A highly suspect refereeing decision has again detracted from English Premier League action with the latest incident again raising the recurring question by the beautiful game’s have-nots of referee favouritism for the EPL’s big-money clubs.
The latest boost to these arguments occurred on Saturday at Stamford Bridge as West Bromwich Albion was cruising to an improbable upset win over English Premier League giants Chelsea.
That was until referee Andre Marriner’s controversial decision to award the Blues an undeserved game-tying penalty kick in the final seconds of the match.
To the bewilderment of West Brom fans, players, manager Steve Clarke and even neutral observers, Marriner pointed to the spot in the 95th minute when he judged that Baggies defender Steven Reid had fouled Chelsea midfielder Ramires.
Ramires stumbled to the ground unconvincingly after what was plainly only a slight barge by Reid. Marriner blew his whistle but instead of giving the Chelsea play-maker a yellow card for simulation as many had expected, Mariner instead awarded the penalty kick.
After West Brom’s Liam Ridgewell, Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt simultaneously all went into the books with yellow cards for their protests of Mariner’s shock-decision, Eden Hazard converted the spot kick to give Chelsea the 2-2 tie, scuttling what would have been a huge upset win for the visitors.
West Brom fans were in complete shock with the decision while manager Steve Clarke, a former Chelsea full-back, was in shock with Marriner’s call.
“I’m flabbergasted at the decision. I can’t believe he gave it,” Clarke told The Daily Mail.
“I saw it at the time. I’ve been in the game a long time and I knew he was already on the way down before anyone was near him - he the referee - has to be 100 per cent sure. How he can be 100 per cent sure is beyond me. It was not the correct decision.”
It was understandable when Marriner was mobbed by West Brom players, they were only seconds away from a team-record second road win before Marriner’s disconnect.
Reid took to Twitter early Sunday and while not mentioning the incident specifically provided a subtle criticism of Mariner’s decision.
Morning all… Bad dream?
— STEVEN REID (@stevenreid12) November 10, 2013
Former EPL referee, turned Daily Mail columnist, Graham Poll also slammed Mariner in his take on the incident:
Graham Poll column: Andre Marriner should not have awarded Ramires penalty in Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion clash http://t.co/MRL9bqPcko
— Graham Poll (@MAIL_GPoll) November 10, 2013
ESPN trumpeted the headline “Referee to the rescue” in one of it’s online posts by columnist John Brewin who lamented “It must register as a terrible injustice. They deserved better than Andre Marriner’s final-seconds decision to award a soft penalty.”
As there are two sides to any controversial decision, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho told the BBC that Mariner’s decision was the correct one stating that “The referee made many mistakes during the game but that was not a mistake.”
Replays of the incident clearly show that Ramires was looking for the foul and Mariner fell hook-line and sinker for his blatant dive.
The match was being broadcast live in the United States and NBC’s play-by-play man Arlo White - a former BBC radio football broadcaster - couldn’t believe Marriner’s decision.
HERE IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE INCIDENT BY NBC PLAY-BY-PLAY MAN ARLO WHITE:
“Ramires now, he’s gone down and taken a dive…No. Andre Marriner has had a think about it and has given a penalty! and Steve Clarke can’t believe it.”
80 per cent of respondents to a poll by ESPN felt Ramires dived on the play.
Let us know what you think about the call and vote today in our poll for worst refere in the English Premier League:
FINAL RESULTS FOR WORST REFEREE IN THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE POLL (Final votes tabulated on May 20, 2014)
- Roger East (1%, 11 Votes)
- Michael Oliver (2%, 17 Votes)
- Jonathan Moss (2%, 17 Votes)
- Neil Swarbrick (2%, 19 Votes)
- Mike Jones (4%, 36 Votes)
- Lee Mason (5%, 42 Votes)
- Martin Atkinson (6%, 51 Votes)
- Kevin Friend (8%, 65 Votes)
- Phil Dowd (9%, 80 Votes)
- Chris Foy (10%, 83 Votes)
- Lee Probert (10%, 84 Votes)
- Anthony Taylor (14%, 119 Votes)
- Andre Marriner (14%, 120 Votes)
- Mike Dean (14%, 122 Votes)
- Mark Clattenburg (17%, 143 Votes)
- Howard Webb (35%, 298 Votes)
Total Voters: 863