At the start of each season we here from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) that they are focused on a number of key areas. They make it very clear players and managers will be held accountable for their actions and punished accordingly. So when are the same expectations going to apply to their members? Most referees have been inconsistent, unprofessional and certainly not held accountable for their piss-weak performances.

Cracking down on abusive behaviour.

At the start of the 206/17 season, the Premier League and the FA promised to crack down on players abusing referees. It is a pity this hasn’t been continually reinforced since the initial edict being issued. During the weekends against AFC Bournemouth, we witnessed Dan Gosling being in the face of Roger East for 95 minutes. Continually screaming at the ref, disputing all calls and trying to have a huge influence over the game. Gosling might be the team captain, but this does not give him the right to abuse the match official in this way.

It is interesting to note that this seasons directive was aimed at, what could be considered, an easier target. They have elected to focus on “technical-area behaviour“. They must consider a manager stepping over a painted white line being far more serious than a player abusing a match official. The FA and the EPL need to have a good long hard look at themselves and decide what is really important.

Charging, and finding Nuguiltyily of entering the field of play is a joke compared to some of the antics all fans have witnessed so far this season

Key moments from the Bournemouth game.

Jota gets the better of a Bournemouth defender and sets Raul up to open the scoring. The goal was ruled out for a supposed foul on the defender.  No clear foul for me. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. If it had happened at the other end of the pitch, East would have found himself surrounded by a posse of players in red & black stripes screaming in his face

First penalty to Bournemouth. No contact for me. Moutinho pulls out of the tackle. Minimal contact at best. Bournemouth player appears to have been crippled by s sniper ay 150 metres. Players surround East. Penalty awarded. Soft decision.

Wolves have a clear penalty turned down. The ball rolls down the arm of the defender and a corner is given Assistant official claims he can’t see from where he is. Minutes later the same assistant referee overturns a corner and gives a goal kick. He must have been to spec savers in the lapse in play between the 2 incidences.

Lerma is booked for elbowing Moutinho in the face. Should have been a straight red. Again Gosling was straight in east’s face influencing the decision. Bournemouth fans boo Moutinho for the rest of the game. A very swollen mouth stitches, and reported missing teeth highlights how dangerous the incident was.

Wolves penalty. Doherty scythed down by a player already on a yellow. No second booking forthcoming. Yet again ref surrounded and hounded by Bournemouth players. Howe claims in his post-match interview that those tackle are a foul outside the box but no in it? The mind boggles that someone can be so cynical and deluded when it comes to his own team.

Bournemouth second penalty. This was even worse than the first one. No contact, outside the box, yet east points straight to the spot. No Bournemouth players surround the ref. Wolves players incensed but dismissed by the official. After looking closely at the footage it is a clear as day that the Bournemouth player flicks his foot out to make contact with Cav’s leg and then he throws himself to the floor. The “contact” takes place outside the box. East should be appalled at his decision making. I wonder if he will afford us the same courtesy that he extended to Rentboy Howe and email Nuno an apology. I won’t be holding my breath waiting.

Neves clattered with a poor challenge. Foot up, studs showing. Worse than the Boly tackle at Man City, yet he payer only gets a yellow.

Successful Deception of a Match Official.

Dwight Gayle was successful charged and subsequently found guilty of deceiving a match official during a recent game against Notts Forest. I wonder if any such actions will be taken against the Bournemouth players for simulation.

As the penalty was missed, the incompetent decision didn’t have a direct impact on the game, unlike at the Hawthorns, where Forest can quite rightly argue that they were conned out of 2 points. Those points could prove crucial at the end of the season.

Will the FA and the EPL ever rule that goals scored via blatant cheating be scratched from the final score of games? If games are influenced by cheating then there should be consequences. banning a player for games has little or no impact on the team that were directly impacted by the cheating.

Seen during the game, so no retrospective action!

A quick question for you to ponder. You are at work, and for whatever reason, you decide to assault a co-worker. Your direct line manager sees your assault but chooses to do nothing about it. Your c0-worker then complains to senior management. Would you expect them to respond with “as it was seen by your line manager during working hours, no further action can be taken”?

I am guessing that most of you would be shocked at receiving such feedback. Would you be surprised if I told you this is how referees are judged on their performances?

Tyrone Mings “appeared” to stamp on Nelson Oliveira during the recent Villa Reading game. the ref was well placed and had a good view of the incident. No action was taken.

As you can see from the images in the article, Mings knew exactly what he was doing. Let’s not forget he has form for this type of offence. in 2017 he was given a 5 match retrospective ban for stamping on the head of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Is it a coincidence he was playing for Bournemouth at the time?

VAR.

I am under no illusion that being a “top class” referee is difficult. Split seconds to make match changing decisions, all without the benefit of slow-mo replays from all angles.

VAR will be introduced into the Premier League next season. I for one am not convinced this is going to make a scrap of difference to decisions being made. If you want further proof of my scepticism, have a look at the highlights from the Levante Real Madrid game played this morning (Melbourne time)

The second Real penalty was reviewed by VAR and still awarded.

I appreciate that everyone wants the correct decisions to be made. Yet some of the recent dramas surrounding poor decision being given even after a VAR review leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

Having technology is great, implementing it correctly is going to take time. I have no desire for games to be stopped for long periods of time for decisions being made, for those decisions to remain contentious. If we are going to have VAR then there can be no room for error. We also need to ensure that we don’t end up with an American Football league scenario of 60 minutes of play taking 4 hours to complete.

Accountability.

Referees must be held accountable for their match day performances. Each game is assessed by a panel to ensure that improvements are made. I am not advocating that these reports should be made available to the general public, however, if a ref is deemed to be performing at a substandard level then remedial action is required. This should not be in the form of a demotion to a lower league. Why inflict someone who is deemed as incompetent on the likes of Newport County. If a ref is found to be wanting, then they should be retrained until they pass further assessments and show improved performances.

Managers and coaches also have a huge role to play in this. Teams coached by Howe and Warnock are well known for their tactics. Ultimately players follow instructsions form the manager. If they are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to diving, then the club must take proactive actions to deal with it.

If the EPL and the FA grew some big hairy ones and started wiping off goals for cheating, as well as removing points from games where cheating took place, we would see a very different reaction from these managers.

Urban myth

I am sure this is a bit of a myth, but it is a great way to finish off this post. Franny Lee (Man City legend) was fouled in the penalty area, and he was adamant it was a penalty. The ref decided otherwise.

Lee, in his “discussions” with the ref, asked what would happen if he called him a rude name. The ref firmly answered, “I would send you off”.

Franny persisted with his line of questioning and asked what would happen if he just though the ref was this supposed rude name. The ref replied, if you think it, then there is nothing I can do.

In a flash, Lee said, “Ref I think you are a cunt!”.

He was sent off!

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