Cudicini blasts Riley

Carlo Cudicini has slammed referee Mike Riley for failing to send off Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko for the challenges that hospitalised him and fellow Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Carlo Cudicini has slammed referee Mike Riley for failing to send off Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko for the challenges that hospitalised him and fellow Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Cudicini was knocked out and swallowed his tongue after Reading defender Sonko collided with him in Saturday’s 1-0 Barclays Premiership victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Riley took no action over the incident and initially did not even stop the game, with the Royals nearly equalising while the Italian lay unconscious in the penalty area.

“I am sure that if a collision like Sonko’s with me had happened in the middle of the pitch, he would have got a red card,” Cudicini told the Daily Express. “But the referee did not even blow for a foul.

“I have no qualms with Sonko. I am angry with the referee.”

Cudicini was only on the pitch because Blues number one Cech had been taken to hospital with a fractured skull following a challenge by midfielder Hunt shortly after kick-off.

“It is obvious Hunt did not intend to harm him – otherwise he should be labelled an assassin.

“But he is Pinocchio when he says he could not avoid Petr. He went on with a firm leg to get the collision, the fall and a possible penalty.

“Had the ref sent off Hunt, you can rest assured that Hunt would not try it again in the following match.”

Cudicini believes keepers are not given enough protection by the officials in England but laughed off PFA chief Gordon Taylor’s suggestion that they should wear helmets.

“How absurd,” Cudicini said.

“Instead of demanding action against those who so violently challenge the keepers, they want to dress us up like ice hockey keepers.

“This is just an English problem. In continental Europe, the goalkeepers are always protected; in England, the contrary happens.

“On the high balls, we have to punch away to avoid the kind of challenge which should not be sanctioned.

“I’m okay with 50-50 challenges when you can get an elbow. But when you are on the ground, having got hold of the ball, here you still get a knee in the face or studs on your head. It is not customary here to jump over a keeper.”

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