In this week’s The Ref Show I opened up the debate with regard to our Select Group 1 referees been withdrawn from all fourth official duties at Premier League games.

This will have in my opinion two benefits to the referees themselves.

  1. It will help to reduce physical and mental fatigue. Our referees operating in the middle one day and then driving to another appointment to carry out fourth official duties the next day is tiring.
  2. It will allow the referee to have a proper recovery session and start the process for the next game.
  3. The other benefit will reduce the Select Group 1 referees to the exposure of having to deal with managers when attempting to do the fourth official role.

Having to deal with conflict and support the referee out in the middle is not always easy. The fourth official can be easily drawn into the debate of the on field referees performance around certain decisions.

Trying to avoid this is not easy and when a fourth official does not engage in the discussion he is considered aloof by the managers and this has a negative effect on his status.

One benefit would be to appoint the SG2 referees in operation in the Championship. It will give them the much needed experience of exposure to Premier League games, working with their SG1 referees and assistant referees.

So PGMOL consider my proposals and do not discard it out of hand.


  1. Must admit Keith, I believe the better option would be to increase the SG1 Panel to 24. I agree that no official should have an appointment and fourth in the same weekend. The 24 would operate as a middle and fourth alternate weeks. The SG2 could also be brought in to do the fourths when the FIFA officials are on duty to gain experience of the EPL.

    • If referee is injured in a Premier League game, his replacement should be of the same category. So only prem refs can be fourth officials.


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