Laudrup calls for accountability

22 November 2013 11:01

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup believes Barclays Premier League referees are too heavily protected and need to be more accountable for their decisions.

The Dane is still seething at the penalty given against his side in the 3-3 draw with Stoke prior to the international break, with Charlie Adam converting from the spot in stoppage time to deny Swansea all three points.

Referee Robert Madley adjudged Wayne Routledge had handled in the box, but Laudrup, a man not given to displays of temper, was furious at the decision and has admitted the frustration lingers as his side prepare to face Fulham on Saturday.

That game will be officiated by Andre Marriner, who gave Chelsea a controversial late penalty to earn a draw at West Brom, a decision Professional Game and Match Officials Limited chief Mike Riley has since apologised for.

Swansea have not received an apology over Madley's decision and Laudrup has not spoken to the official, although Riley has been in touch with Laudrup over the matter and the former Barcelona midfielder was satisfied with the explanation he received.

But the Dane pulled no punches in his assessment of how referees are currently handled, believing they should explain controversial decisions after games.

He said: "I spoke to the match delegate after the West Brom game and he understood and agreed with me and I have the match report, but it is hidden away.

"It would make the referees a little more human to all the fans and feel part of us, as we all agree that it is a very, very difficult job.

"You have people that are trying to get a penalty or free-kick or get another opponent sent off and everything is so quick, players are so fast and just a small touch and it feels like the end of the world.

"It is very difficult to change that but it would make them a little more like the rest of us. I don't think protecting them like this so they can't talk to anyone makes it better for them."

He added: "Someone says we want to protect referees and not put them under extra pressure as they are already under enough pressure. But if you want to be at the highest level there is always pressure.

"If you are a manager, if you are in a top club there is always a big responsibility and a lot of pressure.

"You are there because you want to be there, otherwise you would do something else."

Laudrup also highlighted an incident in Spain where referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez did not take charge of a top-flight fixture for a month after incorrectly awarding Real Madrid a penalty to beat Elche 2-1 in September, a move he feels was correct.

"Even the most fanatical Real Madrid fans and journalists said the penalty was non-existent. This guy (the referee), he got three weeks in the fridge (without a game).

"Okay, he made a huge mistake, but there is a consequence.

"Then you can say that when he comes back after three weeks then there will be a lot of pressure on him in the next game.

"It's exactly the same for my players. If I have a player who misses a penalty or a keeper who makes a mistake and I say, 'I'll take you out for a couple of games'. When he comes back there will be pressure on him.

"There's a lot of pressure on all of us because we are at the highest level."

But a PGMOL spokesman told Press Association Sport: "One of the major reasons referees don't speak post-match is because of the discipline system.

"Clubs, managers and players have the right to appeal over matters of discipline and referees commenting post-match is viewed as potentially prejudicing that appeal. That is a view supported by FIFA and the Football Association.

"Referees are accountable. In every game the officials are equally assessed by two groups: Match Delegates, appointed by the Premier League, who sit in the stand and assess their game management, and Evaluators, appointed by PGMOL, who analyse their technical performance.

"Managers have the opportunity to speak to the officials post-match and mark their performance through the Match Delegates.

"Referees performances influence the matches they can be put in charge of; they would only get the FA Cup final for example if they have performed consistently well over a season.

"Errors by officials in the Premier League are uncommon, this season they are getting nearly 95 per cent of major decisions right. We find that referees working hard to improve on any mistakes is more effective than punishment.

"If officials are consistently under-performing then we'll work with them to develop their standards, but we are fortunate to have some of the leading officials in world football who operate to a very high level.

"We also work closely with the League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association on referee development."

Source: PA