By Keith Hackett

21st Nov, 2022 | 2:06pm

Ex-Fifa official: PGMOL need to take action after alarming behind-the-scenes Aston Villa reveal

The PMGOL need to coach referees to ensure walls are 10 yards from a free-kick after it was revealed Aston Villa set-piece coach Austin MacPhee had uncovered a worrying trend.

That is the view of ex-Fifa and Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about walls creeping closer to free-kicks.

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper coach Neil Cutler told Ben Foster’s YouTube channel earlier this month that MacPhee had noticed referees were not measuring 10 yards correctly.

Steven Gerrard was unhappy with his side’s poor set-pieces and that prompted MacPhee to raise the issue with a referee.

“It is so important that referees achieve 9.15 metres or 10 yards,” Hackett told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.

“This is why they get the spray can to assist.

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“There is a process. With set pieces around the goal, you want to make sure the ball is in the right position. Then say to the player ‘Don’t even touch the ball until I give the signal’. Then you march your 9.15 metres out.

“In training referees we get them to stride out to determine how they achieve 10 yards. This is where you are saying some people need 12 steps and some need 10 steps.

“The reality is they start with a wide stride and get shorter as they get to the wall. They are supposed to go past the wall and get the wall back.

“The reason it is so important is if you look at the high percentage of goals scored from set-pieces, achieving 10 yards is an important aspect.

“The secondary aspect here is you can check it. You know the penalty mark to the edge of the D is 10 yards. You’ve got a point to check it against.

“In reality, this is the job of the PMGOL boss and coaching team to make sure that their referees are achieving 9.15 metres.

“You almost want a zapper to show 10 yards and you send them back there. Let’s have another piece of kit in the referee’s armoury!”

In other news, Aston Villa may be ready to rip up Philippe Coutinho’s contract after a major reveal.