Officials on the verge of “appalling” claims former referees’ chief

Former refereeing chief Keith Hackett has claimed the standards of match officials over the festive period in particular were “appalling”, the BBC has reported.

70-year-old Hackett stepped down as referee’s boss five years ago but has launched a withering attack on officials and named five current referees he feels should not be at the highest level next season.

Andre Marriner, Lee Probert, Mike Jones, Chris Foy and Lee Mason are all identified as men who should go while he also called on current boss and former referee Mike Riley to step down – having counted “over 20 major errors” throughout the festive period alone.

Also a former FIFA referee, Hackett acknowledged his criticism as harsh but was undeterred in his argument – highlighting the overturned red card for Wayne Routledge as evidence of poor decision making.

He said: “I see standards falling. Over the Christmas period it reached standards that were bordering on appalling.

“Routledge received a reckless challenge. My expectation was that his opponent might receive a red card.

“There was a pretty poor performance from Andre Marriner in the Manchester City – Everton game. First of all the failure to spot a challenge that resulted in Sergio Aguero having to go off, then a non-penalty decision.

“I was with a group of Fifa referees from Nigeria who watched with amazement. Do you think I took joy in that?”

“You can’t live on your reputation. At the moment, these guys are performing well below the level.”

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) refuted the veteran officials claims and point to statistics that in fact argue the other end of the scale for referees.

Figures show that on major decisions accuracy is up from 94.1% to 95%, decisions inside the box were now at 98% and off sides at 99% accuracy.

And the PGMOL also made known that this accuracy has increased every year since Riley took over as chief – while officials are also asked to make 176 high speed runs and 50 sprints per match.

This figure has increased 64% since five seasons ago and yet accuracy is at an all time high.

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