The standards of some Premier League referees were “bordering on appalling” during matches over the busy festive period, according to former Fifa referee Keith Hackett, who has named five referees he claims should be dropped.
The organisation that controls the referees, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has rejected Hackett’s claims, saying standards had risen since he stepped down as head in 2010.
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Hackett, who refereed matches in the European Championship and Olympic Games in 1988, said on his blog “You Are The Ref” he counted “over 20 major errors” during the Christmas period.
He cited the “stupid” red card shown to Swansea City’s Wayne Routledge at Queens Park Rangers by Anthony Taylor on New Year’s Day and which has since been overturned, as being of particular concern.
“I see standards falling,” he said. “Over the Christmas period, it reached standards that were bordering on appalling.
“There was a pretty poor performance from Andre Marriner in the Manchester City v Everton game (on December 6). First of all, the failure to spot a challenge that resulted in Sergio Aguero having to go off, then a non-penalty decision.
“I was with a group of Fifa referees from Nigeria who watched with amazement. Do you think I took joy in that?”
Marriner is one of the five referees identified by Hackett who should no longer officiate Premier League matches after the end of this season.
He also named Mike Jones, Lee Mason, Chris Foy and Lee Probert, who refereed last season’s FA Cup final, adding that his successor as the head of PGMOL, Mike Riley, should be replaced.
“You can’t live on your reputation,” Hackett said of the referees.
However, PGMOL countered that the accuracy of decision-making by referees in the Premier League was currently at an all-time high.
Their figures say accuracy on major decisions was up to 95 per cent from 94.1 per cent, accuracy on decisions in the penalty box stood at 98 per cent, and offsides were now 99 per cent accurate, compared to 92 per cent when Hackett left PGMOL.
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