May 18, 2024

After Dominic Calvert-Lewin, an Everton striker, was sent off during the Toffees’ FA Cup match against Crystal Palace, Michael Ball became enraged and called the referee a “laughing stock.”

Despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Palace at Selhurst Park, Sean Dyche’s team was unable to secure their spot in the fourth round. The dispute stemmed from Calvert-Lewin’s red card for a foul on Nathaniel Clyne.

The England international had made no contact with the Palace defender but was given his marching orders after a lengthy VAR check and Ball has called for supporters to “turn up the heat” on English referees.



Writing for the Liverpool Echo (8 January) he said: “I want Everton to turn up the heat on referees – we can’t keep accepting bad decisions. I’ve seen the Everton fans’ letter and something has got to be done, we’ve got to keep putting the pressure on and asking the questions.

“If we go quiet and sit back, then nothing is going to happen. I know Denise Barrett-Baxendale started asking questions but we’ve been a soft touch for many years and the authorities hide behind the laws of the game although there is no common sense.

“What we’re seeing now is a re-refereeing of matches. We’re five years on now and they haven’t learned since the technology came in because we’re still getting human error and they’re looking for minute incidents and minimal contact.

“There are a few refereeing programmes on television now and they prove that the situation is all over the show, the situation is not improving, we seem to be getting worse and the English have become a laughing stock.”



Laughing stock

The decision to send off Calvert-Lewin at Selhurst Park was absolutely outrageous and Ball like most Everton supporters and pundits is well within his rights to be frustrated by the situation.

Everton feel aggrieved with the Premier League for a whole host of reasons both off and on the playing field this season and supporters are well within their rights to voice their frustrations.

However, lighting the fire underneath officials is unlikely to produce the sort of outcome that anybody in this situation wants. Yes, the referees have to improve, but supporters getting on their backs isn’t going to help anyone in the long run.

Hopefully, things will improve and Everton will get the rub of the green in the coming weeks. Something has to change to stop the officiating in the Premier League from becoming a complete laughing stock as Ball suggested.


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