaps we can kill two birds with one stone. Instant replays, studied by a panel that quickly alert a referee to a major mistake or oversight.

    It'd protect the officials and remove the chance for individuals to sway the outcome of matches.

    • January 11, 2017  6:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      The solutions are simple - they work wonderfully well in rugby union. The question is why do the powers-that-be refuse to deploy the technology to remove any accusations of bias or corruption?

  9. January 11, 2017  2:52 pm by Doug Reply

    Yet another articulate and we'll argued blog, David. We should be learning from Rugby Union where the rules (laws?) are much more complicated and there is no hiding place for miked up referees who give a clear explanation for their actions and where necessary warnings to players. Also players tend to watch what they say to the ref as it can be heard by viewers. There is much football authorities can learn from RU but regrettably they are too arrogant to think they can learn from other team sports.

    • January 11, 2017  6:46 pm by David Walker Reply

      Couldn't agree more Doug. I was tempted to run the comparison with rugby union in the blog, it provides virtually all the answers and would defuse the vast majority of allegations or suspicions that football is fixed, at least out on the field of play.

  10. January 11, 2017  6:15 pm by Brian Wilshaw Reply

    Dear David, I can't believe you have just written almost word for word what I have been saying for a very long time. The Wife is now fed up with me running into the lounge shouting "listen to this" and "how long have I been saying that". The times I have tried to get a voice and rubbished and told I am biased and paranoid. I would love to be invited to sit in at this meeting because they can't fine me or shut me up. Perhaps it needs a member of the public there. I could add more about the bias of the fair play rule designed to keep the likes of City, Paris St German etc off the top table, and the new points system which FIFA want to implement To keep us down also.

    • January 11, 2017  6:48 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Brian. If you keep thinking out loud I might have a few more blogs left in me yet :-) Great minds think alike, or is it fools never differ? Thanks for reading and commenting.

  11. January 11, 2017  6:21 pm by Dave Potts Reply

    I just want to add something about the reporting of City games. As a South Stander, I was only too happy to contribute my not inconsiderable lungs to the booing and abuse of Lee Mason as he left the pitch at half time due to his poor and frankly puzzling first half 'performance' in our game with Burnley.

    Imagine my initial stunned reaction, then, to the reporting in The Independent that stated we fans had booed the CITY PLAYERS off the pitch at half time!?!?!? *YOU FUCKING WHAT*? It was blatantly obvious who was being booed off the pitch and it was not the lads in blue!! Now that this not so hidden agenda was openly displayed, in the face of such hostility, I feel City need to rethink their media policies. We aren't asking for the favouritism that Liverpool and united receive, just honest and unbiased reporting and our current approach to the Fifth Estate obviously isn't working. A new tack is needed, City, let's get on it!

    • January 11, 2017  6:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      Spot on with your observations and how the media misrepresent the 'facts' to mass audiences. I believe City have tried 'charm offences' with the media in the past, not seeking the blatant favouritism afforded to the likes of United and Liverpool, merely seeking a level playing field.

      The problem is that the readership, listeners and viewers of the mainstream football media contain a high proportion of 'reds' of different persuasions and the media daren't ostracize them buy giving City a fair crack of the whip. Smaller audiences would mean a reduction in advertising revenues, so sadly it's often 'to hell with the facts - let's safeguard the revenue streams'.

  12. January 11, 2017  6:23 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Nice article David & spot on. Refs are poor no getting away from that buy they are never held to account. Maybe it would help if they came out & explained their decisions but can't see that happening. Couldn't believe when Luiz wasn't sent off he had the whistle to his lips & hand reaching for the card, he should of been made to explain why he changed his mind. For me more technology will have to come in can't see any other way because the Refs & there bosses won't change.

    • January 11, 2017  6:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      With you on that Doug, but who will lobby for such changes and who would support it? Seems to me the FA, Premier League, PGMOL, Sky, BT Sports, BBC etc like things just the way they are - very cosy.

