EPL referee Anthony Taylor’s large palmy peanut-shaped, planetoid noggin - complete with its own weather systems - must have had its own flogging during his football-playing days.
What other excuse could explain how he and his team of equally-incompetent assistants decided to ignore Chelsea striker Pedro after his kick to the head of Stoke opponent Eric Pieters? Was it economic favouritism, match-fixing, threats from organized crime? Most likely another case of simple incompetence.
For neutral viewers like myself - and many of us have an axe to grind against archaic, out-of-touch referees – we know this is a serious problem that could one day bring down the entire beautiful game.
Judge for yourself, see in the photos below. It is simply unfathomable how Taylor and his near-side linesman neglected to hand out any punishment for the foul.
You can see in the first frame of the above Tweet that the boot of Pedro is clearly raised and makes contact with Pieters face in the eighth minute of Saturday’s match from The Britannia. In frame No. 2 (below) you can see that he knows the seriousness of his infraction and that his opponent has been seriously injured.
The Villa defender had to leave the field for several minutes to close up the bloody gash. Play was suspended for several minutes as Taylor lay on the pitch. As yet there has yet to be an update on his injury status.
But unbelievably coming out of this incident: no caution or red card was forthcoming from Anthony Taylor.
Despite Taylor’s incompetence at recognizing the seriousness of this blatant example of dangerous play, another more serious red flag should have also been raised.
This secondary disconnect and more serious malfunction by the match officials clearly proves why the EPL and FIFA in general lag far behind in head injury and concussion protocol.
That`s because there is no way Pieters – not to mention Pedro - should have been allowed to continue in the match.
Given the amount of trauma his head took during the play, he should have been forced out of the game. Soccer officials have been investigating the possibility of introducing a ‘concussion substitute’ rule but so far lag far behind other major professional sports in protecting its players from serious long-term injury.
But the Pieters incident has wrongly gotten lost in the weekend shuffle of matches.
This is a point RedCardTheRef has touched on many times in the past including our coverage of the 2014 World Cup when the issue of player safety and head injuries - and other factors - helped tarnish officiating at the tournament.
You can’t blame the masses – and the trashy sports tabloids they read - for being more focused on many other more high-profile aspects of this match: The absence of Chelsea skipper Jose Mourinho, the fact that the Blues are off to the worst start title-defense start of any EPL team ever and have slipped to 15th in the table, and the grim reality that the match unraveled into a tit-for-tat disgusting display of bad sportsmanship that Taylor was also negligent at keeping under control.
There was very little post-match coverage of this incident by the controversy-hungry mainstream press. We should all be very concerned.
The EPL’s referee body, the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Board) seemed more concerned with a penalty kick claim by Chelsea’s Willian, which Taylor also missed and made a public statement about this call.
This news relayed to television viewers towards the end of the match epitomizes the lack of concern, forethought and complete inaction by officials and administrators in Britain and the rest of the soccer world to deal with a problem which threatens to destroy our sport.
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