Riley: Refs not getting worse

Former Professional Game Match Officials Limited general manager Hackett said earlier this month that the current group of referees is ???the worst that we have seen???.

And several Premier League managers have also been critical of the officials this season, with Swansea boss Garry Monk stating that refs should be suspended if they make obvious mistakes.

However, Riley disputes the idea that standards are deteriorating and says performance data shows the opposite is true.

Riley told The Times: ???Keith’s entitled to his opinion, everyone has one.

“But Keith’s description is not something I recognise of the organisation, the standards and what these officials achieve.

“It’s not something that the people that I engage with – the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association), LMA (League Managers Association), FA (Football Association) – recognise. None of the data bears that out.

“You always look back and think ‘wasn’t life good then’. But my view is every generation is improving on the last.

“Go back over the last five years, whether we judge the data from evaluation (by former referees) or the Premier League delegates, it all suggests year-on-year the group have improved on-field standards.

“We also know it gets more demanding, so we have to keep improving. Expectations were completely different before, there wasn’t the camera coverage or scrutiny.

“People forgave players more mistakes than now and forgave referees more mistakes.

“If you look at the development of PGMOL over the last five years, it’s been transformational. By any measure it’s been a successful organisation. We will always have a period of mistakes but judge us over 380 games.”