There is clearly no accountability in operation at PGMOL and I fear that error appears to be now acceptable.
I have stated before that several referees at professional level are not good enough. In my opinion, as previously stated, Lee Mason and Andre Marriner are among several who need to be replaced. Promoting Graham Scott last summer was a mistake for which PGMOL should apologise and move on.
They are charged with delivering excellence. Referees have to display courage and get the big decisions correct. Last Saturday was a disaster. Fatigue is no excuse.
PGMOL have a performance benchmark in front of them. This is set by the top five referees so the others are charged with striving to reach that standard. All companies review their operations and have to make tough calls. The clubs are not getting a return on their investment. PGMOL need a root and branch review.
They are charged by the board to deliver excellence on the field of play and sadly this is not happening. At Football League level the picture is, I fear, worse and I would delay the appointment of a second tier of professional referees until the mess is sorted out.
PGMOL need to offload a minimum 10 referees at Select Group and National List level and this number is likely to grow. The Assessor panel needs a clear out. Their reports at Football League level cannot be stating the truth. This season I have witnessed at FL level an alarming drop in standards.
This is the result of poor management who are not driving the trend of performance upwards. Simply put, the business needs churn and part of the management responsibility is to deliver at the coal face improving standards. This they are failing to do.
Standards are dropping and the likes of Dean, Clattenburg, Oliver and Atkinson are covering the cracks. The trend on all competencies is falling. Here is my question; What are we achieving by having professional referees? They are not delivering.
Now onto Football League referees. On Saturday I watched Trevor Kettle at the League 1 match between Sheffield United and Swindon Town and this referee is living in the past. His body mass is unacceptable, his decision making lacked credibility. He should not be putting whistle to mouth. It was embarrassing.
So this week I would be instructing Simon Breivik, the sports scientist, to conduct a mid-season multi-stage fitness test setting the bar of a higher pass level. The body mass of each referee should be reviewed. Those who fail should not be appointed to games.
The referees would be instructed to attend a Sunday emergency conference. During that event I would expect – if I was the general manager – to have an updated report on each referee in front of me and review this with each referee face to face.
I would call in Dr Werner Helsen to review fitness procedures and oversee the fitness tests. I would scrap the Performance Analysis System and re-introduce Assessors. I would also scrap the review panel. Further, I would review the coaching set up – at the moment it is not delivering. Coaches Alan Wiley and Steve Dunn need to move on.
PGMOL are having a nice time and it’s partly because some television panels are lamentable in their lack of comment about the standard of officiating. I feel a duty to bring it to your attention.
Please tune into this week’s Ref Show for more debate.