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Why bother?

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Like many fans, I followed up the derby fiasco by complaining to the FA over the woeful perfomance of Mr Clattenberg. The attached response says it all because it says nothing. I've now taken their advice and forwarded the complaint to Keith Hackett ? don't hold your breath Blues.

Dear Mr Keating,

I write in reference to your e-mail concerning the Everton vs Liverpool fixture on Saturday 20 October 2007.

The Football Association receives frequent correspondence on individual refereeing decisions across all levels of football as well as on the performance of referees in general. Every supporter will have an opinion on the game?s major talking points and we?re always interested to hear them.

Tony Hibbert?s red card
Some supporters have suggested that Liverpool?s Steven Gerrard influenced the decision to send Everton?s Tony Hibbert from the field of play. All decisions on the field of play are made by the referee and regardless of the context it is not for players to influence or advise the referee on a decision.

Select Group referees? performances are assessed by the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) and appointments made accordingly (see below).

Dirk Kuyt?s challenge on Phil Neville As supporters will be aware Liverpool?s Dirk Kuyt was booked for the challenge in question. FIFA guidelines aimed at avoiding the ?re-refereeing? of matches generally prevent The FA from taking disciplinary action on incidents which are seen and dealt with at the time by the match officials (this includes taking no action). As a general rule, if the match officials see an incident and have jurisdiction to take action, The FA cannot act retrospectively. These guidelines prevent The FA from upgrading/downgrading yellow and red cards based on retrospective advice provided by the match referee.

Everton FC penalty appeals Whether a penalty is awarded or not is a decision of the referee guided by assistance from the assistant referee. They are required to make a split second decisions based on what they see. This is subsequently analysed repeatedly by slow motion cameras and panels of football experts. Ultimately, football is a tremendously popular and successful game played worldwide under the fundamental principle that ?the referee?s decision is final?.

Refereeing has been restructured with the aim of continued improvement of the overall standard of refereeing in the professional game. This sees match officials categorised into two groups with the Select Group officiating in the Premier League.

The Select Group is the responsibility of Keith Hackett, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

There is a system in place for monitoring the performance of referees and referee's assistants. This involves referees assessors and reports from club managers. All assessors come from a footballing background and the majority are fully qualified referees themselves. The performances of referees over a season are then taken into consideration when the leagues appoint their referees for the following season.

Whilst we can understand the frustration that comes with decisions going against your team The FA are confident that the disciplinary procedures off the pitch as well as the referees on the pitch uphold the Laws of the Game without bias to player or club.

We do appreciate all of the feedback we receive from supporters. This feedback is collated and used to build a picture of public opinion and is subsequently fed back internally within the organisation. Please rest assured your comments will form part of this feedback process.

Kind regards,

Alex Howells | Customer Relations Officer The Football Association

Mike Keating, City Centre     Posted 01/11/2007 at 19:02:03

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Neil Pearse
1   Posted 01/11/2007 at 22:22:46

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I sent emails to the FA, Premier League and to Hackett. Got the same reply from the FA, nothing from the Premier League,and (surprisingly) a number of responses from Hackett.

Hackett basically kept repeating though the same bureacuractic flannel about ’procedures’. But he did agree that Kuyt should have got a red; and that Lescott "may" have been denied a legitimate pen. And he did explicitly say that he "refuted" any claim that Clattenburg was biased, and that there was any favouritism towards the Big Four. I sense that I had touched a raw nerve on these points! He did not reply to my repeated question of why Clattenburg had been treated differently to Rob Styles (i.e. no apology, no suspension).

