Jon Moss could have handled Zaha better at Spurs, says Keith Hackett as ex-ref blasts unathletic coasters among Premier League officials

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One of the reasons for the formation of the PGMOL was to ensure that referees can prepare thoroughly for the unceasing demands placed upon them to officiate Premier League football.

The speed of the game was increasing – placing physical demands on match officials.

The ability of players to make long cross-field passes with great accuracy was resulting in referees being caught out of position and missing incidents.

Nutrition advice and training programmes were introduced thanks to the then Sports Scientist Professor Matt Weston.

Training and the demands on referees changed from endurance to explosive sprinting. More time was available not only to physically train, but also to work with Sports Psychologists to enhance management and communication skills.

Incidents started to be reviewed and discussed on a one-to-one basis with referees and with the group as a whole.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett is a columnist for

Confidence, consistency and courage must be the requirement of referees

I was disappointed to see Chris Kavanagh – and at times Jon Moss – losing contact with the game at the weekend.

It’s difficult to understand why Kavanagh required the intervention of VAR to award the first penalty kick during the tie between Manchester City and Leicester. Was there a lack of courage?

In the case of Moss during Tottenham vs Crystal Palace, he failed to meet one of the key criteria that makes a good referee. He was too far away. Proximity to play can prevent an escalation of a problem.

It is likely that had he acted on the first foul on Crystal Palace forward Wilfred Zaha. The first yellow card issued to Zaha could have been avoided. If he had been closer to Zaha and shouted he also might have stopped the Palace man wrestling his opponent to the ground.

Yes, these are ‘what ifs’ and whys, but these types of incidents could have both been handled much better.

Sadly, we have too many referees in Select Group One, coasting and lacking a more athletic approach to their officiating.

More Stories Chris Kavanagh Davinson Sanchez Jon Moss Wilfried Zaha


  1. Referees are by no means perfect, but enough with the excuses here. Zaha has a persecution complex and consistently over reacts in so many situations. As a professional he needs to be able control his anger and aggression and not succumb to petulant acts which put him and his team in jeopardy. I’m sorry but the truth is he has no one but himself to blame in this and received his just reward for violent behavior!

  2. I do agree with you Pez. Yes referees do make mistakes but the Zaha incident he has no one to blame but himself.

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