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By ESPN Staff

UEFA slam flawed English referee system

UEFA claim the English system for appointing referees is 'in breach' of the continental and global statutes for the sport and leaves the Premiership and Football League open to a Serie A-style corruption scandal.

The Premier League, Football League and Football Association are equal stakeholders in Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), the body which oversees the appointment of referees, a position which UEFA regards as illegal.

The organisation's director of communications William Gaillard told The Guardian: 'Referees should be appointed completely independently of clubs and leagues.

'Leagues not complying with that are in breach of UEFA and FIFA statutes. The PGMO is a breach of these statutes. In England the response is to say we are more honest (than in Italy) but we do not think this is good enough.

'There should be a systemic answer; people have to answer how and why a repeat of Calciopoli (the Italian scandal) is impossible under their system. We have had no such response from anywhere.'

The Premier League insist PGMO operates at arm's length from them, with PGMO general manager Keith Hackett the man in sole charge of refereeing appointments.

'We have set up an entirely independent structure for refereeing,' said a league spokesman.

'The Football League, Premier League and FA representatives on the PGMO board all have an equal say in how it is run and an equal vote.'

In Italy, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina were all found guilty of exerting an influence on refereeing appointments and in the case of all but Milan were demoted to Serie B with varying points deductions.

The outcome of the quartet's appeals against their respective punishments - with Milan originally allowed to stay in Serie A but docked 30 points - is expected today.