04 April, 2008

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Keith Hackett apparently, as this week it was revealed that he has finally acted on recent abysmal refereeing performances by some of his charge by benching several top flight officials.

Rob Styles has been, ahem, “rested” from Premier League involvement this weekend after a series of high-profile bizarre decisions this season. For several years now Styles has been at the centre of controversy after controversy, both in the Premier League and below, with most fans around the country harbouring some level of resentment after ill treatment in the past. The metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back however came at St Andrews last weekend, when Styles appeared to make up for awarding a highly contentious penalty to Manchester City (and sending off Blues’ defender Frank Quedrue) by awarding opponents Birmingham an even more suspicious spot-kick of their own. This was the third game in a row that Styles has been seen to pull such a trick, having awarded similar penalties to Nottingham Forest and Watford after unfairly dismissing players in their games against Northampton and Stoke City respectively.

Styles’ biggest boob this year came though earlier in the season during the course of his generally appalling handling of the Chelsea vs Liverpool game at Anfield, in which he awarded a ludicrous penalty to Florent Malouda for shoulder-charging Jaime Carragher on the edge of the Liverpool box.

Uriah Rennie will also be available for parties and non-football-related functions this weekend after his decision to send off Steve Kabba in Watford's game against Hull was overturned this week by Hackett’s review board. This comes just a week after Mike Riley was also “rested” last weekend after his significant mishandling of the Tottenham vs Chelsea game, in which he failed to send Ashley Cole off for a high challenge on Alan Hutton, and faced a barrage of disrespect from both sides.

STT’s suggestion to solve these recent acts of referee slip-ups? Install RoboCop as referee commissioner next season. Or on a more practical note, how about those video replays we’ve heard so much about? I’m pretty sure they are used with great success in literally every other professional sport on the planet.