Updated: Monday, 24 March 2014 22:49 | By Agence France-Presse

Blunder ref Marriner awaits fate as Thomas calls for ban

Referee Andre Marriner faced an anxious wait Monday to discover if he had been stood down from the upcoming round of Premier League fixtures following his remarkable case of mistaken identity at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.


In the midst of leaders Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal, Marriner somehow contrived to send off Kieran Gibbs for handling a goal-bound shot on the line when in fact it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who had committed the infringement.

Eden Hazard duly put Chelsea 3-0 ahead from the ensuing penalty and Marriner later apologised for his error, which led victorious Blues manager Jose Mourinho to re-iterate his plea for officials to be given access to video technology.

However, that cut little ice with Clive Thomas, one of British football's most respected referees.

It may be more 30 years since the 77-year-old Welshman, nicknamed 'The Book' for his strict adherence to football's rules last controlled a senior match, but Thomas was in no doubt that Marriner and his linesmen should all face a lengthy ban.

"It was the most disgusting, shocking decision I've seen," Thomas told the BBC.

"In my opinion these four wouldn't officiate another Premier League game this season," added Thomas, who controversially disallowed a Brazil 'goal' against Sweden at the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina after ruling Zico's header had crossed the line just moments after he'd blown for full-time.

However, Dermot Gallagher -- a more recently retired referee from English football's top flight -- disagreed with Thomas and said a lengthy ban was the last thing the 43-year-old Marriner needed.

"I can't see that would do a referee any good. I can't see it would do Andre any good," Gallagher told the BBC.

"You've got one of the leading referees in not only England but in Europe, and you're going to stand him down? That doesn't do the Premier League any good because he is a top top-flight referee -- he's made one mistake and his confidence would be shattered if that happened.

"I can't see that would do him any good whatsoever."

On whether Marriner should return to action at the first opportunity, Gallagher said: "I would endorse that.

"If you are in a position where you're going to stand a referee down for whatever period, whenever he goes back, the focus will be on him. He's made a genuine mistake and that's all it was.

"It's an error that can be corrected off the field for Arsenal later this week.

"Arsenal will appeal that Kieran Gibbs didn't handle the ball, which the DVD quite clearly shows, and his red card will be rescinded and obviously Oxlade-Chamberlain will say he handled the ball and he will be the one suspended (for Tuesday's match against Swansea)."

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