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Premier League

Pulis calls for relegation system for referees

Stoke boss Tony Pulis has hit out at the "abysmal" and "appalling" decisions he feels have been made against his side by referees recently and called for officials to be promoted and relegated.

However, Press Association Sport understands such an idea will never come to fruition because the top 16 referees already officiate at all levels and not just the top flight.

Potters chief Pulis has spoken out after claiming "six or seven" games have been directly affected by decisions against his team already this season.

Jonathan Walters had a goal disallowed in the home defeat by Tottenham early in the season before Bolton beat them 2-1 as a Zat Knight handball was not punished.

Pulis also claims Gary Neville should have been sent off in a game which Manchester United won 2-1 before Tuncay Sanli had a goal disallowed as they lost 1-0 to Everton on October 30.

Against Sunderland on Saturday, Lee Cattermole handled the ball on the line but no penalty was given as the Black Cats won 2-0.

Pulis told Sky Sports News: "The thing that we found this weekend is for the first time, people outside Stoke-on-Trent have actually said what is going on there is wrong.

"And that's the first time it's happened.

"Don't kid yourself that this hasn't been happening in the first two years we were in the Premier League. We've had decisions go against us that have been absolutely abysmal, and I mean abysmal. But we've kept our grace and just got on with things.

"We know we're not going to get certain decisions that other clubs are going to get. I think that has been made blatantly obvious over the past few games. But there has to come a time when you have to stand up and say 'this is not right'. And it's been pretty appalling."

He added: "Over the weekend I've thought about it, I wanted to come here and be constructive.

"I think being constructive I'd say we should put in place a system where every Premier League club has a vote at the end of the season on referees, and the bottom three referees should be relegated to the Championship and the top three in the Championship should be promoted."

However, the 16-strong 'select group' of officials already officiate games at Football League level and the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy as well as the Premier League, while an appraisal system is already in place.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher said on Sky Sports News: "The referees are accountable. The best referees do the best matches, in-form referees do the matches a bit like the rotation systems at the clubs.

"The best Championship referees do progress to the Premier League, this year we've got Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver. And that's what we want."