Mark Halsey column: Ref bosses have ‘lost the dressing room’… but I won’t criticise Paul Tierney’s handling of Man City vs Spurs

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Aside from the Balbuena decision this weekend, the other major talking point came in the Carabao Cup final when referee, Paul Tierney, didn’t issue a caution to Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte.

I’ve got no problem with that because Tierney was trying to let the game breath early on.

He was consistent with his handling of the game and I wouldn’t criticise him because he did very well.

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Yes, you could argue that Laporte could’ve been given a yellow card for stopping a promising attack, but Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilon had done exactly the same even earlier in the game against Phil Foden and didn’t get cautioned either.

Spurs players surrounded Tierney and he will have told them that he was being consistent, giving the players a chance to get into the game and not wanting to jump in too early with yellow cards for fear of spoiling the spectacle.

He’ll likely have said to both players that if you do the same again you will be cautioned, and that’s exactly what happened, so I won’t criticise Tierney simply for being consistent.

Part of the problem nowadays is you have pundits and commentators suggesting virtually every tackle is a foul and fans feed into that, and that’s not right either.

Mark Halsey
Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey is a columnist for

Foreign refs in the EPL?

Should the Premier League employ refs from other, foreign leagues? Personally I don’t think so no. We’ve still got some very good refs.

Think of what we have at PGMOL as a list within in a list, a top order, middle order and lower order. The real issue is that the leadership and direction from PGMOL management is not what it should be.

They’ve ‘lost the dressing room’ for want of a better phrase. I don’t think they know how to man-manage properly, and I’m speaking from experience because I’ve been there, in exactly the position that today’s officials find themselves in.

Good coaches turn average players into good players, good players into excellent players. The same applies to officials.

Don’t blame the refs for the drop in standards because things have been on the decline at PGMOL since Mike Riley took over from Keith Hackett, who was excellent at his job.

Riley has some people in place that not only haven’t reffed at the top level, some haven’t even reffed before at all.

We need a better standard of coaching, training and education, and the same applies to VAR.

I’ll repeat again, VAR is not the problem, it’s the personnel who implement it. They’ve not been trained properly so we can’t expect things to run smoothly.

More Stories keith hackett Mark Halsey Mike Riley Paul Tierney Phil Foden Sergio Reguilon