Sunday 4 December 2016

Peter Crouch: Penalty clampdown is going to be a farce

Published 21/08/2016 | 23:06

Referee Mike Dean awarded two contentious penalties for offences at set-pieces in Stoke's clash with Manchester City
Referee Mike Dean awarded two contentious penalties for offences at set-pieces in Stoke's clash with Manchester City

Former England striker Peter Crouch fears a farcical number of penalties could be awarded in the Premier League this season.

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Referees have been urged to clamp down on holding and pushing in the box at set-pieces this term.

The new directive was in evidence as both Crouch's Stoke and Manchester City were awarded contentious spot-kicks by referee Mike Dean in their clash at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Both offences might have been overlooked in previous years and Crouch, echoing comments by manager Mark Hughes, is worried the new interpretation may be too strict.

The 35-year-old said: "I haven't seen them back but if they're penalties then you're going to be giving two or three a game and it's going to be a farce.

"We were told they were going to give more penalties this year so we can't say we weren't given a warning. Even so, when you see it in the cold light of day it's hard to take."

There was no doubting Ryan Shawcross held Nicolas Otamendi's arm to concede the first penalty of the game, which allowed City - who went on to win 4-1 - to take the lead, even if it seemed soft.

But Stoke's penalty, after Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have impeded Shawcross, was far less clear.

Crouch, who was an unused substitute, thinks Shawcross' reputation went before him in the first instance.

He said: "I think Ryan was pulled up maybe in the media a few times about holding and stuff like that. Obviously the referee was dying to give that.

"Then it looked like he evened things up, to be honest. If you're going to give penalties away like that there are going to be a lot of penalties and people will be asking for consistency.

"I suppose it will soon eradicate it - you won't have any holding because you don't want to give a penalty away. You'd rather let him have a header, which sounds ridiculous."

Crouch is not happy with the new directive and expects Hughes will probably have to meet with players and staff to discuss the matter.

He said: "It (holding) was part and parcel of the game. It's one of those fouls you just sort of accept in football.

"You know the defender is going to hold you in the box and on the odd occasion you do get a penalty - but only if it's blatantly obvious. I was happy with that rule. I think it was more an issue for the media than for players.

"It's going to be a long season for defenders and, if I get a game, it will be difficult for me as well when I come back for corners.

"I think we'll probably have a meeting and talk about it this week because we can't give penalties away like that."

Press Association

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