Ex-ref claims TV pundits instructed to back officials on Arsenal errors


Former referee Keith Hackett has claimed that phone calls made instructing pundits to quieten down in their criticism of officials, following Arsenal defeat to Newcastle United.

Over the weekend, Arsenal were the victim of a couple of poor refereeing decisions.

Bruno Guimaraes got away with hitting Jorginho in the head without so much as a yellow card,

Before Newcastle’s goal was allow to stand despite a clear foul on Gabriel Magalhaes in the build-up.

Yet much of the post-match analysis has focused on Mikel Arteta’s response to the poor decisions, rather than on the decisions themselves.

Ex-ref says Arsenal being favoured over Newcastle United

Indeed, Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have particularly outspoken in backing the referees against Arteta’s complaints.

Though former referee Keith Hackett did not name Neville or Carragher specifically,

He claims to have made aware of phone calls to instruct people to play down criticism of match officials.

“I was aware of the two people receiving a phone call and instructed to [toe] the line and to quieten down in the criticism of match officials,” Hackett claimed.

“Anyone involved in football saw the push (on Gabriel) and at that point, the goal should have been ruled out.”

Football insider Team News and Ticks made a similar claim,

Suggesting that Howard Webb has given Sky Sports more access to referees in return for Neville and Carragher giving them an easy ride.

These are unverified claims at the moment,

But many Arsenal fans probably feel they would help explain the media analysis of a couple of poor decisions at the weekend.

And now, Keith Hackett, a former referee who also spent the best part of seven years.

Working for the PGMOL has commented on the controversial clash between Newcastle and Arsenal with a clear message for Howard Webb.

On X (formerly Twitter), discussing the foul on Gabriel by Joelinton, he wrote:

“Anyone involved in football saw the push and at that point the goal should have been ruled out. Bloody hell where has common sense disappeared to in our officials? Where is Howard Webb, he needs to sort this mess.”

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