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The Shocking State Of Premier League Refereeing

In recent weeks, the refs in the Prem have made some confusing decisions that are far from consistent, and are often made even more controversial after VAR checks.

This summer we all saw what good refereeing can look like; Speedy, precise, and in-real-time decisions made by VAR. The games ran smoothly and an entire tournament packed into a month of high-level competition carried on with very little controversy.

The Swift Kicks Podcast has discussed in the past how English refereeing is not up to the same standards as those in Europe. But in the past few weeks, it's become all the more evident that a major change needs to be made to the officiating in the world's best soccer league.

Below are some examples:

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was unhappy that Tottenham forward Harry Kane was not shown a red card for a lunge on Andrew Robertson, while Robertson himself was dismissed after VAR check for a challenge in the second half of the teams' 2-2 draw.

Yellow for Kane

Red for Robertson

Newcastle United are set to make a formal complaint to the Premier League over the standard of officiating in their last three games after a series of controversial decisions went against Eddie Howe’s side.

Leicester were given a penalty after this controversial incident between Jamal Lascelles and James Maddison. VAR checked the incident, and still awarded a penalty. Leicester would go on to win 4-0.

At Anfield on December 16, Mike Dean allowed play to continue with Newcastle's Isaac Hayden down in the box with an apparent head injury. Liverpool's Diego Jota went on to score while Hayden was down. And Liverpool ultimately won 3-1.

But in a game two days later - a Leeds player was down with a head injury and play against Arsenal was immediately stopped.

In that same game, no penalty was awarded for this tackle by Trent Alexander-Arnold on Ryan Fraser as he attempted to meet a cross that could have potentially drawn Newcastle level.

That was followed by arguably the most controversial call of all on Sunday when Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson clearly collided with Newcastle's Ryan Fraser, tripping him over inside the area as he slid out to collect the ball, after Joao Cancelo had taken it away from him.

The Man City goalkeeper was nowhere near the ball and clearly prevented Fraser, who could not avoid the collision, from chasing Cancelo as he dribbled with the ball.

Referee Martin Atkinson waved play on, despite furious protests in the stands and once again VAR did not ask him to take a second look at what had happened on a pitch side monitor

Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer has called for the head of referees Mike Riley to "take responsibility" for recent refereeing decisions. As the Prem's all-time top scorer put it, they're simply "unacceptable".


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