So as far as I am concerned Hackett is convicted out of his own mouth. He agrees that Clattenburg performed badly, but comes up with no reason why he was not disciplined, and why he has been treated differently from Styles. It also strikes me as strange that Moyes has apparently got away with such an explicit and repeated attack on the referee. As if the authorities just want to shut this matter down and forget it. As I said to Hackett - something stinks about this whole affair.
Dave Roberts
2   Posted 01/11/2007 at 23:23:05

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I got the same standard response to my first e mail to the FA so I mailed back saying that was not acceptable as the response did not address the specific issues I raised and I went over them again. I got a further response today which was a little more sympathetic and basically suggested that I raise my concerns with Hackett which I have just done. For me it is no longer just a matter of the Derby result ( as frustrating as that was) It is more about the future of the game. If games continue to be won by referees then the game will die. Other sports have fixed this problem. Football has to fix it too.
Daniel Lim
3   Posted 02/11/2007 at 01:00:43

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For me, the more frustrating thing for us is that the club did nothing. OK, they might have filed a complaint or something, but I didn’t see that anywhere on the web, so I assume they did not. I also believe that if they had filed an official complaint, the FA or Premier League or the body governing the referees cannot just keep quiet like this.
gary cummins
4   Posted 02/11/2007 at 09:54:31

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Whilst the debate continues over the refing of the Derby, and Hackett continues to argue that the yellow card for Kyut means that they can not review the incident again - FIFA guidelines etc everyone seems to be quiet regarding "bottler"Carragher.

My understanding is that if the ref misses an incident there is provision for retrospective action from the FA. Everyone agrees that it was a pen (even Hackett) therefore shouldn’t a panel be conviened and Carragher be given a red card? - Don’t hold your breath though.
Allan Hobbs
5   Posted 02/11/2007 at 10:15:17

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Now I know I’m likely to get the same treatment as I have in the past, i.e. ’You’re a kopite’ etc, but I can’t help feeling that this is a reasonable response. In simple terms, if they went about upgrading/downgrading cards, and re-refereering as mentioned, then surely results would be all over the place, referees wouldn’t have a clue whether their decisions were right or not (at least currently they’re decisions are pretty much final) and both players & fans would be lost as well. We’d end up having discussions about whether so & so was likely to be red carded for the yellow he just recieved, or someones red card was going to be reduced to a yellow after the ’panel’ had been over the game with a fine toothcomb. Its just not practical, and removes a huge part of what makes football great - unpredictability, human error, and the simplicity of the game at all levels. The beauty of football is that anyone, anywhere can pick up a ball, put down some markers (jumpers for goalposts!) and just play - this is the pure reason that football is the world game.

I know this is about everyone getting a fair crack of the whip, and that alot of people feel that the big teams are favoured over the so called lesser teams - but to say that this is anything new is beyond me. Sport always has its top teams, top players, big guns, whatever you want to call them, always has always will; and to some degree they’ll always be favoured. I don’t think that this debate should be pushed under the carpet, but I also don’t believe that the FA, Premier League, UEFA, FIFA or whoever you care to mention, is ever going to be able to please all of the people all of the time. Referees and linesmen from pub footy up to the World Cup Finals are berated and slated for bad decisions the world over - if you sanitise the game and make everything clear-cut, I think it loses its soul, and that for me would be the downfall of everything we know and love.
Shaun Brennan
6   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:15:51

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Don’t you just love those generic emails. He’s probably set up his inbox with auto replies.
Still rather he didn’t fob us on and gave us a email containing some substance.
Neil Pearse
7   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:15:07

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Allan, I am with you on not upgrading / downgrading red cards willy-nilly, which I agree would create chaos.

However, that does not mean that certain actions should not be taken. Kuyt should be additionally charged with violent conduct and banned for a number of games (there are lots of precedents for this). And Clattenburg should be ’relieved of duties’ for a number of games (again there are precedents here).

There are no reasons not to take these actions - except that the authorities are in the pockets of the Reds. Which is the whole problem in the first place.
Allan Hobbs
8   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:24:23

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Neil - its something of a moot point though; I’ve spoken to non Evertonians about this, and while they agree that Clattenburg’s performance was dire, banning him wouldn’t actually change anything from that game, or games to come.

