Tag Archives: inconsistency

Graham Poll: Video referees now a necessity

Referees need help… so now it's time to use a video jury to help serve justice

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 8 October 2012

The video evidence is clear; Manchester United striker Robin van Persie looks over his shoulder, sees Yohan Cabaye and swings an arm out to strike the Newcastle midfielder.

The Dutchman's arm is raised and not moving in a natural arc for someone running. Here there is no ambiguity, unlike when a player is jumping for the ball. You can’t blame Howard Webb for missing the offence – it happened well away from the ball, at pace.

Caught on camera: Robin van Persie appeared to strike Yohan Cabaye

Caught on camera: Robin van Persie appeared to strike Yohan Cabaye

This clash was highlighted after the
game by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and then widely covered on TV. The
incident was played out using excellent, zoomed-in, enhanced images that
Webb, of course, cannot utilise during play.

The FA allow the use of video
evidence to determine if there should be a misconduct charge because the
offence occurred out of view of the referee.

But there is a clear flaw in their
process. They ask the match-day referee to look at the incident and say
whether he missed a red-card offence. In this case Webb, an excellent
referee who had a red card overturned the week before, has said there
was not one.

It should not be up to him.

Avoidable: Stoke's Robert Huth was accused of stamping on a grounded Luis Suarez

Avoidable: Stoke's Robert Huth was accused of stamping on a grounded Luis Suarez

In some way, by accepting you have
missed a red card offence, you feel at fault. It’s far easier to say the
incident is not 100 per cent clear and let sleeping dogs lie. And that
is why I would like to see an independent panel, made up of a former
player, manager and referee, review all such incidents in a consistent
and impartial way.

There is a degree of inconsistency on
the field, as one referee’s opinion can vary from another’s. If all
video reviews were conducted by the same three people, that
inconsistency could be taken away.

There was another incident which the
panel could have reviewed from Sunday; the alleged stamp by Stoke’s
Robert Huth on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Referee Lee Mason appears to think
from the video evidence that the incident does not suggest a clear
red-card offence. I would ask him to consider this: if a Stoke team-mate
had been lying there, would Huth have trodden on him

Decked: Suarez, though, has been widely criticised for taking a dive in the same game

Decked: Suarez, though, has been widely criticised for taking a dive in the same game

Again don’t blame the ref, but don’t ask him to adjudicate on something which makes him feel to blame as he missed it.

The benefit of a panel is they would not have the same fears of being compromised as some referees do if asked to review.

There has been the belief that if you
say a player should be charged with video evidence, then you will not
be appointed to referee his team again in the near future.

So the panel would offer complete
impartiality, consistency and a solution to the issue of diving by
reviewing all possible acts of simulation.

Detection is very hard at full speed
but with slow-motion pictures this act of cheating can be seen clearly.
Then an appropriate retrospective punishment could be applied and we
might see players stop this pathetic attempt to con referees.

Lewis Hamilton focus switches from Mercedes to Japanese Grand Prix

The gloves are off! Hamilton ready for first race since turning back on McLaren

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UPDATED:

08:49 GMT, 3 October 2012

In his first race since choosing to quit McLaren to join Mercedes next season, Lewis Hamilton must get his focus back on the Formula One championship fight at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes announced last Friday that Hamilton will replace seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher in a major shake-up that also sees Sergio Perez going to McLaren.

Hamilton has two wins and three non-finishes from his past five races, with that inconsistency leaving him in fourth place in the standings, 52 points behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with six races to go. He led the previous race in Singapore until he suffered a gearbox failure on lap 23 of 59 and had to retire.

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton will leave McLaren for Mercedes next year

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton will leave McLaren for Mercedes next year

'In terms of the championship, there's nothing to be really gained by analysing the points tables,' Hamilton said. 'From now on it's simply gloves-off. As in Singapore, I'll come out fighting, I'll just be hoping for a better result.'

