Perry calls for second referee in stand

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The Independent Online

Chris Perry, the Tottenham defender, has called for a second referee, to be the "man in the stand", at big games and have the power to rule on controversial decisions.

Perry believes too many important and potentially match-turning decisions are being contradicted by television footage. His comments come after Chelsea's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was awarded a controversial penalty by Steve Dunn on Sunday in the Blues' 3-2 victory over Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Although the Dutchman maintained that Ledley King caught his "shooting leg", causing his tumble in the area, Perry said: "There was no contact by Ledley but Jimmy didn't cheat. He just stubbed his toe and fell over. It should have been clear to anybody near the incident but perhaps the ref was not best placed.

"Why don't we have another ref in the stand looking at issues like this? They are so important, and it would only take a minute or so to stop the game and get the right decision."

As well as Dunn, referees Graham Barber and Mark Halsey were in the spotlight after controversy at Pride Park and The Valley. The Leicester midfielder, Robbie Savage, was accused of bringing the game into disrepute by Derby's manager, Jim Smith, after going to ground under a challenge from Seth Johnson and winning a penalty to help give Leicester a 3-2 victory over their East Midlands rivals.

Craig Burley and Fabrizio Ravanelli were booked by Barber as they vehemently accused Savage of diving.

At Charlton, the Leeds striker, Robbie Keane, was accused and booked for a dive by Halsey, although television replays suggested he was caught by Charlton's goalkeeper Dean Kiely.

Leeds' manager, David O'Leary, later asked Halsey to study video evidence and rescind the booking – a course of action not open to the official, as cautions are only erased by the FA in cases of mistaken identity.

But O'Leary did make a case for referees, as he added: "I do think it is tough because there is too much cheating which has crept into the game. It is making life hard for them."

The former long-serving Premiership referee, Stephen Lodge, who is now a match assessor, can fully appreciate the difficulties experienced by his former colleagues.

"Diving is clearly not something which is in accordance with the laws of the game," Lodge said. "But people should realise referees only have one angle from which to view any particular incident, and only an instant to make up their mind."

Further situations such as those that occurred at the weekend could lead to renewed calls for instant video replays to be used to help referees make their decisions, and to avoid the kind of criticism they often have to face.

"I have always been an advocate of modern technology," Lodge added. "I believe it should be utilised for the good of the game, but that is something for the Premier League to make a judgement on."

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