Kuyt’s challenge was bad, both feet off the ground etc, but there are bad tackles in every game every week that go unpunished - we as blues are ruled by our hearts rather than our heads to be fair where the RS are concerned at least. If it’d been any other club would we be so bothered? I doubt it. Would Kuyt getting a ban make any difference to the result? Again, no so whats the point? Phil Neville agreed that it was a bad tackle (he missed too by the way!) but also said that in Kuyt’s defence he’s not a dirty player and maybe just had a rush of blood. I’m not defending Kuyt because it WAS a red card offence, but I just don’t think that if it’d been a West Ham or Wigan player we’d be that arsed.
Neil Pearse
9   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:39:37

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See your points Allan, but I think I still see it differently. Of course nothing will change the result of this game, nor would I be in favour of changing such results after the event - that way madness lies!

The point is for the authorities to come down hard on what appears to be bias on the part of the referee. Everyone I know in London - whoever they support - was astonished by Clattenburg and believe he was biased in favour of the Reds. Not least because Carragher and Gerrard appeared to be refereeing the game!

If, as seems to be the case, the authorities do nothing (even though, for example, Styles was rested after giving a penalty against Liverpool), then the suspicion of bias is confirmed. Clattenburg by Hackett’s admission made some major errors, but he is not being punished. Kuyt is guilty as everyone agrees of very dangerous play, but he is not being punished. The authorities could easily act. They are not doing so. This is damaging the game. So why don’t they act?

To put your question another way: if Clattenburg had been refereeing Wigan and Kuyt was a Wigan player (let’s say against Liverpool, tackling the Reds’ capatain), do you think the authorities would have acted? I know what I think.
Allan Hobbs
10   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:48:20

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They don;t act on Kuyt as per the reply at the beginning of this thread - which I tend to agree with. If they start punishing people after the event, then we go back to the point that referees become pawns, which they are slowly becoming anyway. I actually think its part & parcel of the game for their to be bad decisions. Call me an old romantic but there are so many of them littered throughout the history of football that they’re one of the great things about the game - one of the great things about sport in general is the cock ups by officials!

Clettenburg missed a game last week, and we were told it was because of a re-planned holiday - really? I did love Davey’s comments on all this, the thing about Battenburg going on tour with the RS was genius!

Your final point about the Wigan player I totally agree with, there is certainly bias towards the top teams, but this isn’t new, its always been there and always will. I dont think we can eradicate that, we just have to live with it like we always have - the only reason this is becoming so much more of an issue these days is because of technology and coverage. Back in the day, we only had match reports, eyewitness accounts and radio commentary - now we have endless replays, and endless debate so it ’appears’ to be worse than ever - I dont believe thats a fair reflection.
Pat Mustard
11   Posted 02/11/2007 at 13:01:24

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The Premiership was designed to sell TV advertising and replica kits. What has football got to do with any of it?

You’d be better off in the park on a Sunday morning watching a rabble of ageing thugs and fairies playing with coats for goalposts.
Allan Hobbs
12   Posted 02/11/2007 at 13:11:03

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Pat - are you in the right thread mate!?
Dave Roberts
13   Posted 02/11/2007 at 13:25:32

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In my original and again in my second e mail to the FA I made a point of stating that I was not interested in the retrospective punishment of players as that was water under the bridge by then. My e mail was about the ACTUAL and DESERVED punishment of a referee who was at least incompetent, probably biased because the ’incompetence’ was all in favour of Liverpool and, accordingly, possibly corrupt. The standard reply dealt with none of this and so I replied a little more assertively. That was when I was advised to forward my comments to Hackett. Howells also said he would be happy to enter into a discussion with me and ANYBODY ELSE ON TOFFEEWEB! How he associated me with TW is a mystery! Maybe he just assumed it. Or do you think he has been logging in and read the debate and seen my (our) names?
Allan Hobbs
14   Posted 02/11/2007 at 13:48:19

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Its all getting very ’James Bond’ now eh!

A bit of espionage is always fun; maybe the bigwigs at the FA have a team of gimps logging on to all the PL teams message boards, official and otherwise to keep tabs on all of us. I expect we’re being followed too - I’m calling my lawyer!

