Written by former professional referee, Jonathan Laverty
The state of refereeing in England currently is absolutely abysmal.
As an Arsenal fan that is also very honest about decisions against us, I agree that the red card shown to Granit Xhaka was correct but I have seen at least five very similar (or worse) tackles, most of them by Marcus Rojo, that weren’t punished accordingly and that’s where fans run into problems.
Referees such as Jon Moss, Mike Dean and Lee Mason are simply not good enough for the top division. On Sunday, fourth official Anthony Taylor had to suffer the wrath of not only Arsene Wenger but also Sean Dyche due to the incompetence of the referee.
Take Saturday night with City v Spurs when Kyle Walker blatantly pushed Raheem Sterling. If the linesman was watching/kept up with play, he would’ve clearly seen it was a penalty and as a consequence of shocking decisions, City dropped two points that could cost them millions.
Diving is another issue in the Premier League with one of the main culprits being (not a bias thing) Dele Alli. Does he get away with it cause he’s English or because referees are just afraid to call a dive? With linesmen and an official there are three there sets of eyes that should spot simple decisions and the FA seriously need to act because it is now badly affecting Premier Leagues teams.
Shirt pulling at corners are starting to be punished but I’ve still seen Giroud, Crouch, and others have their shirt literally pulled off their backs which is embarrassing to let go.
Make no mistake, there are good referees in England and I understand when they make mistakes because they are human and need help.
As a referee, I will be the first to admit I have made mistakes in my career and having only taken charge of a handful of ‘big’ matches in Northern Ireland, I’m not perfect, but when Granit Xhaka asked for an explanation from the linesman, he was just told to go down the tunnel.
He has a right to have the decision explained.
And football has a right to have officials who are as accountable for their failures as players and managers are for theirs.