Ex-Premier League referee cites George Best after analysing footage of 'big' Sunderland controversy
Keith Hackett has insisted the referee did the right thing by not abandoning Portsmouth’s 4-0 win over Sunderland despite the wet conditions at Fratton Park.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee praised the officials for using “common sense” by completing the game.
As quoted by the Sunderland Echo, Lee Johnson fumed at referee Ben Tozer for his explanation as to why the game was not abandoned.
He revealed Tozer had insisted the heavy rainfall had no impact on the movement of the ball – a claim Johnson labelled “ridiculous”.
“It’s 4-0 and if you’re asking for the game to be called off, it’s a big ask,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley after analysing footage of the game.
“The reality in these situations is often we look at it like it’s black and white and we say ‘That game may not have started’ but I ask you to look at pictures from the past. Therefore this is a non-shout, for me.
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“The players have played into it. In that sense, I understand, yes, it’s wet. It’s 4-0, as a referee, I would be reluctant to call it off.
“The referee has applied a bit of common sense. Do you want me to show you pictures of George Best and the conditions he played in?
“It looked to be running OK. I’m critical of referees, let’s praise the referee for getting the game over with. That’s my view.
“I’ve refereed in much worse conditions than that.
“The players have played into it. If the question was ‘Are we going to get the game to go ahead?’ Then maybe the answer would be ‘We’re not, it’s too waterlogged’. This is a game that’s well down the line so you’re going to get it finished.
“I don’t think the referee should have been criticised at all here.”