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Neville wades into referee debate

Gary Neville
Neville "expects big decsions to be correct"

Manchester United defender Gary Neville has waded into the debate over the standard of refereeing by calling for the creation of an elite referee pool.

"They should use a few elite officials in the big games instead of trying to give all referees experience," Neville was quoted as telling The Times.

"Their decision-making doesn't seem to be great in the big moments," he added.

His comments come just days after Sir Alex Ferguson was given a two-game ban for his comments about ref Alan Wiley.

The Football Association handed the 67-year-old Ferguson a four-game ban, with two of those suspended until the end of the 2010/11 season.

Ferguson was fined £20,000 and warned about his future conduct following his disparaging remarks about Wiley's fitness after United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland on 3 October.

I expect the big decisions in the big matches to be correct, which is not happening at the moment.

Gary Neville

"Italian referee Pierluigi Collina always used to get the big Champions League matches because he rarely made mistakes," added United captain Neville.

"They should make it like that in England.

"These big games shouldn't be about giving refs experience. They should have to earn it. The best players play for the big clubs and the best commentators commentate on the big games. That's how it should be with refs."

After United's recent 1-0 defeat by Chelsea, Ferguson said he and his players were losing "faith in refereeing" after the London club won with a disputed goal.

"I don't think it was a foul by Darren Fletcher which led to the free kick," said Neville echoing his manager's sentiments over Chelsea's winner.

"I don't want to say we've been hard done by this season because every team has their complaints, and I don't want to jump on referees' backs because they are under a lot of pressure," added Neville.

606: DEBATE

"Nevertheless, I expect the big decisions in the big matches to be correct, which is not happening at the moment."

The referees' union Prospect was "disappointed" at the two-match ban and fine meted out to Ferguson, believing the authorities had missed an opportunity to make a statement to back up the FA's Respect campaign.



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see also
Ferguson hit with FA fine and ban
12 Nov 09 |  Man Utd
Referees' boss wants Ferguson ban
12 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson apologises to ref Wiley
10 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Wiley 'fit enough for top flight'
05 Oct 09 |  Man Utd


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