By Keith Hackett

2nd Aug, 2022 | 8:00am

Ex-Fifa official highlights 'big problem' as West Brom may be behind referee change

West Brom and other EFL clubs may have driven the recent change to guidance on fouls, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee claimed consistency on fouls has been the “biggest problem” facing officials in recent years.

As relayed by the Sunderland Echo on Saturday (30 July), the PGMOL had issued new guidance to referees to help improve the EFL.

It includes increasing the threshold on fouls and to ensure that players do not overstep the mark.

“On the challenges, the game as a whole will welcome this,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“There have been challenges last season that warranted a sanction from the referee and did not get one.

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“I think that some of the challenges that should have been red cards is a growing trend that means players are out of the game. They are injured.

“This might be driven by clubs saying ‘We’re concerned, we’ve got our star players not competing in games’.

“I welcome that but it’s about consistency. The biggest problem that has faced referees for the last two years or more is their consistency on foul levels.

“We know a careless challenge is punished by a free-kick, reckless is punished by a yellow card and excessive force that endangers is punished by a red card.

“I think there is refereeing inconsistency across last season in terms of those three categories. We were getting players receiving yellow cards when it should have been red and just a free-kick when it should have been yellow.

“This is very much about creating the right working environment so players know what is acceptable and what isn’t.”

In other news, Kieran Maguire has issued an “overspending” claim as a £243million-plus West Brom details emerge.