Former referee chief Keith Hackett has criticised Jon Moss for the official’s ‘arrogant’ attitude towards Dean Smith during Aston Villa’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Things got heated on the touchline at the Etihad Stadium as Smith appealed against City’s controversial opening goal in the second-half which has sparked another VAR storm.
Dean Smith was sent off for arguing about Man City’s opening goal, and later claimed other Premier League managers would not have received the same treatmentAFP
Bernardo Silva produced a good finish to give the hosts the lead, but it came after teammate Rodri came back from an offside position to dart in and dispossess Tyrone Mings.
In real-time it appeared certain the goal would be ruled out but instead VAR allowed it to stand, citing the laws of the game that meant Mings’ ‘deliberate’ play of the ball effectively meant Rodri’s position didn’t matter.
Villa manager Smith was then sent off by Moss as he raged to officials about the decision.
The boss claimed after the game that he felt he was unfairly treated compared to other managers, and insisted he didn’t use foul language towards the referee.
There were comments surrounding the game that it appeared Moss ‘couldn’t wait’ to brandish the red card towards the manager, having initially briefly shown him only a yellow.
Smith was initially shown a yellow card, before his punishment was upgraded to a redGetty Images – Getty
Hackett, a former Premier League referee and ex-PGMOL general manager, joined talkSPORT host Jim White to weigh in on the scenes, and admitted Smith should have known the law and so shouldn’t have acted in the way he did.
But he added that if he were still the head of UK referees, he would be having a word with Moss on Thursday morning over his conduct towards the Villa coach.
He said: “In the case of Dean Smith and the confrontation I would be asking Jonn Moss this morning: ‘Tell me exactly why you were near the technical area, and why couldn’t the fourth official manage the conflict?’
“Conflict exists when you get in someone’s space and clearly Dean Smith was unhappy, therefore, stay out of his zone.
“He could have plucked the yellow card – if that was the direction of the fourth official – from a distance of ten or fifteen yards, turned, and then ran away.
“He wouldn’t be losing credibility there, but if you go into any manager’s space and things get heated, in that situation you’re inflaming the conflict.
Referee Jon Moss has been accused of poor behaviour before, with allegations he was ‘very disrespectful’ towards Bournemouth players last seasongetty
“You’re also giving the message to the public: ‘Look at me, I’m arrogant as a referee because I’ve suddenly given him a red card’.
“The last thing we want is for a manager not being able to do his job from the touchline.
“So I would be asking how we could have avoided that situation.
“As a referee you’re in the entertainment business, but it’s not the referee that needs to entertain, you’ve got players that want to entertain.
“Dean Smith overstepped the mark out of frustration, and at the end of the day he’ll be punished. My view is you’ve got to think about how you can manage that situation without the ultimate punishment of sending him off.”
Fellow former official Mark Halsey also joined talkSPORT on Thursday to offer his reaction to Man City’s goal, and explained it was the correct decision to the letter of the law.
But he also said he believes the rules are wrong and that the goal shouldn’t’ have stood – and Hackett agrees.
“This is a bad law,” added for ex-PGMOL boss.
“We’ve got a law whereby a toe can be deemed offside, but then we’ve got a player who has come from being in an offside position by ten yards, can play the ball, and he’s not offside.
“What the referee and the var did last night in terms of the interpretation in the UK and England waas the correct decision, and every football fan in the world must be laughing at us because, frankly, the law in an ass.
“Even I, as an experienced match official, when I saw it my first instinct was it was offside.
“But then I’ve suddenly thought, just a minute, he’s deliberately played the ball, so he’s not offside.”
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