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Please can we have some decent match officials?

RennieSo, Keith Hackett wants the BBC to stop criticizing his referees eh? Well, like I said last week, if that's going to happen, we need the match officials to sharpen up a bit. This weekend, much like any other footballing weekend, has seen a couple of incidents that have really stuck in my throat. The first referee under deserved scrutiny is the hapless Uriah Rennie.

Rennie is facing a drop from the Premiership over a glaring error that enabled Newcastle to fight back for a 2-2 draw with West Ham. His mistake in allowing James Milner's goal to stand when Scott Parker was clearly interfering with play in an offside position is also likely to be used as a demonstration video for referees on how not to apply football's most complicated law. If West Ham are relegated by a couple of points, don't be surprised if Uriah takes some heat.

This glaring gaffe was described last night as "an appalling piece of refereeing" by one former official, Kevin Lynch. The referees' chief, Keith Hackett, has a policy of temporarily removing officials from the top flight in such instances and Rennie is almost certain to find himself demoted to the Coca-Cola League for a fortnight at least. "People claim the law is confusing but in this instance it is very clear, leaving no room for misinterpretation, because there was interference," said Lynch. "The assistant was quite right to put up his flag, in my opinion. To overrule him was extremely poor refereeing - a big mistake."

This is where I get angry. Just how acceptable is it to send Rennie to The Championship? Games lower down the league are just as important as the Premiership matches. By admitting that Rennie is incompetent (why else would you demoted him?) it hardly seems fair to send him somewhere else. The only difference in sending him to Coventry (quite literally) is that he will come under less scrutiny. This won't necessarily make him a better referee. Surely a review, then a one-match ban would be more appropriate? Like a player who constantly gets sent off, it would tarnish his career and further suspensions would lead his employers to consider his future at the club. This doesn't happen with officials. They merely get taken out of the spotlight. It's not enough.

In another show of inconsistency, Alan Wiley sent off El-Hadji Diouf for abuse. Now, looking at the footage, it seems that Diouf appealed a decision and then told Wiley to "fuck off". Now, whilst I do agree that players should not abuse the officials, it is interesting to note that during the Man United/Arsenal game, Thierry Henry stayed on the pitch after calling the ref' "a fucking prick" after he failed to win a penalty. In fact, the level of swearing at the ref that generally goes on in Man United games leads many fans to believe that there is a two tier rule book in the Premiership. Wayne Rooney, notorious for giving the officials hell, gets away with it time and time again. Of course, it's not just Manchester United who do this. Every club is guilty of it. Referee's are often surrounded by players debating a decision, but how many result in red cards? Not enough. However, Diouf it would seem, was sent off because his reputation preceded him. Surely, the officials should be approaching the game with a clean slate? UEFA have called for more protection for officials and  I'm not calling for leniency on abuse to referees, but consistency in their decisions. What do you think? [Mof Gimmers]

January 22, 2007 in Arsenal, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink


Uriah Rennie = worst ref in the top flight, easily.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Jan 22, 2007 2:58:14 PM

Oh, and Wiley was right to dismiss Diouf. More refs should follow his lead. In which other sport, is it acceptable to tell the match official to f-off?

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Jan 22, 2007 2:59:16 PM

thats two weeks in a row my hammers were screwed by the refs, instead of getting two wins and 6 points they have gotten 2 draws and two points. the should be 2 points above wigan and out of the relegation zone. its a shame because they really have been playing decent football and have gotten beaten by refs. but its not their year at all, nothing is going right, but hopefully deano will come back and save the day. come on you irons!

Posted by: Tommy | Jan 22, 2007 3:57:09 PM

Hammers may have had a bit of bad luck but when it comes to shocking refereeing the Hornets have had it all this season. The most ridiculous pen ever when the ball hit Powell's face away at Everton springs to mind immediately, but there are loads of others.

I'm not saying we wouldn't be bottom, cos we're where we deserve to be, but it's not just 2 tiers of refereeing, as Hammers fans will tell you, NOTHING goes for you when you're in the shite.

Posted by: Billyo | Jan 22, 2007 5:06:02 PM

They could do a lot of good by retiring Rennie, Halsey, Riley and Graham Poll.

Posted by: joe | Jan 23, 2007 2:37:38 AM

I've watched Rennie at Championship level and premier level quite a lot. You can argue he's consistantly bad... No matter what league he's in. Getting him ref five-a-side might sort him out...

Posted by: Col | Jan 23, 2007 9:48:41 AM

Under FIFA interpretation the player is only offside if interfering with play - defined as playing the ball. He is not in the keeper's way- he's off to the side, and he doesn't touch the ball. A really gutsy call that most refs would wimp out of and most fans don't understand. It's tedious to see so many so-called experts demonstrate their ignorance of the laws.

Posted by: DL | Jan 23, 2007 5:43:41 PM

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