Hamilton has spent his entire F1 career with McLaren – the team he first began an association with at the age of 13 – and won the 2008 title, but the team was unwilling to match a lucrative offer from Mercedes.

For Schumacher, Hamilton's move could mark the end of the most decorated career the sport has seen – and a three-year comeback that has seen him fail to replicate the success of his prime – although there is speculation the 43-year-old German could replace Perez at Sauber next season.

Despite the distractions, Schumacher said he was looking forward to the Japanese GP, a race he has won six times.

'My motivation is still very high after the news from last week, especially as Suzuka very clearly is one of the highlights in the calendar for me,' Schumacher said.

But Schumacher will be faced with a 10-place grid penalty at Suzuka for causing a spectacular crash with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne during the Singapore GP.

Off track: Former world champion Michael Schumacher's time in F1 could be up

Off track: Former world champion Michael Schumacher's time in F1 could be up

Like Hamilton and Schumacher, Perez will be eager to get the focus back on the track after a disappointing result at Marina Bay where he finished 10th.

'After underperforming in Singapore, in Japan I am expecting our car to again be as good as it used to be and we should be strong in the high-speed corners,' the Mexican driver said.

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button won here last year and kept a pulse in his faint title hopes by taking second place in Singapore but will drop five places on the grid due to changing a gearbox.

It's the same gearbox problem that forced Hamilton to retire in Singapore. Hamilton will also get a new selector but escapes any penalty because he did not finish in Singapore.

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel won in Singapore, a result that allowed the German to replace Hamilton in second place in the standings, where he trails Alonso by 29 points.

The Red Bull driver has done well at Suzuka over the years, taking the checkered flag in 2009 and 2010 and finishing third last year to claim his second straight drivers' championship.

Referees are in a no win situation – Graham Poll

Referees are in a no win situation… but they must stay strong and earn respect

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UPDATED:

00:05 GMT, 27 August 2012

Referees can’t win; that much we know. If they apply the laws then they are seen as pedants who need to use their common sense. When they show empathy they are accused of inconsistency. The problem is that common sense and consistency cannot work in tandem.

So referees are currently trying to follow the instruction of low involvement, only punishing the serious offences and particularly those which threaten the safety of opponents while turning a blind eye to the technical offences which, if applied, disrupt the flow of play and annoy players and spectators.

This attitude occasionally causes more problems than it solves and Mark Cattenburg fell foul of that at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Good save: John Ruddy denied Djibril Cisse from the penalty spot

Good save: John Ruddy denied Djibril Cisse from the penalty spot

After awarding a harsh but technically correct penalty to Queens Park Rangers he then turned a blind eye to encroachment at the taking of the penalty kick by at least seven players.

Usually when encroachment occurs it has no affect. Either the penalty is scored or the keeper saves and the ball is cleared. So why bother with the technicality of encroachment

The reason became clear at Norwich when one of the players who encroached, Bobby Zamora, scored from the rebound. A goal was scored which should not have been allowed.

Going in: Bobby Zamora scored the follow up for QPR but it should have been disallowed due to encroachment in the area

Going in: Bobby Zamora scored the follow up for QPR but it should have been disallowed due to encroachment in the area

More from Graham Poll…

Graham Poll: Moving ball is making it tough for goalkeepers – and it needs to be looked at to make it fair
26/08/12

Graham Poll: Rodallega was wearing traditional studs not blades
26/08/12

Graham Poll: Pardew can't be compared with Di Canio… but he must be punished
19/08/12

Graham Poll: Ronaldo penalty gaffe could easily have been avoided
28/06/12

Graham Poll: Italy have taken full advantage of weak refereeing
22/06/12

Graham Poll: England's lucky break will ensure goalline technology gets go-ahead
19/06/12

Graham Poll: England ref Rizzoli lacked fairness and balance despite Serie A experience
11/06/12

Graham Poll: Champions League final ref Proenca will show his softer side
17/05/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

At this point let’s clarify law; if a defender or defenders encroach and a goal is scored it is allowed – if not then the penalty must be retaken.

