‘We need to help WSL referees by making them professional’ – Eidevall

Jonas Eidevall shown a yellow card
Jonas Eidevall was booked after complaining to the referee about Shaw’s opener for City

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has called for referees in the Women’s Super League to become full-time professionals after his side conceded a controversial goal at Manchester City.

Khadija Shaw slotted in from close range after the referee diverted the ball in the build-up to the goal.

Arsenal were furious that play had been allowed to continue, but their protests were dismissed.

Eidevall, who was booked for his complaints, said he was “not happy”.

The Gunners boss joked the deflection off referee Abigail Byrne was “one of the best passes in the game”.

He added: “You can clearly see that we stop playing. We all make mistakes – I do, referees do, players do. Games like this are going to be decided by small margins.

“Afterwards, I totally understand that. For me, that’s also a part of football. I think the referee can also understand why we get very upset.”

The rules say if the ball touches the referee or another match official and goes into the goal, or results in a change of possession or a promising attack, a dropped ball will be awarded.

All officials in the top two flights of women’s football are part-time.

Last year the Football Association said it had no plans to introduce full-time referees to the WSL for at least three years, because currently there was not the “value” in the women’s game to afford to pay full-time referees.

The standard of refereeing in women’s football has come under increasing scrutiny as the quality and profile of the game has improved.

Eidevall said making them full-time professionals would boost women’s football.

“If they’re going to be on Sky Sports refereeing matches, the referees should be given all the resources that they need in order to prepare and practice and work on their fitness – and I think that’s where we need to help each other in the football family.

“More women will start refereeing as well, because that will get more attractive. I know I can get animated on the sidelines, but I’ve also tried being a referee when I was younger. I was not a good referee.

“I remember having coaches after the game that did not speak nicely to me. That’s not a nice feeling for anyone. That’s not the kind of role model I want to be either.

“The only thing I’m always going to be an advocate for is to raise the things around it to give them the best possible conditions.”

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