Pulis warns referees are ruining Premier League

McAuley was sent off for a foul on Bony, but the referee got it wrong
McAuley was sent off for a foul on Bony, but the referee got it wrong

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis claimed woeful refereeing decision are threatening the credibility of the Premier League, after another shockingly poor decision marred his side’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Referee Neil Swarbrick sent off West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley after in the latest case of mistaken identity, with Craig Dawson the guilty party after he hauled down Wilfreid Boney as he raced through on goal 89 seconds into the game.

Sunderland’s Wes Brown was dismissed in error after a foul by John O’Shea in a game at Old Trafford last month and Pulis admitted the refereeing mistakes are becoming far too frequent in a Premier League narrative that has been dominated by poor decisions this season.

“In the professional game, the feeling this season is some of the game changing decisions have been very, very disappointing,” said Pulis.

“We don’t have a say what the referees do or don’t do, but this is affecting us. It’s not just me, but other managers in the game as well. We are every concerned about the standard of refereeing.

“We’ve had players sent off for blocked challenges, we had penalties not given which was a definite penalty. Something has to be done to help the officials.”

Swarbrick admitted to his error in a statement from Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, the organisation responsible for refereeing appointments.

The statement read: "In the second minute of Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, referee Neil Swarbrick made a decision to send off Gareth McAuley for a 'denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity' offence.

"The referee has confirmed the offence was caused by a different player, which should be addressed now as a case of mistaken identity. The referee has apologised for his error."

Pulis also proposed a system that would allow managers to appeal against decisions during a game, with the introduction of video replays to clear up contentious issues.

“This Premier League is a fantastic product and it is watch worldwide and we appreciate that refereeing is tough, so to give them a chance to sort things out and get decisions right would help,” he continued.

“If we were given an opportunity where referees can have a 30 second call back, that eradicates all the stuff we are talking about now. I’d have two 30-second calls back per game for each manager. We could sort it all out and we wouldn’t be talking about this.”