PGMOL's merit table is another factor behind the PL's uneven playing field

by   |   28/12/2020  10 Comments  [Jump to last]

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.

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Reader Comments (10)

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Patrick McFarlane
1 Posted 28/12/2020 at 20:41:34
PGMOL should be removed from professional football, how are they funded? What commercial interests do they have? Who sits on their board? Probably never get any information to those questions, but the fact that Mike Riley was or is involved with the organisation tells me everything I need to know.

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.

Tony Everan
2 Posted 29/12/2020 at 08:13:52
It’s incredible that this organisation can be formed and operate without total transparency. As Patrick above says, who is funding it, who is on the board ? Answers to these questions will give further insight as to why this body needs to exist.

Guarantees of no biased influences, however subtle, need to be confirmed. The only way to do that is by full disclosure and complete transparency.

Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 30/12/2020 at 04:18:21
Does this mean that referees are likely to get the same teams on a regular basis and does this lead to familiarity with little "perks" such as being picked up from the station or a nice after match dinner?

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?

Chris Williams
4 Posted 30/12/2020 at 05:40:01
Apparently it’s jointly funded by PL, EFL and FA.
Eric Myles
5 Posted 03/01/2021 at 08:53:27
Chris #4, and has various sponsors also.
Eric Myles
6 Posted 03/01/2021 at 08:56:35
Patrick #1, "The board of PGMOL is made up of the Chief Executives of the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League with a Non-Executive Chairman."

PGMOL Board.


Eric Myles
7 Posted 03/01/2021 at 09:13:45
Patrick McFarlane
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?

Eric Myles
9 Posted 04/01/2021 at 06:08:45
Patrick, yes, which is why I called it an "unofficial" ranking table, but I'd bet it's not far from the real thing as he would have an insight into PGMOL thinking. Maybe a couple of personal preferences in there?

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.

Chris Williams
10 Posted 04/01/2021 at 07:29:27
David Coote is a walking controversy waiting to happen. Whether on the pitch or on VAR.

The ranking is dated from September last year. It would be interesting to see an updated version.

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