Premier League Referee Appointment

Premier League Referee Appointment: How It Works

The Premier League is undoubtedly the best League in the world. So it is normal for us as fans to want to know how the appointment of a Premier League referee works.

What it takes to be a Premier League Referee

For a premier league match, a match official, in this case, a referee is appointed at least seven days in advance. 

Appointment of a Premier League Referee boarders on some factors. See below these factors:

  • Overall experience
  • Current form
  • How often they have refereed the clubs involved
  • Which team the referee supports


To start with, PGMOL is an acronym for Professional Game Match Officials Board. This body is responsible for managing and appointment of all Premier League officiating (including a Referee).

Formed in 2001 to improve the refereeing standards, PGMOL is a group across the Premier League, English Football League, and all FA competitions. PGMOL funds the training and development involved in the project.

It is run by former Premier League referee Mike Riley. He and his team keep a league table known as a merit table and a points system. 

This is to identify who referees each game.

It includes every decision made.

The same applies for assistant referees as well. They can make up to 250 decisions a match with the linesmen making 50-100 decisions a match as well, so it takes time.

A former player or manager will act as a delegate and put together a report on the referee’s performance of a game.

This report is looked back on by the PGMOL. They go through every decision that is made.

All decisions have to be right, not just the incidents where they correct a player, but every time that whistle is blown. 

This is then looked back on by a panel that reviews it. Then, they award or deduct points which are put in a table. 

Also, they take into account whether the decision was EASY, DIFFICULT, or NON-ROUTINE where the incident was made.

Just like the players, the referees have a training session where they perform physical and technical sessions as well as analyze match videos.

Premier League Referee Recruitment And Appointment Process

Premier League matches are officiated by Select Group referees and assistant referees chosen by the PGMOL. They are recruited by this group and are given the task of officiating a PL game.

So for a Premier League referee to be appointed for each selected PL game, all factors of their everyday life are taken into consideration. 

Every referee has to declare, where they live, who they support, and any other relevant details.

This is then looked at by the appointments panel made up of former referees to factor into the selection process.

They cannot show favoritism towards certain referees due to the backlash they would get from opposing fans as such. 

Current PL referee Michael Oliver is a Newcastle United fan, so you wouldn’t see them taking charge of a game. That also includes the rivals of the team they support in this case, Sunderland.

Starting Out

If you are keen on being a Premier League Referee, you should take this Referee course.

Wanting to be a referee you have to know how to manage people and situations. It will give you confidence as well as dealing with everyday life.

Having a background of playing the game previously is also a massive plus.

If you can get respect from the players then you will feel you have the game in the bag and continue refereeing the game with total confidence. I’d say the first ten minutes are crucial.

You want to be the 23rd player on that pitch, not the one blowing the whistle every five minutes for a foul and becoming the villain of the pantomime on the pitch. Referees should let the game flow.

Qualities of A Good Referee

To be a referee, you need patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, to be thorough and pay attention to detail and work well with others.

A good Referee needs ambition and a desire to succeed; excellent verbal communication skills & concentration skills.

Athletism is also another important quality of a good referee.

A referee may not necessarily get every decision right but it will give you confidence as the game goes on. 

Referees need to let players know they’re in charge whether that is a caution or telling off, timing of intervention is key.

How Premier League Referees And Their Assitansts Work

Referees are in charge of the game and are assisted by two assistant referees known as the linesmen.

They advise the referee if the ball has gone out of play for a corner, goal kick, handball, or any infringement of the Laws of the Game which are outside of the referee’s view.

The fourth official basically supervises the two dugouts of each team.

They act as the timekeeper of the game which is 90 minutes.

Also, forth officials keep a record of the match which will include any disciplinary during the game and are in charge of allowing substitutions from each team.

Final Decision Belongs To The Referee

The referee has the final decision on all matters during the game even though he has assistants, including the VAR team. He has to know the game and be confident in his judgment alone.

The assistants make recommendations for offside and other decisions. But the Referee has the authority to accept it or overrule the decision.  

The referee’s decision is final and should be respected by all players and managers.

Keeping Control

Obviously, the referee has control of the game in front of not just 22 players and management staff, but thousands of supporters and millions across the world watching it on television. 

A Referee has to be strong-willed and not take any aggravation from players. Focus is needed.

Becoming a referee is a great opportunity for people to get involved with the game, improve their communication skills, body language, and how to deal with conflict, and manage people.  It is very rewarding and at the same time can be challenging.

The three things a referee is taught are to look out for fouls, recklessness, and dangerous play. 

If a player has gone in for a tackle or what they deem as a dangerous foul, such as both feet off the ground going for the ball, it’s a foul, even if they think they won the ball.

Whatver the case, a Referee has to be calm enough to keep every football match in control.

Hard Work Begins

Refereeing is hard work. Any refereeing in any sport is challenging because it’s against both sets of players whether it’s a game of football, rugby, hockey, cricket, or a team-based sport. 

It’s tough and you usually will have to go on a course with your local authority. In football’s case, your local county FA.

Referees have to go through promotions of each level from 7, 6, 5, and 4 which will then bring them on to semi-professional football.

Some exams and fitness tests will do.

So to emulate the great referees that have graced the game, the hard work starts now.

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