After yet another weekend where refereeing decisions have made the headlines in the Barclays Premier League, our man Graham Cummins of Exeter City has his say.
Referees are in the spotlight after games far too much. Is it because the standard of refereeing is poor or are managers trying to deflect a negative result for their team by blaming the referee? It has always been said that the best referees are the ones who don’t get noticed in a match.
Kevin Friend was trending on twitter after he took charge of the Southampton versus Liverpool game at Saint Marys on Sunday. There were three penalty incidents, none of which were awarded while Friend also failed to notice Liverpool keeper, Simon Mignolet’s handball outside of his penalty area, a moment Diego Maradona would have been proud of.
Friend will take a lot of stick for his performance but for me he did get two of the three penalty incidents right. He was right not to award Filip Djuricic a penalty in the opening minute and also not to award Liverpool a penalty when it appeared that Jose Fonte had fouled Raheem Sterling. Replays show from the referee’s angle that Fonte had made contact with the ball and it was a brilliant decision. Friend however, should have awarded The Saints a penalty after Djuricic was brought down by Joe Allen with the home side trailing 1-0 at the time.
If Southampton had been awarded that penalty then they may have scored and probably would have gone on to win the match. That decision may end up having a big effect on which teams will be playing in the Champions’ League next season. That decision may cost a club millions of pounds which they could have generated from Champions’ League football.
Anyone watching Goals on Sunday yesterday will know just how upset Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho is with the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. He feels there may be a vendetta against his side and if it were not for poor refereeing decision, Chelsea would be 12 points clear of Manchester City.
I think he is right about the decisions he was referring to, (they should have had penalties against Tottenham, Southampton and Burnley) but he has certainly gone the wrong way about trying to get his point across.
He was obviously trying to put pressure on referees, so that in the future they will side more with Chelsea. My experience in dealing with referees is that, the more you tell them they are wrong, the less likely they are to give you any decision.
I am a big fan of Mourinho but yesterday he acted like a child. Referees can irritate managers and players with their stubbornness. However, rather than go on national television to criticise them, Mourinho should be trying to approach referees in a calm manor in order to build up a good relationship.
I always got angry and annoyed with referees if I felt that a decision had wrongly gone against me. The only thing that came of this was me ending up getting a yellow card for moaning too much at the referee. The older I have got, the more mature I have become, and I feel the best way to deal with a referee is to talk to them in a polite way. They certainly respond to a player much better and even if I don’t get given a decision, at least they explain to me why not. I would have thought that Mourinho was mature and experienced enough not to pull a stunt like he did. It may turn out to be one of the best decisions he will make all year and Chelsea may get more favourable decisions from the officials.
Chelsea should have had one penalty on Saturday against Burnley and the Lancashire club should have been reduced to ten men not Chelsea, following Ashley Barnes horrifying tackle on Nemanja Matic. Referee Martin Atkinson did not have one of his better afternoons and as a consequence cost Chelsea not only points in the race for the title but also as it stands Matic will miss their next three games included their Capital One Cup Final against Tottenham next Sunday.
Matic’s reaction to Barnes’ challenge on him does not warrant the player getting such a heavy punishment. Barnes could have severely injured the Chelsea player and Matic’s push on Barnes should not mean that the player has to miss out on the club’s final against Spurs next weekend.
Chelsea have lodged an appeal against Matic’s red card and I hope that the FA can understand the Serbian’s reaction that lead to the player being sent off. The FA have decided to take no further action against Barnes and if this is the case then Matic should face no further punishment either. Referees have not covered themselves in glory this weekend but the FA have the chance to review the incidents and hopefully try to amend some of these decisions as best as they can.