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What can be done to address the clear problem with the standard of officiating in the EFL?

After another weekend of controversial officiating, have we now reached a tipping point, and what can be done to address the problems?

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Derek Carter says...

Malc is spot on when he asks for an open and transparent assessment system, but I’m not sure the authorities will ever agree to it because they’d have to highlight just how bad the current situation is.

I’d certainly like to see referees explaining how they reach certain decisions, especially in situations like Saturday.

Over the years, I’ve heard many pundits and commentators heaping praise on referees because they’ve given themselves a second to think before making a major decision, so I would’ve loved to have seen Jarred Gillett explain why he didn’t do it on Saturday.

He could obviously take the jobsworth route by saying he was playing to the letter of the law, which can’t be disputed but what happened to using a bit of common sense?

He could’ve just reminded Neil that he was on a yellow card and to calm down, but he had to be pedantic and brandish a card.

Fast forward to Sunday and we witnessed more examples of the total inconsistency which leaves supporters so frustrated. Michael Oliver booked Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic for a nasty foul and seconds later he clattered Declan Rice and no action was taken.

The Newcastle match was another prime example of shocking inconsistency.

The referee failed to issue a second yellow to Bruno Guimaraes when even Alan Shearer had to admit that he should’ve taken an early bath. He also booked Emerson for waving the imaginary card but when Miguel Almiron did exactly the same thing, no action was taken.

Elsewhere, we had VAR issues at the Wolves/Aston Villa match.

Ollie Watkins was bearing down on goal and as he shaped up to shoot the defender gave him a little shove in the back which knocked him off balance. What should’ve been an obvious penalty was turned down flat which prompted me to look online to see who was on VAR duty.

When it did so, I was surprised to find it wasn’t Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles, but David Coote. With a name like that, he was bound to duck the issue.

It was another shocking weekend for officials which has sadly become the norm. They need to be sorted out or shipped out.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League - London Stadium Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

While it’s normal for refereeing decisions to be controversial and divisive, this weekend’s showing was at another level in terms of inconsistency. In my view, it was worse than 95% of the referees during our period in League One, and something simply has to be done.

In our daily lives, we’re all challenged to learn and improve as we progress in whatever we do for a job. It doesn’t matter what we do, because that’s the case.

For the EFL Championship officials to not be pushed to do the same is counter to the development and improvement of the refereeing of the sport, and situations like last weekend simply must drive some reaction and significant improvement.

The solution is quite simple: the officials need to be assessed openly and graded, and their performance should be used to drive both the level of the games they can officiate, as well as the financial benefit they get from being officials at this level.

I know being a referee is a thankless task at times, but that doesn’t mean we should accept substandard performances.

Let’s assess openly, celebrate the referees that do really well and get them leading games up the leagues, and let’s provide extra learning for those who need it.

Likewise, if someone has a poor display, let’s see them put their hands up and take it on the chin, because a little bit of humility will go a long way.

If players have a poor performance, they get dropped; if coaches don’t get the results the club need, they get fired. If referees have a bad day, the decisions they make can can cost clubs tens of millions of pounds, and to fans like me, the retribution for poor performance is simply not far reaching enough.

I don’t really want VAR in the second tier as it causes as many issues as it solves, and I fully agree that the way players conduct themselves needs to be addressed. However, when someone is just poor, it needs to be acknowledged and dealt with, with the lessons learned being used and providing benefit to the game.

Coaches can’t even say what they think without being punished for it, whilst referees are becoming untouchable, and that can’t be right

Whatever the situation, the EFL needs to sort it out.

You’ve ruined my weekend, so don’t ruin the season. Let’s have an open and transparent assessment system. It’s the only way to get better, and we simply have to do that.


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