The reverse applies if one or more attackers encroaches.

When a players from both sides encroach then irrespective of the penalty kicks outcome the kick must be retaken.

Referees are encouraged to stand a couple of yards inside the penalty area watching the ball and the penalty taker. If any players encroach far enough into the area to go past them then they act and if not they turn a blind eye.

Such slack application of law leads to just such incidents as seen on Saturday.

It was interesting to hear that the Football League chairmen have asked referees to be more vigilant with certain technical offences as they believe that ignoring them has affected the image of the game.

Allowing players to steal too many yards at throw-ins, standing on the ball to prevent free kicks being taken as well as diving were highlighted as offences that Chairmen no longer wanted ignored.

To have club chairmen telling you to tighten up your game is a sure sign that referees have allowed the pendulum to swing too far in the direction of tolerance and understanding.

Respect must be earned and strength is the only way to get it. Otherwise we all need to get used to the slack application of law that the 2012 Olympic final referee allowed at Norwich – and was not discouraged from doing so.

GOOD WEEK FOR…

…Michael Oliver who continues to impress and correctly dismissed Ciaran Clark for the denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Sure, the game looked over but law was applied as it should be. I told you common sense and consistency don’t go together and the referee should be right and not popular.

BAD WEEK FOR…

…West Ham United’s Ricardo Vaz Te who was caught on video blatantly diving at Swansea to win West Ham United a free kick and get opponent Jose ‘Chico’ Flores cautioned. Why can’t retrospective action be taken to help the fight against the cheats And why don’t MOTD highlight and shame the culprits

McLaren

Don't panic! Button backs McLaren to bounce back… but Lewis wants quick answer

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 29 May 2012

McLaren's debrief back at their Woking headquarters on Monday amounted to yet another post-race post-mortem on a hugely disappointing grand prix weekend.

Monaco served to demonstrate that, while the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari are getting to grips with the technical challenges and strategy questions posed by 2012's regulations and tyres, McLaren are stuck at the head-scratching stage.

Warning: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button don't want to be left behind

Warning: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button don't want to be left behind

The fact that McLaren are in trouble is all the more strange given their strong start as Jenson Button opened the campaign with victory in Australia. Since then there has been an alarming, steady decline in their fortunes.

Button, to his credit, continues to offer confident predictions his team will get it right even as he struggles to achieve the all-important balance with his car which will enable him to return to the business end of races rather than languish in a midfield battle.

'There is no sense of panic,' insisted Button despite being classified 16th in Monaco after failing to complete all 78 laps. 'We have seen such inconsistency (in the results), that is why we should not panic and panicking wouldn't make a difference.

'The first three races were good and then suddenly in the last three – I don't know where it is. It is nothing we can't sort out. We will solve the issues. It's just a question of whether we do it in time. We need to get back on track and start fighting those guys out in front.'

Slow lane: McLaren have struggled after an impressive start

Slow lane: McLaren have struggled after an impressive start

The next race in Canada would seem to be the ideal place for Button to do just that given, last year, it was the scene of his greatest ever victory.

'I have great memories of Monaco but even greater memories of Canada in 2011,' said Button harking back to his remarkable recovery drive which saw him, following a collision with teammate Lewis Hamilton, come from 21st to first following a in a downpour affected grand prix.

But even Button was forced to concede that, even in a season which has produced six different winners from six races, it may be easier to decipher who will be best placed to win in Montreal.

'You would say that people who were good in Monaco will be good in Canada,' admitted Button. 'You need cars with good traction, low speed mechanical grip and guys have proved they have that – the Ferrari, Red Bull and the Mercedes.'

Button's prediction for Canada was echoed by Hamilton who, hampered by an overall lack of pace from his car and dubious pit stop strategy calls by his team, could only manage fifth in Monaco.

Hamilton, while supportive of his team, clearly feels the onus is on McLaren to give him a car capable of carrying to his first win of the campaign.

