Another day, another confusing referee decision that changed the tone of a game. In this version, West Brom’s Gareth McAuley was sent off for a hard foul against Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony very early in the game. Trouble was that McAuley had nothing to do the play and was sent off for mistaken identity. Craig Dawson committed the first foul, the foul that was originally called and McAuley committed the second tackle.
Right there on the video, clear as day, referee Neil Swarbrick sends off the wrong guy. Based on the spot that Swarbrick put down, he placed the ball at the spot of Dawson’s foul. If McAuley really was getting called for the foul, it’s a PK. Swarbrick is correct to send off someone because it’s a denial of a goal scoring opportunity and the final defender but with four officials out there, it’s crazy to think that not one of them can point out the correct player to send off. Manchester City wound up winning 3-0
West Brom manager Tony Pulis was obviously not pleased because he feels that there are inconsistencies in what does or doesn’t get called as well as the basic concept of sending off the wrong player.
What’s great about this is that Pulis was very respectful and he gave a very rational suggestion to improve the state of officiating. Every soccer fan, player and manager has been on the wrong end of a bad referee call. It’s nothing personal, that’s what happens. Most of us just want to vent our frustrations and not really offer anything tangible in terms of how to fix this but Pulis did. The things Pulis said today, you’re not going to hear that out of Jose Mourinho’s mouth that’s for sure. Pulis suggested having video replay to help the referees on calls like that even going as far as making it so teams can make ad money from these stoppages in play.
To Pulis, he admitted that being a referee is a tough job which I don’t think anyone is denying. In today’s tech savvy world, he just wants to give referees as many resources as possible to make the right call. Like Pulis said, “those decisions change games.” A bad call can cause a team to lose and given how close league positions can be, that could be the difference between relegating or a Champions League spot or the EPL title. It could also be the difference between if a manager is fired or a player gets sold at the end of the season. Every game is huge, that’s the beauty of the English Premier League, let’s give the referees every resource possible to get those calls, even the painfully simple ones that they get wrong sometimes, right.