Ex-referee suggests Conte sets up meeting with PGMOL to express concerns

Antonio Conte
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Former Premier League referee Keith Hacket has claimed Antonio Conte could meet with the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) to discuss refereeing standards after the Italian called for more player protection.

Earlier this month, Matt Doherty was on the receiving end of a rough challenge from Aston Villa defender Matty Cash, who seemed to catch the Tottenham man on the follow-through.

Doherty suffered a medial collateral ligament tear as a result and has been ruled out of action for the remainder of the season (Transfermarkt).

Speaking after the incident, Conte insisted that referees should protect players better and should not tolerate people who aim to deliberately go for both the ball and an opponent with the intention of causing an injury (Football.London).

Alasdair Gold revealed on his YouTube channel this week that the Spurs boss is still ‘seething’ about Cash’s challenge on Doherty.

Hacket believes the Villa defender should have been punished for that challenge and suggested that Conte may have a point in his assessment of referees not giving enough protection to the players.

The former PL official told Football Insider: “There’s a finite balance between keeping the game flowing and controlling the game.

“Therefore, my recommendation is that Conte has the ability to contact the league and the PGMOL to express his concerns. He can talk to Richard Bevon at the LMA. In pre-season, he can put his concerns forward.

“There is a correlation between the number of players injured and the challenges that are being allowed to go and the ones that are not.

“Maybe there is too much of letting the game flow and that’s where you need to come in and be protective. That challenge by Cash on Doherty required a sanction.

“You watch and sometimes players are resilient and can take the hits. But look at Man City, Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne are struggling. It impacts the league and it all adds up.

“Yes we’ve got big squads and next season the answer is the five substitutes.”

Spurs Web Opinion

The decision by the officials to let the game flow more this season is something that I believe has worked well as it has made for better viewing and reduced the number of simulations. 

However, as Hackett mentions, it is quite a delicate balance and could encourage some players to deliberate leave one on their opponents, which will lead to more impact injuries.

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