'I feel like I'm in the best place I've ever been,' he insisted. 'I'm driving as well as I've ever driven. I'm not making mistakes at all and it feels great. I can feel comfortable now leaving the track and knowing that I couldn't have done any more.

'It's just unfortunate the car wasn't quick enough. We've got to try and find some time, these guys are quicker than us in the race, we've to find some time so we can start challenging them.'

Roberto Mancini criticises referees

The rules are not the same for everyone, says Mancini as he slams English refs

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 20 April 2012

Ref rant: Mancini criticised the standard of refereeing in the Premier League

Ref rant: Mancini criticised the standard of refereeing in the Premier League

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has voiced his frustration with the standard of refereeing in England and claimed there is widespread inconsistency throughout the Premier League.

Mancini did not want to comment on specific incidents but City's title rivals Manchester United have benefited from two controversial penalty decisions in the past fortnight.

City, who trail United by five points at the top of the Barclays Premier League, also felt wronged when striker Carlos Tevez was harshly booked for diving in last week's defeat of Norwich.

Mancini has said, with four games remaining, his side's title hopes are over and still feels that way despite some players expressing a different opinion.

When asked his thoughts on what his players have said, Mancini said: 'I am happy because they believe but, for me, I (still) have the same feeling. I think it is very difficult.

'Also after some of the some of the situations I saw in the last three or four weeks, I think it is really difficult for us.'

When asked if he was referring to refereeing decisions involving City or United, he said: 'Both.'

Dive: United's Ashley Young wins a penalty against Villa

Dive: United's Ashley Young wins a penalty against Villa

Mancini, at a press conference to preview Sunday's game at Wolves, was then asked to elaborate.

He said: 'I can say it is a very strange situation, only this. For us it is important to finish well this season.

'We want to try to win the next game. That will be difficult. Wolves are bottom of the table and it will be a tough game. We need to play like against Norwich.'

When asked to expand again about these 'situations', Mancini said: 'I am not frustrated. In Italy we say, “Every place is the same”.'

Booked: Tevez was accused of diving against Norwich

Booked: Tevez was accused of diving against Norwich

Asked what that meant, he said: 'The rules are not the same for everyone.'

Mancini was then asked if he was suggesting the rules are different for City and United.

He said: 'I am not saying this, I don't want to say this. I said the rules, maybe sometimes, are different.

'When I was in Italy I always thought here there were the best referees. My idea has changed, probably.'

Change of heart: Mancini's opinion of English referees has changed

Change of heart: Mancini's opinion of English referees has changed

Mancini remains adamant that City are out of title contention.

He said: 'Five points are too much and, I repeat, there are some strange situations that I do not like – we don't have any chance.

'We should go our way, only this. I stay with my opinion for the next four weeks – I don't change. The title is gone.'

Mancini will wait until the end of the season before making a decision about the future of controversial striker Mario Balotelli.

Adamant: Mancini still insists the title is United's

Adamant: Mancini still insists the title is United's

Balotelli, who is currently suspended, has made peace with Mancini following his recent sending off against Arsenal, after which the manager said he would 'probably' try to sell the player.

With that merely being the latest in a long line of misdemeanours from the 21-year-old, Mancini has since said Balotelli could stay if he changes his ways – but that is not an issue he will address yet.

He said: 'Mario is a City player, 100 per cent. Mario is a top player. At the end of the season we will see what happens.'

Mario Balotelli"s goes unpunished but Shaun Derry"s ban stands

Duff justice: Balotelli's horror tackle goes unpunished but Derry's ban stands

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 10 April 2012

English football's disciplinary system was shown to be a joke after Mario Balotelli escaped punishment for a horror tackle – minutes after Shaun Derry's appeal against a controversial red card was thrown out.

Manchester City striker Balotelli, sent off against Arsenal on Sunday, was braced for a lengthy ban after the challenge on Alex Song left stud marks on the Arsenal player's shin.

