This week, the special episode Match Officials Mic’d Up premiered on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel.
Howard Webb, a former Premier League referee, and Michael Owen, an ex-soccer player, may not be the most attention-grabbing TV duo. The new program from the pair, though, has the potential to be entertaining.
The english refereeing association the PGMOL has approved the publication of audio from the first four weeks of this season’s Premier League campaign, documenting conversations between referees and their VAR counterparts.
Innovative step for soccer
Webb has discussed his judgments as PGMOL’s head referee in a 26-minute show titled ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’. The new series will use match video and unheard audio to provide light on controversial officiating calls.
Premier League‘s 26-minute monthly broadcast for NBC is an innovative step forward for soccer. In fact, the inaugural edition of the Match Officials Mic’d Up provided plenty of material for discussion.
What’s discussed in first episode?
Howard Webb’s confession that Manchester City‘s goal by Nathan Ake should have been disallowed, and many more come to mind.
Then, in one of the most publicized gaffes to date, VAR Michael Salisbury seemed confused when Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana insisted he hadn’t just clattered with Wolves attacker Sasa Kalajdzic.
Webb and the other referees had a disagreement over a call that proved costly for Wolves in their 1-0 loss.
Four games into the new season, questions over how to interpret the handball regulation continue to arise, as shown with Brighton’s Lewis Dunk. Webb said in the episode that the defender was entitled to feel unfairly treated.
It was also claimed that in Manchester City’s opening night win over Burnley, VAR Michael Oliver made the right call by increasing Anass Zaroury’s yellow card to a red for his attack on Kyle Walker.
The episode also shows Howard’s determination to defend referrees.
His willingness to defend his referees in the face of criticism was on full display when he defended the offside call that nullified Alejandro Garnacho’s goal against Arsenal.
Photo credit: IMAGO / AAP
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