Former referees chief Keith Hackett looks to have got it wrong after having a rant about suspensions handed down to the officials from the Newcastle v Burton blunder match.

Keith Stroud and the other three officials somehow managing collectively to get one of the basic rules of the game wrong.

Matt Ritchie not allowed to retake a penalty after Dwight Gayle was ruled to have encroached into the box when the spot-kick was taken.

On his personal blog at the weekend, Keith Hackett claimed that he had found out the length of suspensions handed down to the four match officials.

The match in question was on Wednesday 5 April and in his rant (read below), Hackett stated that the bans were 28 days for Keith Stroud, then only 14 days for fourth official Tony Harrington and linesmen Matthew McGrath and David Avent.

The authorities have made no public statement but all four officials were dropped from their games on the weekend following the Burton fiasco and then not awarded matches this past Easter weekend.

Which would have meant the trio could have been officiating this midweek onwards and then Keith Stroud back for the final weekend of the Championship season.

Keith Hackett, to no great surprise, thinks Keith Stroud has been badly done to.

Interesting as well that he says that it was one of the linesmen (assistant referees) who was the key person behind the incorrect decision.

However, the EFL have revealed the latest set of appointments up to and including Tuesday 25 April and there is no sign of Keith Stroud or the other three officials, suggesting that all four officials may have got the same punishment.

The Newcastle game against Preston on Monday, has Andrew Madley named as referee, with Jeremy Simpson the fourth official, then the two linesmen Nick Hopton and Nick Greenhalgh.

After this schedule of matches, there only remains 12 days left of the regular season so surely it would make sense to ‘rest’ them until the summer and then rehabilitate them next season, with Newcastle hopefully well out of their way in the Premier League.

Keith Hackett 16 April 2017:

“In the heat of the battle top referee Keith Stroud recently awarded an indirect free-kick when encroachment at the taking of a penalty kick took place and the goa having been scored was disallowed.

“The law is clear that in this situation the penalty kick should be retaken. However, after discussion with his colleagues, the referee went with the advice offered by one of his assistant referees and awarded an indirect free-kick.

“The error hit the headlines and whilst it impacted on the score it did not impact on the result. I have no doubt that a suspension was appropriate and for me three games should be sufficient.

“However at such an important part of the season Keith Stroud has apparently been served with a 28-day suspension and his colleagues 14 days.

“This frankly is draconian and means that Keith might be punished by a loss of five or more games. When I look at the recent punishments that are handed out to managers it appears to me that match officials are soft targets who will not say anything.

“So I will suggest to the Football Association that they need to look again at how they treat officials fairly for all please.”



  • Toonbadger

    What a prat

    • Jezza

      Absolutely right. He is an utter clown and was a disgrace of a referee who always stitched up Newcastle when ever he officiated our games.

  • Taz

    Decisions like the diabolical one made at the match against Burton can cost clubs millions of pounds.(play-offs, automatic promotion or relegation) Whether It is regarding Newcastle or any other team is irrelevant. The fact is they got it so wrong must be an embarrassment to the whole refereeing community, not only in England but I’m sure this was shown around the world. This has to be up there as one of the biggest fkups in football refereeing ever. its not just something that was missed, it’s a fact that 4 officials were so bad at their job they were still allowed to official a game not knowing basic rules.

  • Mal

    I still can’t understand how 4 professional officials could get this wrong. The stoppage was so long they could have actually got the rule book out to check it if they weren’t sure. It’s not as if this is a new rule. 52000 knew the rule, but not those 4. Unbelievable really.

  • Kneebotherm8

    To think,if this decision had been made in a top premier league game,then there would be absolute hell to pay for these officials. This was not a bad borderline offside decision,for which I’ve got the utmost sympathy for linesman/officials,as they only get one look at the situation( let’s use fkn technology ffs,it’s a no brainer to assist them).
    No,this was just a total fck up of a straightforward rules of the game decision which has never been made before. “Making the rules up as you go along” is what springs to mind for me and these 4 officials collectively have done exactly that. Keith Hackett needs to have a long hard look at his comments in assessing a decision which could have had far reaching effects if we’d failed to win that game.