Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UEFA worried English ref system could lead to match fixing

The governing body of European soccer, UEFA, has told the English Premiership that their referee system is 'in breach' of statutes which help prevent match fixing scandals such as the one still unfolding in Italy.

The root problem is that the Premier League, Football League and Football Association are all equal stakeholders in the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO). The PGMO is the body that decides the refs for games.

UEFA says this is illegal because, as spokesman William Gaillard told The Guardian, "Refs should be appointed independently of clubs and leagues."

The Premier League has stress that the PGMO operates at arm's length from them and that PGMO general manager Keith Hackett who is solely responsible for appointing referees.

It is not know at this time what, if any, action UEFA might take. However, if they do decide to push this issue it could, in a worse case scenario, result in English clubs being banned from play in Europe.

If another match fixing scandal breaks out in a major European league, I truly wonder what would happen to the game. Would anyone ever trust the results from the pitch again?


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