Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett has called for current boss Mike Riley to be removed from his position with Professional Game Match Officials Limited and labelled the current crop of officials as the “worst that we have seen”.
Sheffield-based Hackett, who was succeeded at PGMOL by Riley in 2010, has also called for referees Mike Jones, Andre Marriner, Lee Mason and Chris Foy to be stood down at the end of the season while also calling for Lee Probert to lose his position should he fail a fitness test.
Writing on his ‘You are the ref’ blog, Hackett has called for wide-ranging action to change PGMOL, with the first course of action to “dispense with the services of the current PGMOL General Manager”.
“One thing is certain: Professional Game Match Officials Limited cannot continue without a fundamental review of its operations,” he wrote.
“The PGMOL is failing in its aim to DELIVER EXCELLENCE ON THE FIELD.”
And Hackett agrees with former referee Graham Poll’s scathing opinion that performances have been reached a new low.
“This season we have all witnessed many disastrous performances and big game-changing errors,” Hackett added. “I share the view of one former top referee that the current group of professional referees is the worst that we have seen.
“The latest big game decision error was the stupid dismissal of Wayne Routledge of Swansea City who himself was on the receiving end of a reckless challenge.
“It is unbelievable that a so-called top referee should make such a mistake.
“It is my view that the board of the PGMOL should return to its original constitution with the chief executives of The FA, The Football League and Premier League reviewing the current PGMOL operation.”
Routledge’s red card, which was shown by Anthony Taylor, was later overturned by the Football Association and, while Taylor was not on Hackett’s list for the chop, he was scathing in his assessment of Riley.
“I am criticising very strongly,” he told BBC Sport. “If the guy is at the bottom of the league then his job is at risk. At this moment in time he (Riley) is more than bottom.
“I am seeing a regression. The performances of the referees are not acceptable. He must carry the responsibility.”
He added: “Ultimately, at the end of the day, I don’t think they’re bad referees, I just think they need some leadership and guidance and help at this stage to improve performances on the field of play.”