3 Most Controversial Refereeing Decisions in the English Premier League

Published: 2023-04-26 By: The Guru

The English Premier League is one of the most followed football leagues globally. For Kenyans, English football is a football delicacy as we helplessly (and endlessly) look forward to every weekend to see our favorite teams grace the pitch again.

For Kenyan punters, the Premier League comes with uncommon earning potential on some of the best bookmaker apps. For example, Kenyan punters could visit this link to download the 1xbet app, after which they can enjoy fantastic odds on their favorite Premier League fixtures.

The Premier League is not only renowned for the premium quality of football it regularly delivers. The league boasts some of the finest referees in the game, from the likes of Michael Oliver to the famed Mike Dean.

Inevitably, there have been controversial refereeing decisions in the Premier League that left us scratching our heads in bewilderment. 

This article discusses some of the most controversial refereeing decisions we have been unfortunate to see in the Premier League.

1. Andre Marriner Red Card Error, 2013-14 Season

March 22, 2014, will remain a controversial or rather hilarious date for everyone except Arsenal fans. Iconic manager Arsene Wenger was overseeing his 1,000th professional game, and the stage seemed perfect. 

They were meeting an in-form Chelsea, and expectations were high.

The Gunners lost 6-0 to a ruthless Chelsea team at Stamford Bridge, with Samuel Eto'o, Andre Shurrle, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Mohammed Salah on the scoresheet.

The most eventful part of the game would be the build-up to the 17th-minute penalty that Eden Hazard converted. He initially played a goal-bound shot which deflected off the arm of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain to go off target.

The decision was clear, and punishment was imminent; a red card. Referee Andre Marriner awarded the red card, but on the wrong player, Kieran Gibbs.

Chamberlain and Gibbs tried to make the referee understand the truth, but he didn't reverse the decision. The referee would later agree he made a mistake after reviewing the decision at halftime, but it remains one of the most bizarre moments in EPL history.

2. Roy Carroll's Fumble Goes Unnoticed, 2004-05 Season

It was a Premier League match between Tottenham and Manchester United. The game was barren, and Pedro Mendes attempted to break the deadlock by trying a shot from the center of the field to catch the goalkeeper off guard.

Roy Carrol initially dealt with the ball well, only to lose concentration and fumble it over the line. He quickly rectified his mistake and scooped the ball out of the goal, but it was too late, or was it?

The Tottenham players and officials protested violently, but center referee Mark Clattenburg saw nothing. His lineman didn't call him back, and the game ended a boring 0-0. Roy Carrol admitted the ball went over the line after the game.

3. Rodri Handball Vs. Everton 2021/22 season

The concluding stages of the season are usually the most important to all the teams involved. Title challenges are heated, and relegation battles are also at their peak. In the 2021/22 EPL season, we saw a single decision that impacted the title race and relegation battle.

It was a keenly contested match between Everton and Manchester City on February 22, 2022. Manchester City was aiming for its fourth EPL title in five years, with Liverpool on its heels. On the other hand, Everton needs points to survive the Premier League and salvage its bleak season.

Rodri appeared to have handled the ball with his outstretched arm late into the second half, which was against the law. Everton protested, but referee Paul Tierney and VAR allowed play to continue, claiming the ball didn't touch an "illegal" part of Rodri's arm.

The decision significantly impacted the title race as Manchester City won the game 1-0 and the title with one point. On the other hand, Everton narrowly survived relegation but felt cheated until this day.


Controversies are as old as football, and many competitions have gotten their fair share. The EPL is one of the world's best leagues and has some of the best officials. Even at that, some of these officials make mistakes that impact the league's outcome.

With the advent of VAR, the FA is doing all it can to curb the menace, but we've still seen some controversial ones. These three decisions are among the most contentious the EPL has ever seen.

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