Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 August 2019

Defiant Warnock renews attack on referees’ chief

The Bluebirds suffered a highly controversial 2-1 defeat against Chelsea on Sunday.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has hit out at referees’ chief Mike Riley in the wake of the controversial defeat against Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA).
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has hit out at referees’ chief Mike Riley in the wake of the controversial defeat against Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA).

By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

Neil Warnock has claimed refereeing standards in the English game have gone backwards under referees’ chief Mike Riley.

Cardiff manager Warnock could yet receive a Football Association charge over his post-match comments about the officials following the controversial 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

But Warnock was defiant in his criticism of Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, before Cardiff’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday.

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Referees chief Riley has been heavily criticised by Cardiff manager Warnock (Christopher Lee/PA)

“I always thought Mike Riley was a manufactured referee from day one,” Warnock said.

“I don’t think he’s changed since then. He’s been coached manufactured, almost like a robot.

“He knows everything about the rules, but I feel these people struggle to understand the game and the human element.

“A lot of referees are like Mike Riley and that’s why I think we have gone backwards.”

“Common sense thing is not allowed nowadays, but the best refs still use it.

It is understood that Warnock will escape punishment for his on-field behaviour after standing and shaking his head as referee Craig Pawson and his assistants left the pitch after the Chelsea game.

Warnock was furious after Chelsea scored a late equaliser, even though Cesar Azpilicueta was clearly standing in an offside position.

The veteran manager also felt Cardiff should have been awarded two penalties and Antonio Rudiger should have been sent off for bringing down Kenneth Zohore when through on goal, with the Chelsea defender only receiving a yellow card.

Warnock had said in his post-match comments: “The best league in the world and probably the worst officials at the minute.”

“I’m sure they’ll ask for my observations and I’ll send them,” Warnock said when asked if the Football Association had contacted him over his comments.

“I’d imagine people in the FA feel sorry for me if I’m honest.

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Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, left, had a staredown with referee Craig Pawson and his assistants (Nick Potts/PA)

“But I don’t think Mike Riley and myself aren’t close are quite close Christmas card list-wise.

“It’s disappointing because there are enough ex-referees who can give education and knowledge to make our referees the best.

“When I see people like Paul Durkin, Graham Poll and Mark Clattenburg, who were top referees and know the game as well as the laws, I think it’s criminal they’re not involved.”

Press Association Sport has asked the Football Association and the Referees’ Association for a response to Warnock’s comments.

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