Who are The PGMOL and How Have They Revolutionized Officiating?

Who are The PGMOL and How Have They Revolutionized Officiating?
Published: 2021-06-04

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Keith Hackett, counted among the top 100 referees of all time, discusses The PGMOL and the history of particular revolutinary changes to the refereeing profession.

 

Who Are The PGMOL ?

PGMOL stands for Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), and refers to The Professional Game Match Officials Board that was formed in 2001 to manage the group of professional referees. The company was created and funded by The Football Association, The FA Premier League and the Football League, and had a board of directors and a non-executive Chairman appointed.

The three bodies that established and funded the PGMOL

 

Peter Heard - Non-Exec Chairman

Richard Scudamore - CEO of The Premier League 

Chairman of the Football Association

Andy Williamson - Operations Director of the Football League

Graham Noakes - The Company Secretary of The Football Association

Javed Khan - Finance Director of The Premier League, handled PGMOL’s finances

The first General Manager was former FIFA Referee Phillip Don ,and in the early years I was the development manager responsible for training and development. In March 2004 I took over the role of General Manager and did a root and branch review of the operations.

 

My BUSINESS PLAN

To develop a cadre of World Class match officials. 

The funding of the organisation of around £3million was provided by the three competitions. I had been a referee at the professional level for over 23 years prior, and during my active career I was a Sales and Marketing Director during the day, and, in the evenings and weekends, received a fee of £35 for refereeing professional games.

I was an amateur in a professional game and had to take care of my own training, so when I retired from active officiating I had several meetings with the Chairman of the Premier League promoting the idea of moving officiating into a professional status. When the PGMOB was formed I became the Development Manager and started to use my business and refereeing expertise to help shape the company. 

In the first weeks of taking over the organisation I appointed a Sports Scientist, Matt Weston, whose impact of establishing structured training sessions, usually four times a week, raised the standards of fitness to a level where the group was covering an average 11500m per game, including 1000m at 7m per second.

Referees must be exceptionally fit to keep up with the game

We worked with Polar Heart Monitors to measure the distance, speeds and heart rates during the sessions which took place at home and at our fortnightly meetings.

The Referees would meet at Staverton Park, a Hotel in the Midlands, where over three days the programme would include physical training and a review of video clips of decisions which would stimulate a lot of debate and learning.

Professor Craig Mahoney, a Sports Psychologist, would visit and take sessions with the group and covered many topics, such as body language, dealing with pressure, self-assessment, and many more.

The late Professor Gayle Stephenson, a Vision Scientist, would conduct eyesight, peripheral vision, and reaction time assessments.

When I saw there was a gap in our field performances, I brought in a sprint coach to train the referees to be quicker off the mark. I introduced the re-training of our match assessors along with a new performance marking system that penalised referees when they made a key match incident.

I worked with a Leeds based company PROZONE, and convinced them to provide a full analysis system of the match officials performance.

 

PERFORMANCE DATA IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE PGMOL.

TOTAL NUMBER OF MATCHES

380

TOTAL NUMBER OF FOULS

9636

AVERAGE NUMBER OF FOULS PER GAME

24.1

TOTAL NUMBER OF YELLOW CARDS

1229

AVERAGE NUMBER OF YELLOW CARDS PER GAME

3.2

TOTAL NUMBER OF RED CARDS

63

TOTAL NUMBER OF PENALTY KICKS

83

AVERAGE NUMBER OF OFFSIDE DECISIONS

4

CORRECT OFFSIDE DECISIONS

96.1%

AVERAGE DISTANCE FROM BALL

19.5M

AVERAGE DISTANCE FROM FOUL OFFENCES

14.6M

AVERAGE TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED

11383M

AVERAGE HIGH INTENSITY DISTANCE COVERED

901M

AVERAGE NUMBER OF SPRINTS

31

RECOVERY TIME

47 SECONDS

 

We started to analyse the issue of yellow cards during the games, producing the detailed analysis below:

TIME PERIOD

TOTAL CAUTIONS

PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL

0-15 MINUTES

42

3%

15-39 MINUTES

152

12.4%

39-45 MINUTES

243

20%

45-60 MINUTES

214

17.4%

60-75 MINUTES

225

18.2%

75-90 MINUTES

353

29%

 

In the world of refereeing, you are with stakeholders fighting off the negatives of perception and having to gather analysis in an accurate manner to produce accurate statistical analysis.

To achieve this aim, the analysis cascaded down so that the performance of each referee could be carefully analysed to produce the information below.

TYPICAL REFEREE

Matches: 35 (16 Home wins, 6 Away wins, 13 Draws)

No. of Fouls Awarded: 921 Average per Match: 26.3 (14th) 

No. of Handballs Awarded: 42 No of Penalties: 6 (home, 1 away)

No. of Cautions: 123, Average per Match: 3.5 

No. of Red Cards: 6 = 5 Two Cautions, 1 DOGSO 

Average Distance from the Ball: 18.7m (4th)

Average Distance from Fouls: 14.0m (6th)

Distance Covered per Match: 11,699m Highest: 12,457m Lowest: 10,588km. 

HI Distance Covered per Match: 1126m Highest: 1468m Lowest: 514m.

Number of Sprints per Match: 38 Highest: 75 Lowest: 6

Recovery Time: 40 Seconds

 

THE PGMOL through Matt Weston introduced a Warmup procedure prior to kick off which is now used around the world.

It sounds hard to belive that referees did not always have standard warm-up procedures, but the concept was introduced and implemented by the initiative of forward thinking PGMOL members like Keith Hackett and Matt Weston

We negotiated the first referee sponsorship deal, placing our sponsors logos onto the sleeves of the referee and more extensively on the bench side kit.

The substantial funds cascading down to grassroots football allowed more assessment of referee’s performances.

The Total turnover for the PGMOL for season 2020 reached £22 million, a considerable rise in the investment by the leagues and governing body and one must ask if it is reflecting on the improvement in on-field officiating. My view is that now I believe that standards have fallen.

 

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