Martin Atkinson: Referee 'needs break after incompetent display'

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Martin Atkinson
Martin Atkinson sent off Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic (third from right) during the 1-1 draw with Burnley

Martin Atkinson needs a rest after his "incompetent" officiating display in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Burnley, says former referees' chief Keith Hackett.

Saturday's game was Atkinson's 32nd of the season and came fewer than 72 hours after he took charge of Real Madrid's Champions League win at Schalke.

His next game in charge is Southampton against Crystal Palace on 3 March.

Hackett said: "Champions League games are tiring. Martin should have been given an additional day to recover."

Atkinson won't referee a game this weekend, but there is a shortened Premier League fixture list because of the Capital One Cup final.

However, he is fourth official at Manchester United's home game against Sunderland on Saturday.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho said Atkinson got four key decisions wrong.

Atkinson sent off Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic for pushing Ashley Barnes to the ground in the 70th minute of Saturday's game.

Mourinho silent on four key 'moments'

But Hackett, who was head of Professional Game Match Officials Limited until 2010, said Barnes had already made two challenges worthy of red cards.

Having not been sanctioned for an aerial clash with Branislav Ivanovic, the Burnley forward caught Matic on his left shin with his studs showing, prompting the Serb's angry response.

Barnes will face no disciplinary action by the Football Association for the challenge on Matic.

The Serb will miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Tottenham unless Chelsea successfully appeal against a three-match suspension.

Hackett said Atkinson's performance was "one of the worst" he has seen, adding: "It was an incompetent display.

"I feel sorry for the Chelsea player because he has reacted to a leg-breaking challenge. Never mind a cup final, that could have cost him his career.

"There is no place in the game for challenges like that and it should have been punished."

Atkinson has refereed more Premier League games than any other official this season.

Hackett added: "Send Martin to a hotel somewhere, just as Liverpool did with Raheem Sterling."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers let Sterling spend time in Jamaica last month after detecting signs of fatigue in the 20-year-old forward.

The Chelsea website's take on Saturday's "four moments"
Minute 30: Branislav Ivanovic is felled by a challenge from Burnley's Ashley Barnes, who escapes punishment.
Minute 33: The Blues are denied a clear penalty as Ivanovic's shot strikes the arm of Michael Kightly inside the penalty area.
Minute 43: A second clear penalty appeal is turned away, this time after Diego Costa was pushed to the ground by Jason Shackell.
Minute 69: Barnes goes through Nemanja Matic with a potentially leg-breaking tackle, a challenge which ultimately led to Matic's dismissal.
Source: chelseafc.comexternal-link

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