Ref Review with Mark Halsey: Sunderland man unlucky, praise for Bobby Madley

After another week of big refereeing decisions which saw a controversial call in a battle near the bottom and a straight red card at the Stadium of Light,‘s Mark Halsey is back once again to have his say on last weekend’s big calls…


Martin Atkinson (Middlesbrough vs Burnley)

It’s a clear foul from Michael Keane, I know he’s slipped but that doesn’t come into the equation. But is it easier to give nothing in that situation because if Martin gives that he has a big decision to make over the colour of the card?

Would Bamford have regained control of the ball? Possibly, so if he’s going to get to the ball has Martin got to send Keane off? Him slipping doesn’t matter, the laws of the game don’t make allowances for accidental challenges. However harsh it is, if he’s giving a free-kick he’s got to send him off for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

Chris Kavanagh (West Brom vs Southampton)

For a referee making his league debut, it’s a good game for the PGMOL to put him into. West Brom aren’t a tough team to referee and neither are Southampton. It was good to see him do well and come out unscathed but we need to see him do a more difficult game now to see how can he improve.

There’s no easy games in the Premier League now because positioning gives you extra money so if they’ve given him one now I’d like to see him get another one but we might not see him until next season now. Him, David Coote and Andy Madley could and should all be in the Select Group next season.

Craig Pawson (Sunderland vs Manchester United)

The red card is all about opinions but in my opinion nobody would have complained if it had been a yellow card. The law needs stating on these challenges because there’s been too much inconsistency in these decisions lately. The law is as follows…

A reckless challenge is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to/or consequences of an opponent and must be cautioned.

Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.

We must also consider serious foul play, a tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality is punishable by a sending off.

It’s clear to me that Larsson did not use excessive force and there was no brutality. We’ve seen a lot of challenges this season where there’s only been yellows where there should have been reds, the Select Group are very inconsistent with their application of reckless and reckless with excessive force that endangers the player’s safety.

I’m not having a go at Craig for showing a red card but there’s too much inconsistency. You look at the challenge Ross Barkley made on Jordan Henderson, it was a caution but probably should have been a straight red. As soon as I saw Larsson’s I said it was a yellow card but it’s opinions and I can understand why he sent him off but I don’t think that’s a red card challenge. We don’t want to take tackling out of the game and if it carries on like this we’ll have no challenges left.

Bobby Madley (Everton vs Leicester City)

I’m a big fan of Bobby, I like the way he referees the game because he allows it to flow and gives the game a chance to breathe. He doesn’t give out needless cautions, if he cautions someone it’s because they deserve it.

He engages with the players and referees with a smile on his face and I thought he had an outstanding game on Sunday. He’ll make mistakes but you have to be constructive but I’ve always said I like Bobby and his brother is exactly the same.

He plays two superb advantages, when those come off you feel like celebrating yourself! He was on the player’s wavelength throughout and had a thoroughly good game. I’m glad he’s got Manchester United vs Chelsea, now is the time to book him into this game because he deserves it and it’s the only way you start to improve – now we’ll see what he’s made of.

Bobby will have to be switched on from the first whistle and he’s got to those small things right early on, don’t let the game run away from you. Manage the football match, not the occasion.

Michael Oliver (Crystal Palace vs Arsenal)

In real time you watch it and most referees would give a penalty there. When you analyse it you can clearly see there’s little contact, Townsend initiates it and you can see it’s not a penalty. But in real time it’s tough because it looks like a penalty live.


You can follow Mark at @RefereeHalsey

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