I am fuming!
The quality of referring in the English Premier League is in the dumps and has been there for a while now even before VAR. VAR has made it more apparent just how bad the referees are.
What is much worse is the fact that the PGMOL -Professional Game Match Officials Limited- and the FA are trying to sweep the dirt under the carpet instead of implementing reforms to improve the standard.
I bring it back to the Chelsea vs Manchester United game that was played today, Sunday, 28th of February.
Manchester United was denied a clear, stone-wall penalty against Chelsea after Callum Hudson-Odoi was seen to have handled the ball in his penalty box.
Now, handballs are not as subjective as most fouls where you probably have to judge whether the contact was sufficient to bring a player down or if there was even contact at all.
For handball, the rules are very clear. It is a handball if:
"The hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)"
In this case, CHO's arm was way over his shoulder. The ball from Mendy's clearance then ends up hitting the back of his hand as he tries to beat Mason Greenwood to the ball.
What follows next is probably the most definitive proof of how disgustingly inept the referees in the EPL have become.
In the post-match interview on Sky Sports, Luke Shaw revealed the reason the referee gave to Harry Maguire on why he did not give the penalty.
"If I say it is a pen then it is going to cause a lot of talk afterward" ~ Referee Stuart Attwell
My word! Since when do referees make decisions based on avoiding a PR crisis post-match?
Ever since Lampard (sacked), Klopp, and Mourinho started making comments regarding the penalties Manchester United was getting, the referees have done an entire 180 denying United definite fouls and penalties.
The week before, Maguire was tripped in the West Brom box, but after a VAR review, the referee reversed the decision.
All this incompetence is coming at a time when you have an organization suggesting a campaign to 'clap for referees'.
"It's called the 'Give The Ref A Hand' campaign. We want all clubs at grassroots level, or higher, to clap the referees out on our first weekend back and to just give them a hand to make football positive for everyone."
It is pathetic, to be honest, and it is costing teams valuable points. It is killing the beautiful game we love because the people in charge have their heads buried in the sand.
Fix up or ship out!