Feb 022009

I’ve been meaning to write a piece on the favourable treatment of star England internationals for a while now. It has irritated me for ages that certain players are treated exceptionally leniently both by referees, who give them more chances than others, and by Match of the Day, who often fail to even show said incidents that they would cover in detail if it fitted their agenda better.

We all know about the ridiculous amount of dissent Rooney gets away with, the sort that others would be carded for in an instant, while Terry is another who escapes punishment both for dissent and wild tackles. The list goes on.

Yesterday’s first half was highlighting my point perfectly. Gerrard first slammed the ball into a prone Bosingwa after play had stopped, in a very similar incident to one that Delap saw red for only the previous day. Fast forward 24 hours, and it was deemed not even worthy of a booking. To me, both incidents should’ve seen yellow, so in my view both referees got the decisions wrong. Later, Gerrard would fly in with a wild challenge that Kalou hurdled, before showing dissent that a foul was even given. Finally, he got his well deserved yellow for another of his dives.

Compare that to his teammate, Mascherano, who was booked for a completely innocuous challenge early in the game, severely stunting his ability to tackle for the rest of the match. The disparity in treatment of two players alongside each each in midfield was remarkable.

And then, Mike Riley completely wrecked my point in the second half by sending Lampard off for a tackle that was barely a foul. The ball was off the ground, he took in cleanly, and the only way it could have been deemed a foul was for the showing of he studs. A red card was just plain wrong. The tackle was in fact identical to Gerrard’s, except Lampard got ball and man, and Gerrard missed everything. Does that make the tackle better or worse? Riley then made his only decent decision of the day, booking Terry for (understandable, this time) dissent.

The ref still had time to get another big decision wrong, when he completely ignored Bosingwa deliberately putting his studs into Benayoun’s back and driving him off the pitch. Quite how it wasn’t even a yellow is beyond me, but perhaps that is a blessing in disguise – as Riley did not act on it, the FA now has the opportunity to review the incident and ban him. They should.

So perhaps yesterday wasn’t a case of Riley favouring certain individuals. Perhaps it was just a case of him being an utterly hopeless referee. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said that about him, and honestly have no idea why he is still officiating in the Premiership. If he is among the best we have, we’re in trouble.

  8 Responses to “A few thoughts on the Liverpool-Chelsea game”

  1. I think this referee ought to be consigned to the championship.That he is still officiating in the epl after so many cock ups is unbelievable. Perhaps he is there to help the red faced win matches and trophies. You will nver know until fifty years later.

  2. Gerrard should have been off the field before lampard’s tackle. But for the cowardice of a referee who gave St Steven licence to do what he wanted. Why book Terry for descent and allow Gerrard to say what he wanted.

  3. personally i’ve hated riley since he singlehandedly ended the invincibles run (rooneys dive, nistelrooys stomp…)

  4. Mike Riley is a total disgrace, a ManUre-loving disgrace. If this is the cream of the refereeing crop in the EPL, there is truly no hope for the “beautiful game”. He should be relegated, but who’ll take his place?
    More myopic and idiotic refs. Video replays will soon be needed.

  5. we do expect a lot from our referees. unfortunately most of the comments you receive are from the football experts with 20/20 hindsight and half a dozen slomo replays.video support would be useful if it did not result in stopping the game for review but unfortunately our beloved game has rules such as offside which requires the assistant to look at two parts of the fiels simultaneously. probably best if we just let the referees get on with it; in the average game they make a lot less mistakes than the overpaid prima donnas who do all the complaining

  6. Although the argument may be right, i’m not sure if pundits reactions are childish or something more sinister. On the rare occasion a Chelsea player is sent off- Lamps/JT its nearly always overturned while others reguarly hav 2 accept poor ref decisions

  7. In a pro capacity we need unbias commentary-ie would the same reaction have been aforded to Eboue or Barton? Its ridiculous Rooney gets away wk in wk out & for Rob Style’s to smooth ManU’s way to title by taking away any slim hope WBrom had in the game.

  8. Mike Riley should be relegated, i hate the guy i never liked him as a referee. i’ll admit i’m a huge chelsea fan, and yesterday’s match prove my point one more time, ” ref are never good with chelsea and that’s what big PHIL has been complaining about”. but come on the FA need to seriously start paying attention and the kind of referees that will be representing the EPL. Riley is a disgrace to the best league in the world, For the referees is always easy to just hand a card. but what the FA don’t realize is that refs are frustated because they never got to play neither the talent that the players have in the EPL.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.