REFS HAVE TO WATCH FOR THE SUB­TLE STUFF

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

PLAY­ERS are rou­tinely lam­basted for go­ing down too eas­ily but it isn’t hard to see why they do.

Early in the first half of Le­ices­ter’s 2-0 win at Burn­ley last weekend, Foxes striker Jamie Vardy – no stranger to win­ning spot kicks – scam­pered through on goal only to find his arm in the vice-like grip of Clarets de­fender Ja­son Shack­ell.

To his credit,Vardy tried to keep go­ing but un­sur­pris­ingly lost his bal­ance. The ball was hacked clear and all ap­peals fell on deaf ears.

In fair­ness, Shack­ell was clever. He yanked Vardy back on the blind­side of ref­eree Chris Foy. But Vardy’s move­ment alone should have told the of­fi­cials that some­thing was amiss.

The prob­lem is that ref­er­ees hardly ever give a penalty un­less some­body hits the deck. It’s why so many bla­tant grap­ples and ob­struc­tions go un­pun­ished, why for­wards are all but as­saulted on cor­ners.

It’s easy to ac­cuse play­ers of div­ing, to call it a curse on the game. But if the al­ter­na­tive is be­ing fouled, wouldn’t you?

By tak­ing the easy op­tion and re­fus­ing to blow up for the sub­tle stuff, ref­er­ees are mak­ing a rod for their own backs.

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