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Refereeing in the Premier League

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he standard of refereeing in the Premier League so far this season has been absolutely horrendous – Every week we are debating controversial decisions made by the men in black (or green sometimes) and that just isn’t right. We should be enjoying the quality of the football on display, yet seemingly every week a ref will make a poor decision, costing teams valuable points and frustrating managers, players and fans alike.

On New Years Day in the Premier League there were three decisions made by refs that were frankly ridiculous…

1) Wes Morgan handball – Liverpool 2-2 Leicester

This has got to be one of the worst handball decisions ever given in Premier League history, by referee Mike Jones. Coincidentally, this is the same referee that booked Sergio Agüero for diving against Southampton at St Mary’s earlier on this season – even though it was clear that José Fonte fouled him. The ball evidently strikes Wes Morgan in the face, both arms are outstretched, yet Jones still gives a penalty for it. It was an appalling decision, and one which the Foxes should feel extremely aggrieved about. Liverpool got another penalty in the game, again for handball, this time against Danny Simpson – probably correct in my opinion, but the first certainly wasn’t, and Leicester deservedly got a point at Anfield, with no thanks to Mike Jones who may as well have had a Liverpool shirt on.

2) Wayne Routledge red card – QPR 1-1 Swansea

Anthony Taylor made a truly terrible decision here. Karl Henry decides to fly into a tackle, endangering his opponent. Routledge is completely taken out by the giant Henry, so he is rightly annoyed. On another day that could easily have resulted in a broken leg. This is the same player who broke Bobby Zamora’s leg in 2010 and attempted to do exactly the same to Andrey Arshavin two months after. Routledge stands up and confronts Henry, he doesn’t kick him, slap him or lash out whatsoever. Anthony Taylor and his linesman decide to send Routledge off and book Henry – when it really should have been the other way around. Hopefully the red will get rescinded, and hopefully Karl Henry will think twice before flying into tackles again.

3) Chris Smalling handball – Stoke 1-1 Man United

Michael Oliver is standing less than 10 yards in front of this one – and still fails to give a penalty. Chris Smalling clearly handles the ball in the penalty area, and he knows deep down that it’s a penalty, yet nothing is given. How much clearer could this have been? Mark Hughes had a complaint about an alleged foul on Geoff Cameron in his post match interview. Not for me. We all know Hughes likes to blame referees quite a lot, and sometimes he is right to do so, and Michael Oliver should hang his head in shame tonight and admit he made a big mistake.

Referee Phil Dowd is surrounded by Chelsea playersThere were some poor decisions in the Premier League on New Years Day. The above three are the ones I feel were the worst, yet there were still a lot more. Florin Gardos should have been given his marching orders for a blatant last man foul on Alexis Sánchez, and Antolín Alcaraz’s second yellow card for a Everton against Hull was harsh to say the least. Jan Vertonghen can count himself lucky that he didn’t concede a penalty after what looked like a clear handball against Chelsea.

This latest batch of errors adds to a massive trolley full of them this season. The same referees seem to be the ones who make the mistakes. Jon Moss, Anthony Taylor and Mike Jones make mistake after mistake each week. The Premier League needs ‘Premier’ referees and I don’t feel like any of these three are fit for this level of football.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the referees in the Premier League are excellent and rarely get it wrong – Mike Dean, Mark Clattenburg and Phil Dowd (other than Vertonghen’s handball) hardly ever make mistakes.

These referees have a very difficult job. They only get one look at things and are required to make an instant decision without the benefit of the TV replays. And sure, maybe the odd mistake is acceptable, but not every week. They do get paid a lot of money, and if you made as many errors as these guys do, in any other industry, you’d be struggling to hold on to your job.

Let’s have a good 2015 with less focus on mistakes made by refs, and more on the quality of football on show. The Premier League is the best league in the world – the referees should be the very best too.

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