Referees are under the spotlight yet again, so who governs them, and who actually pays their wages?
Arsene Wenger was highly critical of the referees after the games against West Brom and Chelsea.
Among his complaints about the poor decisions was the claim that the standard of refereeing hadn’t improved, even after they went professional.
That statement may been aimed at the Professional Game Match Official Limited – or PGMOL, for short.
PGMOL are responsible for all professional referees in the game.
They’re an organisation jointly owned and funded by the Football Association (the governing body for all of football in the UK), the Premier League (the governing body for just the Premier League) and the English Football League (the governing body for the Football League, which comprises the Championship, League One and League Two).
Given the respective sizes of these organisations, it’s possible that each one provides a different level of funding.
In addition, they’re also sponsored by game development company, EA Sports.
It was this organisation that was tasked with improving the standards of referees in the professional game when it was formed in 2001.
The group appoints referees to the games. The referees for the Premier League come from the Select Group, which is made up of 18 full-time professionals.
There’s also a second Select Group that is made up of new professionals who officiate in the Championship and who can also be fourth officials in the Premier League.
This is partly funded by the Championships clubs, who each contribute £50,000 per year.
Assessment and disciplinary action are handled by the PGMOL.
The Premier League’s website assures us that a “robust” system for measuring the Select Group’s performance is in place. This includes using ProZone to measure technical performance and assessments from former referees.
One might question just how robust this system is, given referees still make the same errors.
Unsurprisingly, the organisation is never far away from controversy.
In 2016, former referee Mark Halsey claimed that he was told to lie in his match report after a game between Stoke and Blackburn in 2011.
Despite calls for an investigation, one was never conducted.
It’s worth remembering in the future that when there’s controversy, it’s the PGMOL that are responsible, and not just the FA or Premier League.