How can Premier League refereeing be improved?

Are refereeing decisions reaching an all-time low? After a string of shoddy calls over the Easter period, Eurosport take a look at how improvements can be made.

Eurosport

Watch the dodgy decisions from the Easter Period in the video box at the top right of the page...

The reaction to a flurry of very poor decisions of late has led to widespread criticism of the Premier League officials.

Numerous top-flight managers have come out to voice their disgust, with Mark Hughes and Roberto Martinez amongst the most vocal in feeling aggrieved.

QPR and Wigan each had to contend with horrendous decisions going against them in their matches against Manchester United and Chelsea, respectively.

Hardly in need of favours, United received about four in one early incident: Shaun Derry was sent off for supposedly ‘tripping’ Ashley Young - who was already in an offside position. Then, of course, there was a penalty for Wayne Rooney to convert to compound Hughes’s frustration.

Perhaps worse still, Martinez was left to reflect on two “disgusting” decisions as assistant referee Dave Bryan failed to notice that both Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata were in offside positions when scoring Chelsea’s two goals against his side at Stamford Bridge.

The extent to which Ivanovic, in particular, was allowed to simply ghost in – offside – behind a Wigan back four, stepping up as a unit, was all the more shocking given the significance of the result for the Latics in their fight against relegation. Bryan has since been withdrawn from his midweek duties as a result of his mistakes.

Criticising refereeing decisions is often regarded as facile, but there comes a point when ignoring the chaotic calls in England’s top flight seems absurd. So here are a few ways in which Premier League refereeing could be improved:

Eurosport's five-steps to improved refereeing

1) Implement technology to assist in making crucial decisions

It's been called for in goal-line decisions, and while other sports have adopted technology in all kinds of decisions with some success, football still lags behind.

2) Foreign referees should be employed if they are of a better standard

The Premier League has foreign players and managers - why not referees?

3) Referees and their assistants should face the media to explain their decisions

Some, including our resident expert Paul Parker, worry it might lead to more abuse for referees, but the counter argument is that it could help fans understand the referee's thought process.

4) Players should be retrospectively punished for challenging officials’ authority

Despite countless 'respect' campaigns the players still feel they can say what they want to referees. If swift and decisive punishments are handed out to those who swear, abuse or show any form of dissent to the officials, it will stop. And then perhaps referees will have more room simply to get on with the job of officiating.

5) The punishment of officials should be entirely transparent and explained by the authorities

If refereeing performances are closely monitored by the governing bodies, why not let the public know how they're doing? Umpires on cricket's elite list are subject to the same scrutiny.

What do you think about the above suggestions? How do you think the standard of refereeing in the Premier League could be improved?

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