Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has called on the WSL to make referees full-time professionals following Manchester City’s controversial goal during the 1-1 draw at the Academy Stadium.
City broke the deadlock through Khadija Shaw’s close range finish just after the hour mark, with the Jamaican international sweeping home Lauren Hemp’s cross from the left.
However, the build up as the ball made its way to Hemp has been the cause of much debate.
Lucy Bronze’s pass flicked off the inside of referee Abigail Byrne’s leg, inadvertently turning a ball intended for Caroline Weir in the congested centre of the park into a fabulous switch of play to Demi Stokes in acres of space on the left flank. The England full-back fed Hemp, and her burst of pace and pinpoint delivery set up Shaw for the game’s opening goal.
“We all make mistakes, I make them, referees make them, players make mistakes. It’s a part of football,” Eidevall said (via BBC Sport) “But I think the referees also need to understand why we get very upset in the moment.
“If they’re going to be on Sky Sports refereeing matches, they should be given all the resources that they need to prepare and practice and work on fitness and that’s where we need to focus. Let’s raise the standard around refereeing and give them the help they need.
“Everyone will make mistakes and the only thing I am always going to be an advocate for is the fix around it and giving them the best possible conditions.”
The laws of the game state that in the event of the ball touching the referee or another match official, play will be stopped and a drop ball awarded if the ball goes into the goal, results in a change of possession or leads to a promising attack.
Byrne waved play on after the ball struck her and fell to Stokes, indicating that City were still in possession. However, the interpretation of ‘promising attack’ is up for debate, with Stokes receiving the ball in a mountain of space, albeit inside her own half. Within seven touches, the ball was in the back of the Arsenal net, suggesting the attack was quite promising.
City have been left aggrieved by a number of refereeing decisions this season – Rosella Ayane’s two-handed handball during September’s defeat to Tottenham the most controversial – and Taylor was grateful his side got the rub of the green on this occasion.
“You’d like to think it evens itself out,” the City boss said at full time (via ManCity.com). “We’ve been on the wrong end of decision this season so it’s nice if that’s the case that one went our way.”