Tuesday 3 January 2017

The FA must address the issue of refereeing standards

I try not to talk about officials too much in these pages, but the standard of refereeing has sunk so low that the issue must be addressed.

The Premier League is widely considered to be the best in the world, but the performances by the men in the middle have put our national game in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Mike Dean again seemed determined to make things all about him and take centre stage as a string of incorrect calls left both sets of fans baffled and mystified. 

The Wirral-based ref wrongly sent off Nathan Redmond in last week's Southampton v Tottenham fixture and was at it again here when he questionably dismissed Sofiane Feghouli just 15 minutes in. 

He then failed to spot Zlatan's offside position for United's second goal. 

This was a rare occasion where we got the rub of the green from referees but the string of bad decisions that have gone against us is staggering, to the point of corruption. 

This stretches back to the Manchester derby in September, when Mark Clattenburg allowed Claudio Bravo to escape censure for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Wayne Rooney.
The same official sent off Ander Herrera against Burnley and denied United and Matteo Darmian a blatant penalty when he instead booked the Italian full-back for simulation.

Jose was so incensed by that decision that he was sent to the Old Trafford stands for his protests.

It doesn't end there, though.

There was the foul on Anthony Martial in the build up to Watford's goal a week after Clattenburg's errors, Andre Marriner's performance against Arsenal and Lee Mason's strange decision to rule out Zlatan's perfectly good goal in the Middlesbrough fixture a few days ago. 

Not forgetting probably the worst of the lot: the diabolical display of Craig Pawson when Palace hosted United at Selhurst Park shortly before Christmas. 

Never has there been a game where the performance of a referee has left both sets of fans and players scratching their heads in bemusement.
There were four or five big decisions to make in the match and the officials contrived to get all of them wrong. 

Mr Pawson failed to spot Zlatan's handball and Paul Pogba's finish from an offside position and Marcos Rojo somehow escaped punishment for a terrible two-footed tackle on Wilf Zaha. 

Joe Ledley handled in the box from a corner and Juan Mata's perfectly legitimate goal was then ruled out for offside when it was blindingly obvious he was on. 

The same referee was responsible for Jamie Vardy's very harsh sending off for Leicester at Stoke a few days later. 
These officials are letting the league down and its time the FA became accountable for the actions of their referees. 

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