The Football League Paper - - NEIL MELLOR -

I HAVE to agree with Neil Len­non when he said the stan­dard of of­fi­cials in the Cham­pi­onship needs to be im­proved. The Bolton boss was livid af­ter three of his play­ers suf­fered in­juries in Tues­day’s 1-1 draw with Read­ing, call­ing ref­eree Mark Hay­wood’s per­for­mance “ap­palling”. This comes just a month af­ter mis­takes by post­man and part-time ref Andy Woolmer dur­ing the Trot­ters’ match against Leeds prompted Len­non to say all sec­ond-tier refs should be paid to go full­time.

He’s got a point. Of­fi­cials need help and, right now, it doesn’t look like that’s go­ing to come from video tech­nol­ogy.

That’s a shame, but one thing we can do is al­low them to train more and study more in or­der to get bet­ter at their jobs.

With the Pre­mier League’s new £5.1bn TV con­tract, there’s never been so much at stake for Cham­pi­onship clubs.

The di­vi­sion is so tight this year that one mis­take in a top-of-the-ta­ble game could cost some­body tens of mil­lions in rev­enue.

Is it re­ally fair to ask a part­time ref­eree to shoul­der that bur­den? Whether the money comes from the Pre­mier League or the Foot­ball League, I think it’s time to pay ref­er­ees a wage that re­flects the huge re­spon­si­bil­ity they face – and de­mand a per­for­mance to match.

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