Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Marriner upset over Gibbs blunder

Referee Andre Marriner, pictured right, has struggled to get over his incorrect decision to dismiss Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs, centre left
Referee Andre Marriner, pictured right, has struggled to get over his incorrect decision to dismiss Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs, centre left

Referee Andre Marriner admits he has agonised over the blunder that saw him wrongly dismiss Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs on Saturday.

When Gunners forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handled the ball in the penalty area in the 15th minute of Arsenal's 6-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Marriner incorrectly showed left-back Gibbs a red card.

He apologised following the game before the Football Association rescinded the red card and decided against punishing Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Marriner will officiate the Barclays Premier League meeting between Southampton and Newcastle this weekend, but admits he has analysed the mistake he made in west London "to death" this week.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: "It knocks you for six to be honest. There's a lot of talk out there that referees make decisions, go home and don't care about it but that's so far from the truth.

"You're continuously playing the incident over in your mind. You think about how you could've arrived at the right decision and 'what could I have done differently?'.

"You draw from all these other different sorts of aspects to try and find the reasons why you've made a mistake but equally the best thing you can do is try to park it and move on because this incident happened in the 15th minute of the game.

"Afterwards I analysed it to death."

The 43-year-old has received support from his colleagues within the Select Group of Referees and from the Professional Game Match Officials' Limited (PGMOL).

Ahead of his return to top-flight officiating at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon, Marriner hopes he has got his "mojo" back following a week to forget.

"I made a high profile mistake last weekend but it's like a player who misses a penalty or a goalkeeper who fails to make an easy save, you want to get back out there the week after to put those demons right," Marriner added.

"I'm delighted by the (PGMOL) decision, it shows what my bosses think of me as a referee and hopefully I won't let them down and I'll be able to go out on Saturday and perform at my usual high standard.

"I've met all my colleagues this week so I've received a little bit of banter from them which has been good natured. I've been down in the dumps and it's made me smile and hopefully I've got my mojo back."

The incident has sparked fresh calls for the introduction of video replays to the touchline, from which fourth officials could help the match referee make a more informed decision.

But Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore believes that, because such mishaps occur so infrequently, there is no urgent need to overhaul the current application of technology.

He told Sky Sports News: "I think there's a discussion to be had about where you can use it for purely factual matters.

"Last weekend's incident - I won't try to minimise it - was a once-in-every-23-years type of occurrence and I've never even seen a defender throw himself at a shot and make such a good save.

"It was literally so close and right behind the goalkeeper.

"The first thing is that it happens so rarely and the second is that if one of the fourth officials had taken more time over the decision, things might have come out differently."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels Marriner should not be vilified for an "honest mistake", but believes referees do need additional help from technology to make the correct calls in testing circumstances.

He said: "(From) where I was, I did not see the difference between Chamberlain and Gibbs as well, so I believe that maybe the referee needs more assistance to make the right decision.

"He (Marriner) does not have to do that (apologise personally), I trust his honesty. He made a mistake - it can happen.

"We did not lose on top of that, the game became much more difficult for us of course, down 3-0 with 10 men, but I completely accept the fact Andre Marriner is an honest referee and a good referee.

"He did not do that on purpose, it was accidental."

Wenger added: " When they have a doubt, and I have said many times, the referees should have video assistance on his demand.

"For a long long time I plead for video, only on that purpose, when the referee feels he needs assistance, he should have that resource.

"I believe it would be very good to give them that opportunity, they need help, the game is too quick today for everybody to master everything."

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