Referees chiefs are insistent match officials’ standards have never been so good despite stinging criticism from the former head of Professional Games Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).
Keith Hackett has called for his successor Mike Riley to be removed from his position with PGMOL and labelled the current crop of officials as the “worst that we have seen”, citing “over 20 major errors” during the Christmas period.
PGMOL would not respond directly but released statistics showing standards had improved in every available measure in the five years since Hackett left the organisation. These include accuracy on major decisions, up to 95% from 94.1%, on decisions in the penalty box (98%) and offsides, 99% compared to 92% five years ago when Riley took over.
Hackett’s attack was made on his website, which also sells refereeing kits and equipment and offers training courses.
The PGMOL is standing firm, however, confident it has taken the right path since Hackett’s departure and that it is backed up by all the statistics.
There are usually periods in every season where a series of controversial decisions puts the spotlight onto officials, and has led to football’s lawmakers to begin to consider video replays.
That will be debated at the International FA Board at its next meeting in Belfast on February 28, though any final decision is likely to be a couple of years away with trials being needed first.
PGMOL’s latest figures show referees’ fitness has improved, especially in terms of sprints.
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