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Ange Postecoglou has called on football to start respecting referee’s decisions or risk losing officials entirely to technology, in what appeared to be a barb directed at Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
Postecoglou watched on as his Tottenham side fell to pieces against Chelsea on Monday night. Defenders Cristian Romero and were both sent off as nine-man Spurs slumped to a 4-1 defeat.
It followed Arsenal’s 1-0 weekend defeat by Newcastle, which meant Manchester City were able to climb above both north London clubs to the top of the table with their 6-1 win over Bournemouth.
But where Arteta was furious with decisions which he felt went against his side, and was backed up by an Arsenal club statement criticising the quality of officiating in the Premier League, Postecoglou warned that referees need more respect because criticism is “eroding their authority” on field.
Asked whether he had any complaints over the two red cards, in a wild game which also saw three goals disallowed, Postecoglou – who was booked himself by referee Michael Oliver for stepping outside his technical area – said: “At some point you have to accept the referee’s decision, that is how I grew up.
“This constant erosion of the referee’s authority is where the game is going to get – they are not going to have any authority. We are going to be under the control of someone with a TV screen a few miles away. The decision is the decision. In 26 years I have had plenty of bad decisions, I have had plenty fall in my favour. It is what it is.”
Postecoglou also said he “does not like” the amount of time it takes for VAR to come to their decisions, after a game which accumulated to 21 minutes of added time across both halves.
The Australian believes there is a risk that football becomes increasingly run by Video Assistant Referees (VAR) watching on screens at the Premier League’s headquarters at Stockley Park, rather than by officials on the pitch.
“I don’t like it, it is the way the game is going.” Postecoglou told BBC Sport when asked about the VAR calls. “Some of it is self inflicted because if we come out every week complaining about decision that is what will happen, every decision gets forensically checked and we will be sitting around for a long time in every game trying to figure out what is going on.
“I don’t like it but I am probably in the wilderness with that because I keep getting told that’s where we want to go. I am too old school, I’ll respect the referee’s decision right or wrong. But it is the way the game is going.”
When giving a post-match interview to Sky Sports the Spurs boss added: “There will be a forensic study of every decision out there, I think that is the way the game is going and I don’t like it. If you look at all that standing around we did today, maybe people enjoy that sort of thing but I’d rather see us playing football.”
The defeat is Tottenham’s first in the top-flight this season, and they stay a point behind league leaders Manchester City in second place.
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