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Referees To Stop Giving Away So Many 'Soft Penalties'

Ryan Sidle

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Referees To Stop Giving Away So Many 'Soft Penalties'

Premier League officials have been told that there needs to be more than just contact in order to award a penalty but players won't need to go down to win them either.

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Last season there was plenty of controversy in the Premier League, thanks in a huge part to VAR and the amount of penalties being awarded.

Referees and video officials gave a whopping 125 spot kicks but that should come down massively in the upcoming campaign.

After feedback from players and coaches earlier this year, referee chief Mike Riley has told officials that contact won't be enough and they'll have to decide if it has consequence and whether or not players are simply using the excuse of contact to go down.

"It's not sufficient just to say 'yes, there was contact,' Riley said.

"Contact on its own is only part of what referees should look for. If you've got clear contact that has a consequence, then that's what you have got to penalise."

The penalty that took England into their first men's final in 55 years wouldn't have been given. Image: PA Images
The penalty that took England into their first men's final in 55 years wouldn't have been given. Image: PA Images

However, it's not all bad news for attacking players. Whilst they won't be able to just throw themselves on the ground, they also won't need to go over to win a penalty.

"That should always be the case, otherwise the balance is unequal," the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited added.

One of the reasons that's given for players going down easily is that if they don't then they won't be given a foul, so that should balance both things out.

Two Manchester City players were given as a reference point for each issue. The foul on Raheem Sterling in the Euro semi final against Denmark was considered to be soft, whilst Riley admitted referees made a mistake in not awarding Phil Foden a spot kick against Southampton.

In one other big change, fans will no longer be watching the lines being drawn on the screen for offsides on VAR decisions, as in the Euros, and the line itself will be thicker.

"Effectively what we give back to the game is 20 goals that would have been disallowed last season by using quite forensic scrutiny," Riley added.

"So it's the toenails, the noses being given offside. They might have been given offside last season, next season they won't be."

Even with all these changes, don't expect there to be much less controversy in the upcoming campaign...

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football, Premier League, VAR

Ryan Sidle
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