The Premier League Is Back And So Is The Controversy!

So the Barclays Premier League kicked off this weekend and it gave us the usual controversial incidents!

A lot was made of the goalkeeping situation at Chelsea over the summer, and it should be that a Chelsea ‘keeper is the major talking point of the weekends games.

The officials did well to work as a team, as Chelsea’s Courtois was given a red card. The first decision they got right was keeping the flag down as the Blues defence thought Gomis was offside, but he was played onside by Willian. As Gomis then took the ball towards the area, Courtois came running off his line to challenge him. The Frenchman then looked to knock the ball past him but was caught by the ‘keeper. There’s no question it was a foul but the big question was where did it occur. Michael Oliver was a little bit behind the play due to the quickness of the break by Swansea but got himself into the best possible position to see if there was any infringement, his assistant on the far side was in a fantastic position to see the foul happened just inside the area.

The biggest decision Michael Oliver had to make was the colour of the card he was to give to Courtois. He went for red, for denying a goalscoring opportunity. This has split the masses. I think its 50/50 in whether it was right or wrong. Mr Oliver has felt that the two Chelsea defenders that were trying to get back, wouldn’t have done so in time. My personal view is that the speed of the ball and Gomis plus the angle if he’d shot first time meant it wasn’t a clear opportunity to score. If he had taken a touch I believe that Cahill would’ve closed down enough and John Terry would have reached the goal line, so still not an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea's Courtois his marching orders

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea’s Courtois his marching orders

If I had been the referee I think I would have done the same as Michael Oliver, as soon as the foul happened he would have looked towards the goal and seen the space behind Chelsea’s ‘keeper and felt red was his only option. I think Michael Oliver had a good game and controlled the game well.

Another decision by a referee that has caused a bit of controversy was the decision by  Simon Hooper to rule out an effort by Jerome, his acrobatic equaliser was ruled out for a high foot. Yes it was high but was it dangerous? Its hard to argue with the reasoning behind the referees decision but II felt that it wasn’t dangerous play and the goal should have stood. If Jerome had his studs showing towards his opponent then I would say that’s dangerous play.

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome's goal

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome’s goal

It easy for us watching at home to see all the replays and angles but all that matters is the refs view!

New Season, New Stance From The FA

So the 2015/16 season is upon us and I heard something recently, that, as a referee, has made me very happy!

The English FA are set to fine clubs when their players surround the referee! It’s about time! I remember years ago, what is probably the most famous incident of players rounding up on a referee, players from Manchester United surrounding referee Andy D’Urso after he gave a penalty to Middlesbrough at Old Trafford, and even at the time wondered why the referee didn’t take more action!

D'Urso surrounded my Man Utd players in 2000

D’Urso surrounded my Man Utd players in 2000

It goes on far too much and I’m glad the FA are starting to act. Better late than never I suppose. I’ve always felt that referee at the very top seem to accept dissent when done in groups. Maybe they felt they had no support from the top. Now they do but I still hope for the day that a referee issues a yellow card to each member of the herd that surrounds him hurling abuse at him, then a second yellow followed by a red. If Andy D’Urso had done that Manchester United would have had 4 players sent off!

As I mentioned in my previous post I will be assessing referees for theref.co.nr and the first weekends fixtures I’ll taking a look at Michael Oliver’s game on Saturday evening, Chelsea Vs Swansea and on Sunday Anthony Taylor’s Sunday clash Stoke City Vs Liverpool. I’m looking forward to covering both games!