Scott free: Balotelli has escaped any further punishment despite his shocking challenge on Song

Scott free: Balotelli has escaped any further punishment despite his shocking challenge on Song

Despite video evidence suggesting he was
unsighted, referee Martin Atkinson told FA officials he had seen the
incident, which meant they were unable to take retrospective action.

Atkinson failed even to award Arsenal a free-kick. The challenge led to widespread condemnation and, after the match, City manager Roberto Mancini indicated he expected Balotelli to be punished heavily.

To make matters worse, the FA decided to uphold QPR midfielder Derry's red card in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Soft: there was little contact from Derry on Young - unlike Balotelli's studs-up tackle on Song (below)

Soft: there was little contact from Derry on Young – unlike Balotelli's studs-up tackle on Song (below)

Soft: there was little contact from Derry on Young - unlike Balotelli's studs-up tackle on Song (below)

Graham Poll: The official line

The FA's two disciplinary decisions leave me shaking my head in despair but not surprise.

They insist that, when an offence occurs within the view of the match officials, they cannot take action.

Surely if Martin Atkinson and Andre Marriner had seen Mario Balotelli plant his studs down Alex Song's shin they would have sent him off. They are guilty of inconsistency and, when that is missing, common sense is required.

However, that was also absent when turning down QPR's appeal against Shaun Derry's dismissal.

Referee Lee Mason said Derry had brought down an offside Ashley Young in the area even though replays showed minimal contact.

Derry misses the game against Swansea
and a QPR source said: 'The game's gone crazy. How does Shaun get a ban
for virtually tapping Ashley Young on the shoulder and Balotelli is let
off for nearly breaking someone's leg'

Balotelli would have been banned for nine games if the FA had punish him retrospectively.

An FA statement said: 'Where at least one official has seen the coming together, retrospective action is not taken regardless of whether they have seen the full extent of the challenge.' C

ity coach David Platt and United scout Martin Ferguson were in Portugal on Monday to watch Benfica's Axel Witsel and Javier Garcia against Sporting Lisbon.

Unbelievable: The QPR players couldn't believe the decision to send Derry off

Unbelievable: The QPR players couldn't believe the decision to send Derry off

Steven Gerrard happy take goalscoring responsibility

Gerrard happy to take responsibility for getting Liverpool back in the goals

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 14 March 2012

The night was all about him. A 400th Premier League appearance for Liverpool, the first Merseyside derby hat-trick in nearly 30 years, and a match ball stuffed up his shirt.

Not for the first time, however, Steven Gerrard’s achievements only served to highlight the shortcomings of his team-mates this season as he inspired a 3-0 win over Everton at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Without their injured captain for long periods, Liverpool have struggled in front of goal. In fact, no team in the top eight has scored fewer times in the Premier League.

Easy as 1,2,3: Gerrard celebrates his hat-trick in the Merseyside derby

Easy as 1,2,3: Gerrard celebrates his hat-trick in the Merseyside derby

Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy have scored six league goals each, but Andy Carroll, Dirk Kuyt, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam have contributed just seven between them.

It has undermined Liverpool’s bid for a return to the Champions League – they still lie seventh in the table, 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal – and Gerrard’s hat-trick was a reminder of what they have been missing.

‘You can talk about luck, things not going your way, but you have to take responsibility for putting the ball in the back of the net and against Everton it worked out for us,’ said Gerrard.

Part of the team: Gerrard celebrates with Luis Suarez

Part of the team: Gerrard celebrates with Luis Suarez

‘The big picture is that the squad is a lot stronger and we’re moving forward, but unless we have an end product we’re going to find themselves sixth or seventh in the league and that’s not what we want.

‘With the players we’ve got we should be higher in the league, it’s as simple as that. But inconsistency has been the story of our season.

‘You can’t choose when you turn up. You can’t be 8 out of 10 one week and then 2 or 3 out of 10 otherwise teams will beat you.’

