Premier League referees need to improve their fitness in order to reduce the likelihood of mistakes according to former footballer and pundit Alan Shearer, following another weekend littered with errors made by officials.
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Neil Swarbrick mistakenly sent off West Brom’s Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson, who had committed the foul, on Saturday, while referee Richard Clark sent off Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow before calling him back and instead dismissing Shaun Hutchinson.
Quoted in BBC Sport, the former England captain spoke about an incident in West Ham’s 1-0 win over Sunderland where an offside call prevented a penalty for West Ham, despite the ball touching John O’Shea on the way through.
“They could be fitter but they need all the help they can get,” he said. “Referee Lee Mason was miles out of position. At least one of those officials should be seeing that O’Shea’s flicking the ball on, so it can’t be offside and it should have been a penalty,” he continued.
Mike Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, called for video technology to aid referees and Shearer thinks that using former players as officials would also be a step in the right direction.
He said, “The guys that are playing in League One or League Two who have not been financially rewarded, I think we need to get more of those guys in who have played the game. They will be fitter.”