  13. January 12, 2017  11:28 am by Ian Barton Reply

    Bang on the money here David, having watched City since the 50's I can honestly say that the standards of refereeing have never been worse. However more disconcerting is the nagging doubt about the treatment we are receiving. There is a clear pattern which is more than just a coincidence and I know of studies which have identified a clear pattern with certain referees. Almost all football fans feel they get rough treatment but this is something entirely different which goes down deep into the core values and honesty which the game must uphold. Clearly given the actions of those in control of UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League and large portions of the media honesty & fair play is nowhere near the top of their priorities. In my mind the Premier League this season was shaped by Anthony Taylor who achieved a 6 point swing in THAT game, someone somewhere will have been very pleased with Altrincham's most famous fan!
    In terms of the media, am I the only one who got the point of Pep's post Burnley interview, clearly this was his disgust at the refereeing standards but given the dual standards that should probably be Prefereeing!! The PMG... are a disgrace as are the FA disciplinary body, banning Sergio yet turning a blind eye to the transgressions of ibrahimovic, Rojo twice, Sissoko, et al. It's interesting to see that yellow cards don't always mean an escape, the Ben Thatcher as an example. I could go on but I genuinely think that we need to stop sitting on our hands and give all these lamentable bent morons both barrels, I hope that this is the first step in the game cleaning out this filth, I know of at least one journalist who is looking at this whilst Stuart Brennan penned a very good article this week. Fight the good fight Dave. Thanks

    • January 12, 2017  4:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for such a comprehensive response - I'm sure it's one that reflects the thinking of most City fans. As the saying goes, 'Just because we're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get us...' because they most certainly are!

  14. January 12, 2017  1:40 pm by Sproutmaster Reply

    At grass roots (unsure if this is still going on) Sunday league managers had to rate the ref 0n the match card. My memories sketchy, but below a certain score and the ref and team manager went before a committee to explain their side of the story. The FA are fine using video evidence to ban players, what about demoting refs to lower leagues if performance is seen to be below par or indeed blatantly biased as was Masons performance. Not just the ref though, against Burnley Silva was taken out in the area and the linesman 5 yrd away didn't flag stinks of corruption of the entire officiating team

    • January 12, 2017  5:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good idea, but why inflict the likes of Mason on anybody - Championship, Leagues 1 & 2, National League, Sunday Pub Knockabout League...just kick him and his like out of football - PERIOD! I concur completely with your sentiments - thanks for the feedback.

  15. January 25, 2017  6:31 pm by Stuart Reed Reply

    Spot On Dave - and some really good points from the contributors.
    And this was all before the weekend Spurs match!!!

    • February 9, 2017  5:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Stuart - always great to have your input.

  16. May 8, 2017  2:53 pm by Sammy Reply

    There are some strange things happening in the PiGMOLe (as I like to call them). So much so that I've gone from a season ticket holder at Arsenal to someone who stopped watching the Premier League games since last season. Just like I stopped watching WWE (called WWF in those days) when I was still in school and came to know that the moves and fights are fabricated.

    I mean see last season's Chelsea vs Arsenal match where Costa kicked, scratched, chest thumped his way through the match without a card all under the watchful eyes of Mike Dean while Gabriel was sent off for the most innocuous of back kicks which even all the cameras bar one failed to pick up.

    And then the gifting of all the penalties to Leicester, nay, Jamie Vardy for running into an opposition player at speed. He alone got more penalties than the next team with the highest penalty awarded.

    The PGMOL has been modelled along the lines of the Calciopoli. Limited number of referees (a majority of them coming from couple of counties immediately surrounding Mike Riley's home town) and these "super select" referees doing an even more disproportionate number of games. They don't have to be blatant - just tilt the game a little bit by ignoring 50-50 (or even 80-20) fouls against one team and inventing phantom fouls in favour of the other.

    And then the continued resistance to technology by the top echelons of the PiGMOLe.

    Even if you exclude "conspiracies" about match fixing or impact of the betting market, the fact that PiGMOLe is not questionable to anyone other than Premier League itself (rather than the FA), the Premier League's refusal to hold Mike RIley to account, and the paper and TV media's omerta on discussing refereeing incompetence (I've seen Telegraph articles print PiGMOLe's claim of 98% decisions accuracy without applying any sort of journalistic rigour) raises some very bitter governance questions. However why would they, when the refs are only helping to perpetuate the myth of the "most entertaining league int he world"? It helps line the pockets of the both the Premier League and the FA.

    Alas, I gotta find some other sport to kill my weekends.

    • May 8, 2017  11:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great comments fella and all adding to the perception that PGMOL is crooked and rotten to the core. Thanks for contributing.

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