Tony Pulis calls for referee reviews on day of controversy for officials

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Man City 3-0 West Brom: Referee decisions changed the game - Pulis

West Brom boss Tony Pulis says managers should be able to appeal against decisions after a day of controversy surrounding match officials.

Pulis's complaint came after referee Neil Swarbrick sent off Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson during West Brom's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Swarbrick has apologised for the error.

In a similar incident at Huddersfield, referee Richard Clark sent off Fulham's Cauley Woodrow but then called him back and instead dismissed Shaun Hutchinson.

Elsewhere, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson called Mike Dean "arrogant" after his performance in the Foxes' 4-3 defeat against Tottenham and manager Aitor Karanka claimed an assistant referee laughed after disallowing a goal for his Middlesbrough side in their 3-0 defeat by Bournemouth.

The incidents come three weeks after Sunderland defender Wes Brown was mistakenly sent off by Roger East during the Black Cats' 2-0 defeat by Manchester United.

The wrong man at City

Swarbrick's mistake came just 89 seconds into the match at Etihad Stadium, when Dawson fouled Wilfried Bony on the edge of the area.

Bony got up before running into McAuley inside the area. Swarbrick, however, awarded City a free-kick before calling McAuley over, and proceeded to send him off despite his pleas of innocence and protests from his team-mates.

"If we can help referees with a 30-second call-back option, twice a game, it would stop us talking about them," said Pulis.

Neil Swarbrick sent off Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson
Neil Swarbrick apologised after mistakenly sending off Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson

Pulis's idea would be similar to the system used in American football, where officials in the stand have access to replays when there is an in-game appeal and can advise the referee on the pitch after watching incidents again.

"The referees can have a link-up with the people upstairs who are watching the video," explained Pulis.

"That way you are taking the major decisions, the ones that even as a manager on the sidelines you know could be wrong, and giving the referee a chance to redeem a mistake he might have made.

"It would eradicate the decisions that referees are getting wrong that affect games."

How does it work in the NFL?
During a game, the head coach of each team has two challenges, which they can use at any time outside the two-minute warning at the end of each half.They challenge the official's decision by throwing a red flag onto the field, but they must do so before the next play starts.Once a play is challenged, the referee has 60 seconds to examine the incident from multiple angles on a TV screen on the sidelines.If the challenge is unsuccessful, the challenging team loses a timeout. If successful, the decision is overturned and the team keeps the timeout. The NFL has been using this system since 1999.

It couldn't happen twice in the same day, surely?

It could and it did. Head 28 miles east to Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium where referee Clark had a similar issue in the 60th minute.

Fulham forward Woodrow was shown a red card for deliberate handball in the area. He refused to leave the pitch, before eventually being dragged off by his team-mates.

But further protests saw Clark consult the fourth official and he then changed his decision, instead sending Hutchinson off for the offence.

Huddersfield striker Nahki Wells's resulting penalty was saved and Fulham went on to take the points with a 2-0 win.

Dean's 'arrogance frightening'

Leicester are fighting for their lives in the Premier League and the last thing they need is bad luck when it comes to refereeing decisions.

With the score locked at 2-2 against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, Mike Dean awarded the hosts a controversial penalty when David Nugent collided with Spurs defender Danny Rose.

David Nugent was penalised for a foul on Danny Rose
David Nugent was penalised for a foul on Danny Rose in the 63rd minute

Harry Kane converted the penalty to help Mauricio Pochettino's team edge to a 4-3 win.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was forthright in his assessment of the referee.

"The arrogance of the man at times is frightening," he said. "I find it difficult to accept that we have to deal with yet another contentious decision that has not gone our way."

No laughing matter for Boro

Middlesbrough conceded two penalties as they were well beaten in their top-of-the-table clash with Bournemouth.

But the spot-kicks were not the only source of Karanka's ire. The Middlesbrough manager was more critical of an assistant referee, whom he deemed to be enjoying himself a little too much.

Aitor Karanka
Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough slipped to third in the table with defeat at Bournemouth

The Spaniard said: "Today we had all the things against us. The penalties, for me, are unbelievable.

"I can understand mistakes because everyone makes mistakes, but I can't understand behaviours. For example, when we had a disallowed goal the linesman was laughing."

'We need to hear from officials'

McAuley's red card was the second case of apparent mistaken identity in the Premier League in less than a month, following Brown's red card at Old Trafford for a foul by his Sunderland team-mate John O'Shea.

And while Pulis is among those calling for technology, BBC Radio 5 live's Danny Mills, who was at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, said it was important that explanations were given by officials.

"We need to hear from the officials, because I just don't understand what was going through the referee's mind," said Mills.

Roger East sends off Wes Brown instead of John O'Shea
Wes Brown's red card at Old Trafford on 28 February was later overturned

"One player has got 'Dawson' on his back, and the other has 'McAuley'.

"Does the referee not have the common sense to just say to one of his officials, 'have I got the right man?' They are all hooked up with headsets.

"Surely referees' chief Mike Riley [head of Professional Game Match Officials] and Howard Webb [PGMOL technical director] need to come out quickly to explain what has happened and why."

Speaking on Match of the Day, Phil Neville said he "felt quite sorry" for the officials.

"They are getting slaughtered on every TV programme in England," said the former Manchester United and Everton defender.

"It's a mistake but it was comical. If I was Gareth McAuley, I wouldn't have left the field - I would have said it was Craig Dawson and not gone off."

Will a change happen any time soon?

Goal line technology was introduced into the Premier League in 2013 but TV footage is not used to adjudicate on any decisions in top-flight matches.

A proposal had been put forward by the Dutch FA (KNVB) to extend its trial of having a video official in the stadium watching replays and advising the referee on key decisions via a headset.

And football officials in the Netherlands had wanted to use video officials in the Dutch Cup next season.

But that plan was put back 12 months at a meeting of the game's law-makers in Belfast last month.

And Pulis does not expect his suggested changes to be implemented any time soon either.

When asked where he will go with his proposals next he replied: "You will have to get one of the big boys to say it and then people will take notice."

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