Fair point you make Dave re them not answering your question - thing is, why would they listen to A.N. Other (you) in the first place? We’re just serfs mate, nobody cares what we think!
Dave Roberts
15   Posted 02/11/2007 at 13:43:30

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I think Allen is partly right. The game is more exposed nowadays, especially on television and referee’s cock-ups are there for all to scrutinize and endlessly debate. I remember a game at Goodison against Ipswich in the sixties. I think it was just after Bally signed. The result was 1-1. Ipswich had a big gangly CF called Ray Crawford and his equalizer for them consisted of a high ball into our area which was well over his head and going out. Probably more in frustration than anything else he swung at it with his hand, caught it full square and it flew into the net! The ’hand of God’ had nothing on it. I just turned around talking to my mate while preparations for the free kick were undertaken and was flabbergasted (with 48.000 others) when the referee gave a goal. At the behest of the Everton players and the crowd the ref went to speak to the linesman who had first put his flag up and then took it down when the ref pointed to the centre! There was a brief discussion but the goal stood. There was barely a mention of it in the media although there was nearly a riot in the stadium. I recall the police having to escort the referee off the pitch! If that were to happen nowadays I think it would be a major media event! (any other old-timers out there remember this incident?)

Where I disagree with Allen is when he suggests referee’s cockups enliven and animate the proceedings. He is right about that and that is why we live with them in normal circumstances. But what happened in the Derby were not cock-ups as far as I was concerned because every single error put Liverpool in a winning situation. I do not remember any significant error on Clattenburg’s part that favoured Everton at all or in any way. And that is why I remain very suspicious indeed.
Phil Watson
16   Posted 02/11/2007 at 14:31:57

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Are you all barking mad?

Did any of you honestly think that an email or letter to the FA would do anything, change the decision, ban the ref?

Get real, this was just another game in the premier league, the ref got some decisions wrong, just get on with it !!!!

Pat Mustard
17   Posted 02/11/2007 at 14:56:32

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Allan - yes I’m in the right thread (maybe a bit wrong in the head - but that’s nothing new). It’s just the frustration of being treated differently from the so called top four. The reason we don’t get the benefit of the after match decisions is that we don’t shift as much advertising or replica kits as some other clubs.

Had that referring performance gone against Liverpool, or the other 3 money soaked clubs, then it would have rumbled on in the media for months. As it is the rest of football has forgotten it, except us.

Hence, we’d have more fun on a Sunday morning in Sefton Park with a dodgy plastic ball, coats for goalposts and no referee at all. The reference to thugs and fairies is a bit more clouded. Just a happier time in a different league.
Allan Hobbs
18   Posted 02/11/2007 at 15:29:26

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No worries Pat, I was just a bit confused, it happens alot when you’re me!

I’m betting you used to love the X-Files!?
Mark Stone
19   Posted 02/11/2007 at 15:38:45

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Your absolutely right - why bother? You were never going to get the response you were after but I applaud you for trying. With the outcome so predictable, I didn’t bother!
Dave Roberts
20   Posted 02/11/2007 at 20:06:38

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Phil Watson,

So the referee got a few decisions wrong? Fuck me was that all it was? And here I was thinking a referee made a stream of ’errors’ every one of which was in favour of one team! Here was I thinking how strange it was that the referee walked over to Gerrard and shook his hand when he was substituted and how ungentlemanly it was of the referee to change the colour of Hibbert’s card after Gerrard said something to him. And to top it off, here was I thinking how unusual it was for a referee to give Liverpool 2 penalties while refusing Everton a stonewaller! I am more than ready to move on mate but it is difficult when injustice and possibly corruption are not even acknowledged by the game’s regulators. Why should Hackett tell a referee to apologize to Liverpool for giving a dodgy penalty against them that cost them a point while refusing to tell Clattenburg to apologize to Everton for denying a penalty which could have saved us a point, especially after he has already agreed it should have been a penalty?
It is these little injustices that tend to keep the wound from healing. And no I am not barking mad. The barking mad are those who cannot see, or who can ignore, injustice. Like you.

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