Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 25 September 2007

Give the referees a penalty

I dunno. Why is it every weekend the whole of the civilised world shakes its head as one at the good, bad or indifferent refereeing decisions witnessed in the Premier League? I'm not one to moan - really I'm not. I realise better than anyone that refereeing is a difficult job and that the errors of judgement they make are merely the actions of an ordinary human being, but things have now reached a critical point.

Last weekend I started to lose count of the many and varied instances of what I thought was bad refereeing. In the Midlesbrough v Sunderland game, there were three handballs that could have resulted in free kicks in dangerous areas of the pitch which went undetected. All of them were more than just 'ball to hand' situations and all would have seen a free kick given at a different ground on a different day.

The Man. United v Chelsea game was liberally littered with questionable refereeing anomalies. For a start, official Mike Dean decided to give Mikkel Jon Obi a red card for a tackle which, though crude, was worthy of at most a yellow card. He then decided that two minutes of stoppage time would be played at the end of the first half, but having allowed the injury time period to inexplicably last to a third minute, Carlos Tevez was able to score to put the home team ahead 1-0.

It's one thing for a referee or his assistants to make isolated misjudgements, but when several occur in one match to say nothing of several other matches, you have to start believing that something's wrong somewhere.

So here's what I think. In order to root out the bad referees, we should create a rating system that gives penalty points for poor performances. At the end of the month, the three referees with the most penalty points drop down a level (i.e. Premier League to Championship) and someone from the level below with the least number of penalty points comes up to replace them.

And how would points be awarded? Well here's what I've come up with so far using a scale of 1 for insignificant decisions to 10 for hideous ones...

Incorrect awarding of a red/yellow card: 7 points
Too many/too few red/yellow cards awarded: 6 points
Bad offside decision: 7 points
Poor handball decision: 7 points
Poor timekeeping: 5 points
Failing to realise a player has been booked three times: 10 points

I'm sure there are more we can think of prior to sending such a suggestion off to Sepp Blatter. What would you add to the list and how many points would you allocate for each item?

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