Souness launches furious ref rant: ‘What planet are they on?’

Date published: Sunday 21st February 2021 10:48 - Will Ford


Graeme Souness launched into a furious rant at the standard of refereeing in the Premier League after Sheffield United were denied a penalty in the dying moments of their 1-0 defeat to Fulham.

Jayden Bogle was brought down by Alphonse Areola with the Blades looking for a late leveller, but neither on-field referee Martin Atkinson or VAR deemed the challenge worthy of a penalty.

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As a result, Souness claimed the Premier League referees are not up to it with Areola’s tackle classed as an “assault” by the Sky Sports pundit.

“If that challenge, I’m reluctant to call it a tackle, if that challenge happens anywhere else on the football pitch, it ‘s a sending-off! Not just a penalty, it’s a sending-off,” he said.

“I just don’t get referees.

“They make it up as they go along, referees, they really do. What planet are they on?

“The problem we have with referees is they’re just not very good, the last World Cup how many English referees did we have? None. That’s how good our referees are.

“That is an assault. I’m not saying he has gone deliberately to hurt him but that is a foul all day long, it’s a penalty all day long and for me, it’s a sending-off.

“They really do make it up as they go along. When I played it was ‘i’s okay, you’ve got the ball first and then his momentum takes the player out’, today it’s he got the ball first but the momentum then injured the player so it’s a foul.

“That is what you are describing there, that is a penalty seven days a week and I just don’t know where they get these referees from.

“We saw one in the first game [Liverpool vs Everton] with [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin, for me that’s not a penalty on Trent Alexander[-Arnold], he has fallen over before he gets to Trent Alexander[-Arnold]. It’s not a penalty and that is definitely a penalty.

“100%, all day long. I can’t back Chris Wilder up any more, that is a penalty all day long. It’s a ridiculous decision by another very, very poor referee.

“Look how high he is, he came out and said it was a 50-50 challenge, but he’s endangering the opposition.

“The quicker we get a different setup for referees and get some ex-players into the game… because we’re in great danger of killing the Premier League with these referees and the Premier League has the power to come up with a different way with the referees.

“Ex-players should be involved in our game, they’ve had their chance, our referees are so poor. So poor.

“There are lots of ex-players who would like to referee.

“Ones who have finished with injury, not everyone plays in the Premier League and earns serious money.

“Get some ex-pros trained up and you won’t have incidents like that where managers are tearing their hair out all the way back from Sheffield.”

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