Everybody has learned to live with the fact that referees will get things wrong every now and then, but there’s something seriously wrong when they can watch a replay and still come up with a baffling decision.
In many ways justice was done tonight between Man United and PSG because Fred was eventually sent off for two yellow card offences, but he was a lucky boy to survive a headbutting incident in the first half.
Fred clearly headbutted the PSG player – it might not be the most gruesome headbutt you’ll ever see, but it’s a textbook red card:
Pictures from RMC Sport
The referee has his back to the incident so we can’t blame him for not having eyes in the back of his head, but he was told to go and watch it on the VAR monitor before making a decision.
Somehow he came up with the decision to simply book the player, and former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett explained to Caught Offside that the call was horrendously wrong:
“The incident in the Man United game with Fred has me seriously worried about the decline in refereeing standards.
“Fred clearly headbutts the player who goes down with the usual histrionics, while VAR intervened and told the ref to go and review the incident on a pitch side monitor because he didn’t see the initial incident.
“I am amazed that the he issues a yellow card after the review – It’s a serious error and the worst piece of refereeing I’ve seen this season.
“Referees have to apply the law correctly and a violent act is a red card offence.”
That final comment is particularly damning because there’s some serious competition for the unwanted award of worst decision this season, but it’s just unfathomable that he sees this and deems it to be worth of a yellow card.
It simply has to be the case that he’s either bottled the decision or doesn’t fully understand the rules, but neither outcome reflects well on the referee tonight.