Error-prone Premier League referees are not good enough, VAR technology is not fit for purpose and the game has “lost the plot” over handball, former English referees chief Keith Hackett has told Reuters.
A number of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) rulings were disputed last weekend as Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford had a goal ruled out for a T-shirt sleeve offside, while penalties were given for handball against Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers that were criticised by pundits.
Hackett, a Premier League referee until 1994, believes that while VAR needs to be examined, officials on the pitch need to look at themselves too.
“The standard of refereeing has fallen,” Hackett, who was the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL), the body responsible for match officials in England, said in an interview.
“When I ran the PGMOL we were delivering 10 or more world class referees on a budget of five million pounds ($6.6 million). Now, we have two elite referees, from a budget of over 20 million pounds.”