As if they needed it, there is extra incentive for Everton to maintain their push to join the Premier League’s elite: to get more of their matches officiated by the top flight’s best referees and assistants.
As Daniel Taylor revealed in The Athletic over the weekend, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) runs a constantly updated but internal (i.e. secret) merit table that ranks its officials after every game and determines, in particular, which referees are assigned the high profile matches on a given match day.
As the article explains, the decisions can be very personal, based on where the officials come from, which teams they either support or are accused of favouring based on their origins, and what controversies they might have stirred up based on their actions. Mark Clattenburg’s six-year absence from refereeing Merseyside derbies after his dreadful performance in 2007 was one such example, of course, as were the decisions to withhold Martin Atkinson from taking charges of games involving Manchester United for a period under Sir Alex Ferguson and Jon Moss from refereeing Leicester matches in 2015-16. It’s also why it will likely be a long time before David Coote, the official deemed responsible for not taking action against Jordan Pickford in October’s controversial Merseyside derby, takes charge of another match involving the reds.
The biggest takeaway from the article is, of course, that the big games between the “big” teams are usually assigned to the referees at the top of the merit table and it tends to be the same officials, like Michael Oliver, who are trusted with the job. By the same token, the “lesser” games are given to those refs who score lower and, all too often, Everton have been in that category because of our perennial under-achievement. That means more games with the likes of Jon Moss and Lee Mason and, by statistical likelihood, exposing the Blues to more mistakes.
More evidence, then, of the Premier League massaging its product rather than creating the conditions for fairness and equal treatment and, again, all the more reason why Everton need to keep striving to become one of those teams deemed worthy of having their games overseen by the best ranked referees.
The article referenced here is behind a paywall at The Athletic. If you aren’t already, you can subscribe via this link which provides a small, one-off benefit to ToffeeWeb.
Reader Comments (10)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 28/12/2020 at 20:41:34
The FA is supposed to govern the English game, set the rules, hand out punishments and anything else that affects the game, but it seems that they are merely interested in how much profit they can make and that's why they turn a blind eye to the persistent cheating and other such nonsense.
2 Posted 29/12/2020 at 08:13:52
Guarantees of no biased influences, however subtle, need to be confirmed. The only way to do that is by full disclosure and complete transparency.
3 Posted 30/12/2020 at 04:18:21
Some years ago, it was said that a certain team used to take one referee on preseason tours. Or if there is a referee you don't fancy, can you just send one of his close relatives a gratis season ticket, or is that a little too obvious?
4 Posted 30/12/2020 at 05:40:01
5 Posted 03/01/2021 at 08:53:27
6 Posted 03/01/2021 at 08:56:35
7 Posted 03/01/2021 at 09:13:45
8 Posted 03/01/2021 at 09:27:01
Thanks for the links but having the Premier League's Chief Executive on the board of PGMOL doesn't quell my suspicion that the match-day officials are far from neutral.
As for your link to the PGMOL unofficial rankings table, isn't that merely Mark Halsey's personal opinion for a less than popular newspaper on Merseyside?
9 Posted 04/01/2021 at 06:08:45
At least with Moss, Mason and Friend in the worst category there should be no argument? And the top three seem to be the most biased towards the Sky Darlings so that's probably right, the PGMOL would consider them the best?
The others I can't say I've heard much controversy about.
10 Posted 04/01/2021 at 07:29:27
The ranking is dated from September last year. It would be interesting to see an updated version.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.