HACKETT’S VERDICT: FA need to re-think how they treat referees

HACKETT’S VERDICT: FA need to re-think how they treat referees

    I am clear that Match Officials at all levels of Football should have a thorough knowledge of the Laws of the game. That is why since 1981 I have worked with the iconic Master of Movement artist Paul Trevillion producing hundreds of strips answering questions in the Laws Of The Game.

    However in the heat of the battle top referee Keith Stroud recently awarded an indirect free kick when encroachment at the taking of a penalty kick took place and the goal having been scored was disallowed. The law is clear in that in this situation the penalty kick should be retaken. However after discussion with his colleagues the referee went with the advice offered by one of his assistant referees and incorrectly awarded an indirect free kick.

    The error hit the headlines and whilst it impacted on the score it did not impact on the result. I have no doubt that a suspension was appropriate and for me three games should be sufficient. However at such an important part of the season Keith Stroud has apparently been served with a 28 day suspension and his colleagues 14 days.

    This frankly is draconian and means that Keith might be punished by a loss of five or more games. When I look at the recent punishments that are handed out to managers it appears to me that match officials are soft targets who will not say anything.

    So I will suggest to the Football Association that they need to look again at how they treat officials fairly for all please.