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Has Premier League Officiating Hit An All-Time Low?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 3 years ago
For all the usual brilliance of the Premier League, this season has unfortunately been tempered by arguably some of the worst refereeing decisions in recent memory. It isn’t even so much that there are refereeing gaffes, more the fact that they are happening so frequently and more often than not cruelly changing the course of a given match.
In a strange way people enjoy the existence of imperfections in our game. Debate in the end is what separates our sport from so many others, and without the odd refereeing howler where would be? I don’t think anyone wants a computerised and wholly sterile game, but clearly the level to which officiating has plummeted is borderline ridiculous.

But has refereeing actually got worse or have their jobs simply become untenable?

Cheick Tiote’s potential equaliser and goal of the season contender was the latest in a series of refereeing blunders and has led to a continuation of the intense scrutiny of the games officials. Perhaps unsurprisingly Manuel Pellegrini was quick to leap to the defence of referee Michael Jones, suggesting that it was fast becoming impossible for the officials to do their jobs:
"I think it is very difficult to be a referee," said Pellegrini. "Players play too quickly and are always trying to cheat because football is cheating.
"They are always trying to take advantage for their team, so it is very difficult for them and I respect them.
"No-one likes it when the referee whistles against your team when it's wrong, but a lot of time it can be to give you an advantage."

It does seem the case more often than not now referees have to second-guess; this is certainly the case with penalties. The pace of players is unprecedented and their apparent willingness to cheat and con is again worse than it has ever been.

In the not so distant past incidents were often clear cut; a trailing leg or scything tackle were all the more easy to pick out and spot. Increasingly now players will go over at the slightest brush, and given their running pace it is becoming more and more difficult for a referee.

David Moyes was quick to level criticism on Howard Webb following a 2-1 reverse against Spurs on New Years Day. Ashley Young was brought down by an onrushing Lloris and looked to have won his side the chance of a potential equaliser. This wasn’t to be and looking at replays it is easy to spot that this was something of an oversight from Webb, but is it surprising?

United’s reputation has been tarnished this season by the antics of both Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young, with that at the back of a referees mind it isn’t surprising that he may err on the side of caution. It is the classic case of the boy who cried wolf and players cannot have it both ways. Conning referees may work, but going forward it not only tarnishes a reputation but can lead to decisions given the wrong way long into the future.

The chalking off of Tiote’s goal was human error and indefensible, but in general the quality of refereeing has been undermined totally unfairly by the professionals out on the pitch.

Some may point to things levelling themselves out over time, and indeed they probably do, but given the worrying trend this season I think it is time for the FA to act.

Retrospective and harsher punishment for cheats is the only way to change things. Clearly a yellow card isn’t enough, players persist with gamesmanship to gain an advantage over their fellow professionals and until bans and hefty fines are brought in I just cannot see things changing.

The standard of officiating is on a worrying slide, but instead of clubs pointing the finger it is high time they took a harsh look at themselves.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.

Mt1234 (Bolton Wanderers) 2 years ago
A few points:

1. Who is this @Footytubeblog bloke?

2. Prem officiating has always been bad.

3. This post misses so many poorly officiated decisions and incidents that it's laughable. Incomplete analysis.

4. If Prem officiating is bad, is there any league that officiates better?
REOJoe (Liverpool) 2 years ago
They have hit an all time low as they are scared to make the right call because they would get ctitised for it

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