Football Sport

Contentious decisions dominate EPL

Written by Leanne Lu

This week must be the first time in history we have applauded Chelsea manager José Mourinho for his comments about English Premier League referees. If it wasn’t for poor refereeing, Mourinho moaned, Chelsea would be leading the title race by 12 points. We’re not going to go back and analyze every decision made by referees this season but after the events of last weekend we do share some sympathy with the Blues camp.

Nemanja Matic was sent from the field midway through the second half against Burnley for pushing Ashley Barnes to the ground after a heavy challenge, but replays showed Barnes catching the Serbian midfielder high on the shin with his studs as he followed through after making a pass, making Matic’s leg bow horribly. Similar tackles have seen legs broken in the past and Matic’s anger was understandable.

Although we’re happy to give referee Matt Atkinson the benefit of the doubt given it all happened so fast – just like Kevin Friend ignored Southampton’s three legitimate penalty claims against Liverpool and Simon Mignolet’s handball outside the box – but we don’t like the FA’s refusal to let Chelsea’s appeal Matic’s red card or to give retrospective punishment to Barnes. Certainly referees should be protected, but if the FA refuses to act on such clearly bad decisions then why bother having rules in the first place?