Sunday the 11th of April

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Football officiating should follow example set by rugby

The Chaplain for Sport has urged the Football Association to follow the example set by rugby when it comes to officiating matches.

“To err is human,” Mgr Vladimir Felzmann told The Universe.

“Top footballers miss penalties – in spite of all their training so it is bound to happen that referees also get things wrong; even with the best will in the world.”

Mgr Felzmann, who is also CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, pointed out that pressure from players, fans, managers and a referee’s own ambition to do the best job possible will occasionally generate what, with hindsight, will clearly be a mistake.

“Perhaps by radio contact with officials on site but not on the field of play, consultations between officials could take place – even though this would slow the pace of the game,” he suggested.

“It’s a matter of balancing justice and entertainment: something for the FA perhaps to address; learning from rugby.”

Mgr Felzmann’s call comes after referee Keith Stroud was withdrawn from last Saturday’s Sky Bet League One game between Gillingham and Millwall following a mistake he made over a retaken penalty during the Newcastle v Burton match on Wednesday 5th April.

‘Unfortunately, in this case, the referee has misapplied the law,’ read a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, which oversees referees performances.

‘Keith and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake.’

Fortunately, Newcastle won the game through Matt Ritchie’s second-half goal to leave them top of the Sky Bet Championship and 10 points clear of the play-off spots.

This weekend’s Premier League fixtures:

Saturday 15th April

Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth – 12:30pm
Crystal Palace v Leicester City – 3:00pm
Everton v Burnley – 3:00pm
Stoke City v Hull City – 3:00pm
Sunderland v West Ham United – 3:00pm
Watford v Swansea City – 3:00pm
Southampton v Manchester City – 5:30pm

Sunday 16th April

West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool – 1:30pm
Manchester United v Chelsea – 4:00pm

Monday 17th April

Middlesbrough v Arsenal – 8:00pm

Picture: File photo dated 05-04-2017 of Newcastle United’s Matt Richie reacts angrily after scoring a penalty only for referee Keith Stroud to reverse the decision on giving the penalty during the Sky Bet Championship match at St James’ Park, Newcastle. (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire).