Commons motion denounces referee

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An MP has criticised the "appalling" standard of football refereeing in England after Sunderland's defeat by Crystal Palace in a Division One play-off semi-final this week.

An MP has criticised the "appalling" standard of football refereeing in England after Sunderland's defeat by Crystal Palace in a Division One play-off semi-final this week.

Gerry Steinberg, a Sunderland supporter and Labour MP for Durham, tabled a Commons motion yesterday.He called for the football authorities to introduce instant playback facilities so that incorrect decisions could be rectified, but claimed they were "too tight" to install them.

His motion said: "The House is appalled that one incompetent referee can deprive a football team of success."

One "blatant wrong decision" could have cost Sunderland £20m by not reaching the play-off final and possible promotion to the Premiership next season, it added.

Many commentators at the match referred to an alleged foul on Sunderland's goalkeeper which went unpunished.

The referee for the match was David Pugh of Merseyside. Crystal Palace won 5-4 on penalties after drawing 4-4 on aggregate.

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