Gary O’Neil jokingly warned referees to be “careful” refereeing Wolves after Anthony Taylor became the latest official to be dropped for poor decisions made against them.
Taylor awarded Newcastle a contentious penalty against Hee-Chan Hwang in their 2-2 draw with Newcastle last weekend, and will now referee Preston’s game against Coventry in the Championship on Saturday.
O’Neil said he had been told the Premier League’s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel, which reviews major talking points and decisions after each game week, unanimously found the decision to award the penalty was incorrect, and also disagreed with the VAR’s decision not to intervene.
Taylor becomes the third official this season, as referenced by O’Neil, to be stripped of their Premier League duties in the immediate aftermath of a poor decision against Wolves.
Which refs’ errors have cost Wolves – and themselves – this season?
- Simon Hooper did not referee a Premier League game for three weeks after failing to award a penalty against Andre Onana in Wolves 1-0 defeat to Man Utd on the opening weekend
- Josh Smith had to wait another month after his controversial handball penalty award in Wolves’ 1-1 draw at Luton
- Now Anthony Taylor will sit out this weekend’s top-flight list for another questionable penalty given against Hee-Chan Hwang
O’Neil said: “I saw the numbers in the review they do on Tuesday which was 5-0 in favour of a penalty not being given on-field, and 4-1 in favour of it not being overturned by VAR.
“I think Anthony Taylor’s doing the Championship game this weekend – that’s three referees who’ve been relegated on the back of refereeing us, so you need to be careful when you referee Wolves because you could end up getting relegated the following week!
“That’s Man Utd, Luton and Wolves now. I haven’t received an apology and I don’t want one. They’re not going to help, but hopefully the level improves.”
O’Neil, who called the decision “scandalous” in the immediate aftermath of the game last weekend, was questioned on how things can improve with the PGMOL under fire perhaps like never before this season. He said raising the level of officiating in the Premier League was the only solution.
The top flight’s officiating body has already set up a monthly television show, fronted by chief Howard Webb and shown on Sky Sports, to explain the rationale and communication between referees and VAR officials surrounding big decisions.
The PGMOL also had to take the unprecedented step of releasing the audio surrounding Liverpool’s mistakenly disallowed goal at Tottenham, when a mix-up between the VAR team and on-field officials led to the serious error.
O’Neil said: “I just feel a better level of refereeing is where I’m at with it. Too many mistakes. Communication’s fine, they’ve always communicated fine with me. It’s just the level, as we’re all held to high levels in what we do. I am, the players are, refereeing the same.
“They say these things even out, but I don’t see that happening. We’ve been on the bad end too many times. Hopefully things can start to improve for them as well, because I’m sure they’re feeling under pressure at the moment.
“The spotlight’s on them at the moment for all the mistakes that are being made, and whether VAR is helping or not. So let’s hope things improve.”