Former referee and resident expert for YouAreTheRef.com Keith Hackett has hit out at Premier League referee Lee Mason for his decision to disallow a perfectly good Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Mason was widely criticised for the decision, and Hackett believes that it is the latest example that proves that he is not good enough to referee at the top level, claiming in an article for the Telegraph that he is 'past his sell-by date'.
Lee Mason has enjoyed a fine refereeing career but he is past his sell-by-date and his decision to disallow Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s effort against Middlesbrough was further proof that he should be removed from Premier League matches on a permanent basis.
He disallowed Ibrahimovic’s volleyed finish because he felt the Swede’s raised boot was dangerous, but I am convinced Lee simply guessed - and it was a call he got badly wrong.
When he made contact with the ball Ibrahimovic was some distance from goalkeeper Víctor Valdés and posed no danger to his opponent. Somehow Mason and his assistant decided that was not the case, and I can completely understand why Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United players were furious.
This reaction was not based on this decision alone, as before Christmas the former ref Hackett listed Mason as one of three referees that were not fit to continue refereeing Premier League games in an overall ranking of the league's 14 refs for the Telegraph.
Hackett continued to argue that Mason was guessing for decisions he had not seen, and pointed out how strange it is that rather than be punished or even pulled from the limelight after his mistake, he has been handed another important game.
To disallow a goal you have to be 100 per cent certain an offence has been committed and Mason – who was on the edge of the box, looking through a crowded penalty area – couldn’t have been. Instead, he guessed and I am sure he will be disappointed when he looks back on it.
You might expect there would be some comeback for such an error, but not in this case as Mason will be taking charge of Manchester City’s game with Burnley on Monday.
It's ridiculous that referees take no accountability for their mistakes. They are human, and the fact that these incidents are not talked about, learned from, and dealt with only makes it more frustrating when they do happen.
That's why it's good to have former refs like Hackett and Howard Webb when he's not being too safe on BT Sport, as they say what the players and managers will be punished for saying.
It seems like every other week one ref or another has an absolute shocker, so rather than sweep it under the rug maybe it's time to think about how to improve the standard.