Referees never have an easy job, but they don’t make their life any easier when they make costly mistakes in heated Premier League games. A perfect example of this was in Saturday’s game between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City when Craig Bellamy was making a run down the left wing.
In the incident, Bolton defender Paul Robinson stuck his leg out and completely missed the ball and knocked Bellamy’s leg. Bellamy then fell to ground. Then the viewers, supporters, commentators and myself were shocked to see that instead of awarding a free kick in Manchester City’s favor, referee Mark Clattenburg blew his whistle and gave Bellamy a yellow card for diving. Not only a yellow card, but it was his second yellow card of the game and Bellamy was sent off.
This was a contentious decision on so many different levels. One, Robinson missed the ball and fouled Bellamy before “Bellars” fell down. Two, Bellamy dived. He could have easily kept on running and could have stayed on his feet to cross the ball into the box but he chose the easy option which was to dive and to get a free kick on the edge of the penalty area for City. Third, and this is the big one for me, the decision by Clattenburg is inconsistent with how referees in other matches call the game. We see these types of dives happening throughout the game where players would rather dive to get what they consider a fair call than to stay on their feet. If all referees throughout the Premier League are going to yellow card players for these type of dives, then that’s fine. But it needs to be consistent across the league.
What do you think? Should Bellamy have been sent off? Did Robinson foul Bellamy, or did Clattenburg make the wrong decision?