Cardiff City’s manager Neil Warnock has claimed refereeing standards in the English game have gone backwards under referees’ chief Mike Riley.
Warnock could yet receive a Football Association charge over his post-match comments about the officials following the controversial 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.
But Warnock was defiant in his criticism of Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, who hails from Leeds, before Cardiff’s visit to Manchester City tonight.
“I always thought Mike Riley was a manufactured referee from day one,” he said. “I don’t think he’s changed since then. He’s been coached, manufactured, almost like a robot. “He knows everything about the rules, but I feel these people struggle to understand the game and the human element. A lot of referees are like Mike Riley and that’s why I think we have gone backwards.”
“Common-sense thing is not allowed nowadays, but the best refs still use it.”
It is understood that Warnock – whose side face Manchester City away tonight – will escape punishment for his on-field behaviour after standing and shaking his head as referee Craig Pawson and his assistants left the pitch after the Chelsea game.
Warnock was furious after Chelsea scored a late equaliser, even though Cesar Azpilicueta was clearly standing in an offside position.
“I’m sure they’ll ask for my observations and I’ll send them,” Warnock said when asked if the FA had contacted him over his comments.”
He added: It’s disappointing because there are enough ex-referees who can give education and knowledge to make our referees the best.”
Press Association Sport were last night awaiting a response from the FA and the Referees’ Association to Warnock’s comments.