GUS Poyet says sub-standard officiating has overshadowed too many games this season, as Sunderland await the outcome of their appeal against Wes Brown’s red card.
Sunderland have been on the receiving end of a succession of refereeing howlers over recent months, with penalties against Bradford, Southampton and Hull all waved away, while Adam Johnson wrongly saw a goal disallowed for offside against West Brom.
There was another in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester United – even though Sunderland would still have been reduced to 10 men – as Brown was wrongly sent off for bringing down Radamel Falcao, when central defensive partner John O’Shea was the principal offender.
Sunderland have confirmed their intention to appeal Brown’s dismissal, with an independent regulatory commission due to meet today to consider the case.
The Black Cats had initially feared that the subsequent one-match ban would be transferred to O’Shea – ruling the captain out of tomorrow’s trip to Hull City.
But with referee Roger East adamant that it was not a case of mistaken identity, the appeal will revolve around whether Brown fouled Falcao or not, rather than O’Shea facing a potential suspension.
However, regardless of the success of the appeal, it is yet another farcical situation this season involving Sunderland, with head coach Poyet calling for an improvement in the standard of refereeing throughout the Premier League.
Poyet said: “It’s tough, it’s tough.
“The problem we have lately in football, and I’m not just talking about us, is after the game we’re talking about a bad decision.
“We’re not talking about a game where we did well but didn’t pass the ball well enough in the second half so we were defending all the time.
“Something always happens.
“If he gives the penalty, which apparently was a penalty – I just saw one quick moment and John is sent off – then perhaps we would not be talking about anything apart from the game afterwards.”
O’Shea spent more than a minute trying to clarify the situation with East on the field, yet the referee was adamant that he had seen fouls from both central defenders.
That was reflected in a statement released by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited on Saturday night, where East was reiterated that it was not a case of mistaken identity.
Poyet added: “Wes is confused because the referee said he sent him off because he made contact with Falcao but he didn’t. That’s the problem.
“He sent him off for something that didn’t happen. It was nothing to do with John.”