Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has plans to hold talks with Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) regarding a perceived bias against his club. The organization is currently responsible for refereeing in English professional soccer.

Wilder made the announcement during a recent press conference leading up to their matchup Aston Villa on Saturday. The coach claimed that the Blades have suffered during the season partially due to referees not wanting to ruffle the Premier League mainstays. “It’s the in-game decisions, the soft fouls go against us,” Wilder told reporters.

“I’m not looking back over the last 10 games, it’s over a longer period, before I was here as well. Maybe the thought process and the outlook is that [Sheffield] won’t be long in this division and ‘I might be refereeing the other team next year, so don’t want to upset too many people’.”

Wilder says he was disrespected during recent ref interaction

Along with making the eyebrow-raising comments, Wilder also discussed a recent interaction he had with an official after a game against Crystal Palace. “I’m not just going to go under the radar and not say anything. I’ve been to see the referee and I’ve told him that,” continued the coach.

“One of his assistants was eating a sandwich at the time, which I thought was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager.”

Wilder’s comments are apparently widely shared both within the club and their supporters. “I wouldn’t be saying it if I didn’t think it was right. The majority of Sheffield United supporters will feel the same as well,” proclaimed Wilder. “I’m not just speaking on behalf of myself.”

“I’m speaking on behalf of the players and more importantly I’m speaking on behalf of the football club. Come on, we need to make sure this is right and sorted and it’s refereed in the right way.”

Blades struggling to stay in English top flight

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta previously shared similar thoughts as Wilder on the current state of officiating in the Premier League. The Spaniard openly called out English referees following his club’s controversial loss against Newcastle in November. Arteta was eventually charged by the league for voicing his opinion. Nevertheless, the Gunners boss avoided any punishment for the rant.

Arteta then insisted that Premier League managers have to be allowed to speak their minds. “You have to be yourself. As a leader, you have to be authentic,” said the manager. “You cannot be someone you are not and this is who I am here. I want to think that we have to talk to make things better.”

Wilder’s team, on the other hand, entered the weekend sitting bottom of the Premier League table. The Blades have managed to win just two of their first 22 top flight matches on the season. The last league victory for the club came at home against Brentford nearly two months ago.

As a result of the poor campaign, Sheffield is now 10 points from potential safety. Luton and Nottingham Forest, the two teams just outside of the relegation zone, also have a game in hand compared to the Blades as well.

Despite the comments by Wilder, Sheffield struggled in the early stages of their fixture with Villa on Saturday. In fact, the visiting Villans grabbed two goals in the opening 16 minutes of the match. Unai Emery’s side then scored twice more by the half hour mark.

Photo credits: IMAGO / PA Images : IMAGO / Sportimage