Referee standards ‘will get worse’ according to former senior match official

21 Nov

A former senior referee has warned the standard of officiating will decrease in the next ten years.

The prediction comes after a number of controversial decisions, such as Charlie Austin and Sadio Mane’s recent disallowed goals and Alexandre Lacazette’s handball assist in Premier League games at St Mary’s, The Emirates and Selhurst Park respectively.

Austin couldn’t believe his goal was ruled out

Speaking anonymously to talkSPORT, the former match official claimed the influence of FA Referees Committee Chair David Elleray is the reason for his concern.

He said: “In the next ten years the standard will not be as good as it has been in the past.”

“You get to a certain level in refereeing and you make a choice of lining or refereeing. The way it was implemented was people were forced into making decisions where they had to choose refereeing or lining, or it was made for them. They lost a number of good referees because a lot of the good referees have been told to go on the lining track. They’re now constantly short of referees.”

David Elleray declined to comment when contacted by talkSPORT.

David Elleray talking to England boss Gareth Southgate

The source also believes a lack of support given to grassroots officials causes many to give up.

“Sometimes there’s too much pressure on people at that level and they walk away from it and we lose some good referees”, he added. “Or they have enough of the bureaucracy.”

The FA confirmed the majority of FA Referees Committee are from County FAs and they ensure that the Chairman has a full briefing on grassroots football.

Earlier this year Mark Clattenburg told talkSPORT he had been bullied by David Elleray before he left the UK to lead refereeing in Saudi Arabia.

The anonymous match official said: “The problem is, as soon as Mark Clattenburg talks and speaks about the unfairness and the bullying he’s spoken about, everybody else disappears and clams up because those who are still operational are not going to challenge David Elleray or the PGMOL.”

Mane had a fair goal ruled out against Arsenal

It is hoped the introduction of VAR will improve future decision-making. 60 matches across the FA Cup and EFL Cup this season – all involving Premier League teams – are helping officials prepare for the technology’s Premier League debut next season.

PGMOL General Manager Mike Riley said: “VAR can actually add value. If the referee has made a wrong decision and VAR can quickly correct that and get the right outcome then the game will benefit.”