Old guard: Gerrard and Jamie Carragher celebrate

Old guard: Gerrard and Jamie Carragher celebrate

It was typical of Gerrard that he would swap all the personal accolades from Tuesday night just to see Liverpool snatch a Champions League place or return to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final by beating Stoke at home this weekend.

‘It’s nice to get a hat-trick but I’m not really interested in personal achievements,’ added the England midfielder who lifted the Carling Cup at Wembley last month.

‘What’s important to me is that we move up the league and we get to Wembley on Sunday in the FA Cup. It would be a fantastic achievement if we could get there twice.’

Ryan Giggs: Manchester City favourites for Premier League title

Giggs warning: City are favourites for the title… but can they handle the pressure

Ryan Giggs has stepped up the pressure on Manchester City by insisting United's rivals are expected to win the Barclays Premier League title race.

The veteran midfielder claims that City's expensively-assembled squad, who currently sit two points clear of United at the top of the table, are widely regarded as favourites in the title race.

But Giggs, 38, warned that the team who are crowned champions at the end of the season would be the squad who best handle the burden of expectation.

Table-toppers: Manchester City lead United by two points at the summit

Table-toppers: Manchester City lead United by two points at the summit

The heat is on: Roberto Mancini has money to spend but increased expectation

The heat is on: Roberto Mancini has money to spend but increased expectation

He said: 'I think in most people's eyes they're favourites because they're top of the league, and because of the quality they've got, and the football they played early-season.

'It's just down to which team handles it best.

'With the quality they've got, we knew that they were going to be right up there.

'But as well as putting all those players together, they needed to have that consistency, which you can see they've developed now because they're top of the league.'

A potential title-decider looms on April 28, when City host United at the Etihad Stadium.

United have overcome a patchy start to the campaign, which included the famous 6-1 derby defeat to City at Old Trafford in October, to keep the heat on Roberto Mancini's men, who were far quicker out of the blocks.

And Giggs suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson's side have just the right blend of experience and youth to once again land the biggest prize in England.

Proven winners: United boast the likes of Ryan Giggs (right) and Wayne Rooney

Proven winners: United boast the likes of Ryan Giggs (right) and Wayne Rooney

Hungry for more: United's squad is a mixture of youth and experience

Hungry for more: United's squad is a mixture of youth and experience

He said: 'We've had inconsistency, but I think some of the teams we've had to put out at times have really tested the squad to the limit.

'You need a little bit of luck to win things in a season, but overall most teams could do better. We're up there and we're in a good position.

'I think the experience of doing it before, with the manager is key. They've got a lot of experience, they've got players who've won things. But we like to think we've got a good mix of experience and hunger.

'We've got older players who've been there, and younger players who haven't and really want to win things, so hopefully that's in our favour.

'You can't ignore the money and the quality they've got, and their strength in depth. They're obviously trying to lay the foundations for 10, 20, 30 years. Whether it happens or not we'll have to wait and see.'

Patrick Vieira: Refs don"t want Manchester City as Premier League champions

Refs are out to get us! Vieira claims officials don't want Man City to win Premier League

Patrick Vieira has hit out at Premier League referees and claimed there is an agenda to prevent Manchester City landing the title.

Vieira, who is City's football development executive, believes Roberto Mancini's table-toppers have been treated unfairly by officials in recent weeks.

City lost skipper Vincent Kompany and striker Mario Balotelli to four-game bans and their lead over fierce rivals Manchester United is just two points.

And he's off: Vincent Kompany saw red for this tackle on Nani last month

And he's off: Vincent Kompany saw red for this tackle on Nani last month

Marching orders: Kompany

Kompany was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Nani during the FA Cup defeat to United but Vieira pointed to Frank Lampard's challenge on Adam Hammill of Wolves as the Chelsea star only received a yellow card.

Balotelli was punished retrospectively for a stamp on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker and again Vieira cited Peter Crouch's alleged eye-gouging of Jonas Olsson as inconsistency among officials.

