Referees’ Association fear abuse suffered by officials causing a loss of talent

Premier League referee
VAR decisions ruling out goals for Newcastle and West Ham were heavily criticised this weekend

Not enough talented referees are coming through the system because too many are suffering abuse, according to the head of the Referees’ Association (RA).

Referees’ body PGMOL has since accepted two of the decisions were wrong.

“Why would a 14-year-old go referee on local parks when they have all this hassle?” RA chief Paul Field told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

“I do wonder how much talent we have lost over the years when it comes to refereeing in this country because of abuse.”

Following VAR reviews on Saturday, Newcastle United and West Ham had goals disallowed against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, respectively – both of which PGMOL has effectively accepted were wrong.

West Ham boss David Moyes called the decision to rule out Maxwel Cornet’s 90th-minute equaliser “scandalous” and said he was “embarrassed” for VAR official Jarred Gillett.

BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer blamed Lee Mason, the VAR official at St James’ Park, for asking on-pitch referee Michael Salisbury to review the own goal scored by Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell.

“Far too many errors, VAR is not the problem, it is the people who are running it.” Shearer said.

Former boss of the PGMOL, and ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett called the VAR decisions made on Saturday “horrendous” and said the decisions of top officials were having a negative knock-on effect on grassroots referees.

“We are in the fourth season of using VAR in the Premier League and we are making a pig’s ear of it,” Hackett told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“At the moment it is awful and it’s having a knock-on effect, making life very difficult for referees at grassroots level when they see their senior colleagues fouling up in such a bad way.

“It’s not just the decision on the field, it’s the impact on spectators who are now saying to me the game is corrupt. The game is not corrupt, what we have is a poor delivery of VAR in this country that needs to be rectified now.”

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