London - Referee Andre Marriner was spared demotion from the English Premiership
list for his mistaken identity blunder at Stamford Bridge when it was
announced Monday he would be in charge of the match between Southampton
and Newcastle at St Mary's on Saturday.
In the midst of Premier
League leaders Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing of London rivals Arsenal last
Saturday, Marriner sent off the Gunners' Kieran Gibbs for handling a
goal-bound shot on the line when it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who had
committed the infringement.
Eden Hazard duly put Chelsea 3-0 ahead from the ensuing penalty.
later apologised for his error, which led victorious Blues manager Jose
Mourinho to re-iterate his plea for officials to be given access to
However, that cut little ice with Clive Thomas, one of British football's most respected referees.
may be more 30 years since the 77-year-old Welshman, nicknamed 'The
Book' for his strict adherence to football's rules last controlled a
senior match, but Thomas was in no doubt that Marriner and his linesmen
should all face a lengthy ban.
"It was the most disgusting,
shocking decision I've seen," Thomas told the BBC before Marriner was
appointed to the St Mary's fixture.
"In my opinion these four wouldn't officiate another English Premiership game this season," added Thomas.
Dermot Gallagher - a more recently retired referee - disagreed with
Thomas and said a lengthy ban was the last thing the 43-year-old
"I can't see how that would do Andre any good," Gallagher told the BBC.
got one of the leading referees in not only England but in Europe, and
you're going to stand him down?
"That doesn't do the English Premiership any
good because he is a top top-flight referee - he's made one mistake and
his confidence would be shattered if that happened," added Gallagher,
also speaking before Marriner's latest appointment was confirmed.
a statement released after the game, Professional Game Match Officials
Limited said: "Andre is an experienced referee and is obviously
disappointed that an error of mistaken identity was made in this
case...He expressed his disappointment to Arsenal when he was made aware
of the issue."
Marriner was in charge when Wigan beat Manchester City 1-0 in last year's FA Cup final at Wembley.
Roberto Martinez, Wigan boss that day but now the manager of Everton,
came to the West Midlands referee's defence while distancing himself
from Mourinho's plea for officials to be given greater technological
"I think goal-line technology was a really important
breakthrough but from that point on I think we need to allow referees to
do their job," Martinez said.
"Andre Marriner has incredible experience and it was one of those situations that happens in football.
are part of the game and there will be errors, misjudgments and
mistakes but that is part of football and you need to accept it because
that is what makes football what it is," the Spaniard added.
won't be the only one in the spotlight at Southampton's St Mary's
ground this weekend as Saturday's match is also set to see the return of
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, with the Magpies boss now having served
his three-game stadium ban for headbutting Hull's David Meyler.