Keith Hackett reviews the 2016-17 season for English refereeing

Keith Hackett reviews the 2016-17 season for English refereeing

Time for reflection on another long domestic season. At You Are The Ref we have produced tables charting the records of referees in both Select Group 1 and the new Select Group 2. There are some areas of general concern below.

However, one positive that deserves highlighting is the reduction in the number of red cards brandished by Select Group 1 referees. The figure of 41 is startlingly low. I think the lowest number I returned across a season when general manager of Professional Game Match Officials was 63.

Yes, this can be looked at in either of two ways. There were a number of red cards missed that should have been shown for dangerous challenges not correctly punished across the season. But there were certainly not 20 odd of these. So I favour the view that, despite certain shortcomings, referees generally have improved their man-management skills. Well done to them on that aspect.

Here are areas that need looking at;-

GRAPPLING (Holding/Pulling/Pushing)

It was good to see at least some action taken on this. I have repeatedly highlighted it as a blight on the game. However, only one referee, Mike Dean, consistently acted against players who were holding and pulling each other in the penalty area.

The remaining referees turned a blind eye, ignoring the fouls and allowing strength to win over skill.

What a pity that they failed to support their experienced colleague and do the same.

A team effort was required from the Select Group of referees and the PGMOL management instructing their charges to apply the law in a consistent manner.

MASS PROTESTS

Pre-season the PGMOL informed the media that they were going to take a firm line on players surrounding the referee protesting their decisions.

This problem quickly returned as the so-called clampdown simply fizzled out. There was a show of yellow cards for dissent in the early part of the season and then

an apparent return to accepting it as part of the game.

RESPECT

Cheating has been on the increase with players all too often going to ground far too easily – with replays showing no contact and referees taking no action.

I appreciate that this is a difficult judgment area for match officials.

The players who dive are showing no respect towards their opponents or the game.

The highlight for me this season was the yellow card shown to Victor Moses of Chelsea in the FA Cup final when referee Anthony Taylor achieved the ideal position to detect the act of simulation and applied the appropriate sanction.

The FA are clearly unhappy with this trend in the game and have wisely introduced for next season retrospective sanctions with a two game ban if the player is found guilty. There is further room for tightening up, though.

Please FA, re-think your criteria and introduce a similar two match ban for those players who have been caught and sanctioned by the referee.

Yes, in simple terms bring in a red card sanction for acts of simulation and a two match suspension to create a real deterrent for these cheats.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

Chris Kavanagh, Andy Madley and David Coote are the three referees promoted to the Select Group for next season.

They must be given a minimum ten games and one-on-one coaching support. Please do not have them hanging around for weeks before they get their first appointment.

The coach must be at every game to offer support and advice on every performance.

I have never underestimated the challenge facing new recruits onto the Premier League.

David Coote

They must spend the summer getting in peak physical condition and ensuring that they are capable of applying up to 50 dynamic sprints in a 90 minute period.

The likes of Howard Webb, Mark Halsey and Mark Clattenburg built the foundation of their performances on their personal fitness and an ability to sprint from penalty area to penalty area in less than 11 seconds.

Too many of our top referees are one-paced – although Michael Oliver, Anthony Taylor and Neil Swarbrick made big improvements during the past season.

COACHING

I am delighted that we have signed up Mark Clattenburg to the You Are The Ref team and I look forward to hearing his views on the quality of the coaching that he received from the PGMOL.

There appears to be a shortfall in this area of activity.

APPOINTMENTS RED/YELLOW CARDS ANALYSIS SELECT GROUP ONE

There has been a significant reduction in red cards during the season, although we have reported several missed opportunities and poor detection of reckless with excessive force challenges.

RefereeMatchesRed CardsYellow CardsAverage yellow card per game
Michael Oliver3331113.36
Mike Dean3051113.7
Robert Madley3021254.2
Jon Moss3031193.96
Anthony Taylor3041204
Andre Marriner282973.46
Martin Atkinson273903.33
Craig Pawson244953.95
Neil Swarbrick241903.75
Mark Clattenburg223733.3
Kevin Friend201944.7
Lee Mason203723.6
Mike Jones181613.38
Roger East112373.36
Stuart Attwell100313.1
Paul Tierney102292.9
Graham Scott82121.5
Lee Probert4041
Chris Kavanagh1044
3804113753.61

ANALYSIS OF APPOINTMENTS TO CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES  FOR SELECT GROUP 2 REFEREES

All the referees nominated for the SG2 group appear to have had sufficient games in the Championship to determine their progress or otherwise.

The list below is purely alphabetical and not ranked. I would suggest that, in terms of their performance, the bottom five are taken off the list and the top six promoted to SG1.

RefereeTotal no. of games appointedTotal no. of Championship appointments
James Adcock2819
Peter Bankes3825
Darren Bond4030
David Coote3927
Andy Davies3826
Scott Duncan3826
Geoff Eltringham4026
Simon Hooper4330
Tony Harrington3427
Chris Kavanagh4028
Oli Langford4427
James Linnington3528
Andy Madley4331
Steve Martin3524
Tim Robinson4430
Jeremy Simpson4029
Keith Stroud3927
Andy Woolmer2616 - Last game 8th Jan

It will be interesting to monitor what actions the PGMOL take in order to get the standard of English officiating on track.