Why the quality of refereeing has dropped in the Premier League over the years?

We all know Premier League is one of the most challenging leagues in Europe; being toughest, we would assume that it would have some of the best referees and match officials for the premier league matches. 

Under them, strict decision-making comes in handy, which should not affect any club in any fixtures. 

However, over the past few years, the standard of refereeing has dropped in the premier league, leading to wrong decisions and controversies on the pitch. 

Sometimes it’s a bonus for the clubs that gets the decision in their favour while the other team suffers. This has led to many dissensions on the pitch, and referees have been blamed for it.

The way referees have staunchly upheld their decision without taking VAR check has raised concerns over their irrational decisions in recent years. 

It looks like the Premier League has dropped its bar too low, and we have witnessed many soft penalties have been awarded, for e.g, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool match, when Diogo Jota was brought down, it looked like the penalty seemed premeditated.

This drew many criticisms as Neil Warnock said, “many big clubs get away from such wrong refereeing, and referees have lost all credibility after reversing their decisions.”

The referee made another contentious decision in the Chelsea vs Tottenham game when Kane’s goal was disallowed, as he pushed Thiago Silva slightly before scoring a goal, but he was penalized by referee Paul Tierney, which looked like a biased decision. 

In 2019 when Man City was playing Liverpool, an attempted cross hit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s arm in Liverpool’s box, but the referee, Michael Oliver’s decision to not award a penalty was met with huge backlash, affecting City’s title race vs Liverpool.

Why EPL referees have lacked clarity under Mike Riley’s management?  

However, since Mike Riley took over in 2009, the referees don’t look confident when making decisions. Although, they are not to be blamed because those in charge are not giving proper education to them. 

There has been a lack of teaching, and officials are not good enough. Those who have been assigned to Premier League never tried top-level coaching and hence, were given a Premier League job. 

The Premier League referees have become a laughing stock, and Mike Riley is to blame for inconsistency in officiating. Many people blame VAR, but the VAR isn’t the problem, the way it is used. 

Premier League refereeing vs Champions League refereeing

If you go to other competitions, you will witness how referees are precise with their calls. In a Liverpool vs Tottenham match this season, if Kane’s challenge on Robertson had been in the Champions League, he would have been sent off without a VAR check. Unfortunately, in Premier League, he received a yellow card. 

There has been less use of VAR in the Champions League because the referees have clear leadership from UEFA referees’ the legend Roberto Rosetti.

Referees in Champions League make bold decisions because they don’t award fouls after a soft challenge on players, which Premier League referees does.

UEFA chief refereeing led by Roberto Rosetti controls the entire process of selecting referees for Champions League games.

Regardless of this, not a single English referee was officiated in the UCL round of 16 except for Michael Oliver in 2018 when he awarded Real Madrid a penalty and gave Gianluigi Buffon a red card for dissent. This was the last time any English referee was involved in a Champions League round of 16.

While in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, not a single British referee was selected for the World Cup among 99 others. However, Mark Clattenburg could have been the one, but he left for Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The constant criticism of Premier League referees affects the quality of one of the most competitive leagues and its games. Ever since Keith Hackett’s left, there has been a huge decline of Premier League referees in Europe. 

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