He said: 'It felt like anything that City will do will be amplified and we get punished, compared to the other teams and the other players.

'I don't want to think about it because I don't want to say everyone is against City or anything like that.

Hard to take: Patrick Vieira feels Manchester City are being singled out

Hard to take: Patrick Vieira feels Manchester City are being singled out

'But when you look at the last few decisions, you are asking yourself if something is wrong here, if people don't want us to win the league. Vieira added: 'Lampard's tackle looked dangerous compared to Vincent's. Crouch, when he put his finger in the eye of another player, looked bad as well.

'We try our best to win the league, we accept our punishment. But when you look what is happening to the other ones, that makes us as a football club really frustrated.

'It seems like if you have one referee you get one decision but if you have a different referee the decision may also be different.

Flashpoint: Mario Balotelli landed a suspension for a stamp on Scott Parker

Flashpoint: Mario Balotelli landed a suspension for a stamp on Scott Parker

'It's difficult to understand some decisions compared to the decisions we had. I think this is what brings the confusion. The confusion is dangerous for our game.

'Players are saying that they don't know what the rules mean and if they are likely to be sent off or not.

'Confusion is really dangerous, especially for the referee and the refereeing body. I believe that they're making the referees job more and more difficult.

'A good referee is someone who referees with his personality and with common sense, to make the decision he thinks is right at the moment, not because he's afraid of the consequences.'

Knows what he's talking about: Vieira was a hard player back in the day

Knows what he's talking about: Vieira was a hard player back in the day

Two-footed challenges will be red cards

EXCLUSIVE: Go two-footed and you're off! Referees to clamp down on dangerous tackles

Referees are to be ordered to punish all two-footed challenges with red cards in a hardline move to clear up confusion over dangerous tackles.

An imminent instruction from referees’ chief Mike Riley will apply whether or not there is contact or injury to an opponent — and even if the ball is won first.

Referees are understood to be aware from recent get-togethers that a firm line is being taken and Riley is in the process of providing further clarification on how the existing law is to be applied.

Red: Vincent Kompany was sent off for this challenge on Nani

Red: Vincent Kompany was sent off for this challenge on Nani

It means the recent controversial dismissal of Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany against Manchester United is to become a standard sanction for the type of challenge that has the potential to harm a rival player.

The move is a clear attempt to draw a line under an issue that has led to cries of inconsistency.

Three days after Kompany saw red for what was widely seen as a clean, ball-winning tackle on Nani at the Etihad Stadium, Liverpool’s Glen Johnson escaped any punishment for what looked a cruder lunge on City’s Joleon Lescott.

The lack of even a yellow card infuriated City manager Roberto Mancini, who was so incensed he waved an imaginary card in the direction of the referee, Lee Mason.

No red: Glen Johnson got away with this challenge on Joleon Lescott

No red: Glen Johnson got away with this challenge on Joleon Lescott

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has called for referees to show consistency, saying: ‘These inconsistencies are confusing to everyone. Referees have to be given direction about what are the laws of the game and what should be permitted in terms of tackles.

‘Mike Riley has to be given the rope to say this is not allowed, two-footed tackles are not acceptable, whether you take the ball or not.’

Now Riley is set to do just that by telling referees they must send off players guilty of two-footed challenges for the ball if an opponent is in the immediate vicinity.

It is a judgment call that could be regarded as equally controversial. But it is aimed at letting all players — and referees — know where they stand.

Come on ref! Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini waves his card

Come on ref! Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini waves his card

It follows that referee Chris Foy, widely criticised at the Etihad earlier this month, was deemed to be right to send off Kompany in the FA Cup third-round clash while Mason was wrong not to dismiss Johnson in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.

FIFA laws themselves are open to interpretation. ‘Using excessive force’, a sending-off offence under Law 12, applies in cases where the player has ‘far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent’.

Referees are advised that if both feet are off the ground players have no control over their actions.