Former FIFA and Premier League referee Keith Hackett believes that Jose Mourinho crossed a line with his criticism of Michael Oliver after Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
With the game finely poised at 1-1, Oliver blew for a penalty just after the hour mark after a coming together between Alexandre Lacazette and Davinson Sanchez.
Replays clearly showed that Lacazette had miskicked the shot before making any contact with Sanchez but VAR decided not to reverse the penalty call.
Mourinho certainly did not mince his words in his post-match interview, insisting to Sky Sports that Oliver should be interviewed to explain his decision.
The Tottenham boss even suggested that perhaps the 36-year-old was ‘tired’ just like some of his players for after officiating a European fixture in midweek.
Hackett believes questioning the physical or mental fitness of the referee could result in a touchline ban for Mourinho, particularly because of his history.
Speaking about the Portuguese coach’s criticism of Oliver, Hackett told Football Insider: “It’s an unhelpful comment. The reason I say that is, at the game there is a match delegate and he’s the representative of the Premier League.
“He watches the referee’s performance and he issues a report on the referee’s performance.
“But before he does that he has a debate with both managers and in that situation if the manager’s unhappy with the referee’s performance he has an outlet to do that. If he’s further unhappy and not satisfied with the outcomes he can even use the services of the LMA.
“Generally, the FA in first instance, will usually write to him and take into account the record of the manager and say ‘This is out of order.’
“Ideally managers aren’t supposed to make comments. They can say ‘In my opinion, this is the wrong decision’ and I think he’s gone into the side where he’s questioning the fitness of the referee whether physically or mentally in terms of concentration.
“A few years ago, when I was on watch that’s exactly what Ferguson did, question the fitness of Alan Wiley and I responded because I was able to demonstrate in terms of distance covered and speed compared to all the players on the field of play, he was at worst number three of the 22 players. I was able to respond with facts. That can be helpful, to respond with actual stats.
“Mourinho will probably get a private letter to remind him of his responsibilities but the problem he’s got is his history. It might be that they decide to do something else. He’s at risk, certainly, of a touchline ban because he’s questioned the ability of a referee.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Given that referees do not have an obligation to explain their decisions, managers will obviously express their discontent at decisions during post-match interviews. If the Premier League and the PGMOL want to avoid this scenario, then they should be open to miking the officials so that everyone can hear their communication with the players and the VAR just like in other sports.
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