independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Allardyce sympathises with referees

Sam Allardyce believes referees' performances drop over the Christmas period because of fatigue

Referees struggle to officiate at their best during the festive period as they are overworked, according to West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

Anthony Taylor dismissed West Ham striker Carlton Cole and Everton's Darron Gibson during the Toffees' 2-1 win at Upton Park on Saturday but both red cards have since been rescinded following successful appeals. Allardyce reckons the pool of professional referees is not big enough to cope with the congested fixture schedule over Christmas.

"This is a difficult period for referees," he said.

"Why do they always seem to make more wrong decisions now? It's probably because they are overworked and they are fatigued. The system has to be looked at and, in my opinion, it's because they are fatigued. Referees are travelling all over the country and out in Europe and have been since the start of the season.

"There's not enough of them. They try their very best to get things consistently right. But it happens every year around this time of year, the controversy.

"We had a couple in our last game and there have been many throughout football over the Christmas period. Fatigue is everything in terms of decision making. Once it kicks in you lose the ability to make those decisions correctly."

Cole is now available to feature in West Ham's Barclays Premier League clash with struggling Reading on Saturday and Allardyce is pleased to have the former Chelsea man in his squad for the trip to the Madejski Stadium.

He said: "The best news this week is Cole's red card being overturned. I wasn't surprised at the Cole decision but I was anxious, in the past what has looked like a good case has not been turned over. In this case we're very pleased to have him with us for a very important time of the year.

"He's playing very well, leading the line for us and in terms of creative play he's the pinnacle for us with his hold-up play. He's scored a superb goal against Everton and we're seeing the Carlton Cole we all want to see consistently - I hope he can keep it up because he's a big threat to anyone.

"Carlton isn't going to change hugely any more but he's far more consistent in my time here than I expected before I arrived based on the perception of him. I've really enjoyed working with him and his company and personality."

Press Association

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