A poor midweek of refereeing performances was eclipsed by the worst sin of all – the incorrect application of law by Keith Stroud at Newcastle.
The home team scored from the penalty spot only to see complete confusion reign when the referee disallowed the goal and awarded an indirect free-kick to visitors Burton. This was after he detected encroachment into the penalty area by players of both teams.
Law states that in these circumstances the penalty kick should be retaken. It is amazing that none of the other three officials came to the aid of the referee to advise him that he was wrong in law. It is one thing to misjudge a decision, another to appear not to know the basics of the job.
The PGMOL were forced to make a public apology for the error and now should take action by introducing an annual test for all its officials on the laws of the game.
Meanwhile, in the Hull City v Middlesbrough game we had an assistant referee making a huge mistake in failing to detect a clear offside goal in the closing minutes. Following consultation between Michael Oliver and an assistant the goal was allowed to stand. It was an easy decision and difficult to understand why the assistant did not raise his flag.
In the Arsenal v Bournemouth game Martin Atkinson, an in-form referee, was at fault by failing to award two clear penalty kicks to Arsenal.
In the Southampton v Crystal Palace game the unfortunate Roger East produced what was sadly a typical performance littered with mistakes. First he failed to award Southampton a penalty for deliberate handball and the referee also made another later mistake. Crystal Palace’s Zaha had just gained possession when he was fouled from behind. Referee East unbelievably waved aside any claims for a foul and then, from a cross, Southampton scored.
It was frankly an easy decision which saw the manager of Crystal Palace Sam Allardyce rightly asking why a free-kick had not been awarded. When teams are in a relegation battle it is so important to appoint your top performing officials to these games. I have questioned in the past this referee’s ability to officiate at Premier League level.
Just a reminder to the PGMOL that Mark Clattenburg is still available for them to use before his departure to Saudi Arabia.
Finally, the team at You Are The Ref send our very best wishes to Ray Olivier, a very experienced educator with vast knowledge of law application who will be taking up a new role with the Japan FA.
Despite appearing to have been marginalised by the PGMOL management, it is sad to see another expert with great knowledge and on-field experience leaving the family of English officials.
Ray would have been the right person to set the annual test in the laws of the game.