Keith Hackett: Premier League refs 'hung out to dry' by VAR mistakes

Premier League referees are being ‘hung out to dry’ by VAR mistakes, insists former PGMOL chief Keith Hackett… as Referees’ Association warns the stream of young officials coming through could dry up due to abuse

  • Referees are being ‘hung out to dry’ over a litany of high-profile VAR mistakes
  • Former PGMOL head Keith Hackett insists refs must feel ‘let down’ by the errors
  • There were several controversial incidents in the Premier League this weekend
  • West Ham and Newcastle were aggrieved after decisions went against them
  • While there are worries not enough officials are coming through due to abuse 

Referees are being ‘hung out to dry’ over a litany of high-profile VAR mistakes, according to Keith Hackett. 

Hackett, a former Premier League referee and former head of PGMOL, the governing body for officials in English football, insists the refs must feel ‘let down’ by being made to look ‘foolish’ by this weekend’s controversial incidents.

Meanwhile, there are fears from the Refereeing Association (RA) that not enough talented referees are coming through the ranks because of the abuse they suffer at lower levels. 

Referees are being ‘hung out to dry’ over several high-profile VAR mistakes, says Keith Hackett

Hackett told PA: ‘We’re in our fourth season of VAR and we’re not operating it well. These officials don’t get to the Premier League without being good referees. In some ways they have been made to look foolish this weekend by what has happened. They must feel that they’ve been let down.

‘They have been hung out to dry because there’s no leadership. There’s no guidance, there’s no coaching. That ultimately has to come down to the person running the organisation (Mike Riley). The interaction between the referee and the VAR is suspect.

‘One of the reasons for that is you’ve got current referees who might referee on a Saturday suddenly becoming a VAR on a Sunday. I don’t think that’s conducive to good officiating.’

Meanwhile, the RA head Paul Field expressed concern about the stream of young officials rising through the ranks.

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘Why would a 14-year-old go referee on local parks when they have all this hassle?’

‘I do wonder how much talent we have lost over the years when it comes to refereeing in this country because of abuse.’ 

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