NOT active in the first phase of play. Going away from goal. Allowing the game to flow. Not wanting to ruin the game as a spectacle.

What a load of shite.

Referees are there to apply to rules, not to ‘interpret’ them as they see fit, but unfortunately, in an era when certain employees of PGMO see themselves, not the players, as the star of the show, this is rarely the case.

I’m not going to name the referee who was guilty of such self-indulgence at Anfield yesterday, as that is what he and a few of his colleagues thrive on – getting their names talked about on the radio and their photo, often with back rod straight and chest puffed out, in the next day’s paper.

Two instances yesterday, the first one obvious, the second less so.

Luis Suarez goes clean through on goal, Simon Mignolet, in the Sunderland goal, comes out and closes the angle, Suarez, as he has done in the past, most notably in his first game against Stoke and then later in the season against Fulham, knocks it past the keeper.

Clear goalscoring opportunity? Well, unless your Victor Anichebe, you’d like to think so.

Suarez then having knocked the ball to his right and past Mignolet, had his trailing foot clipped by the chasing Kieron Richardson.

Now, call me old fashioned, but as far as I’m concerned there are only three potential outcomes to this situation.

1) The referee doesn’t see the contact, he is human after all, we all make mistakes.

2) The referee thinks that Suarez tried to con him and simulated contact, Suarez is then punished accordingly, again, a mistake, but an honest one.

3) The referee gives the penalty, having adjudged correctly that there was contact. Having acknowledged said contact, he then sends the offending player off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

All three scenarios, whether the decision on the incident in question was correct are not, are in lines with the rules of the game and applied as such.

But, what with it being the first game of the season, and not wanting to ‘ruin the spectacle’, the pompous arse in black decided that, no, he wasn’t going to apply the rules, but instead, implement his ‘interpretation’ of the rules, which resulted in the offending player only receiving a yellow card.

The second incident, John Flanagan went flying into to back of a Sunderland midfielder, I think it may have been Elmohamady, a clear yellow card. But the fat man in the middle, in his wisdom, decided that he’s only a young lad, a touch enthusiastic, and he’d let him get away with it.

Again, wrong decision, absolutely wrong.

But week in, week out, incidents are left open to the interpretation of these buffoons.

But not only are a fair number of them vain, arrogant egotists, but they are also cowards.

There is a common argument that referees don’t get enough respect from either players, managers or supporters, but how can they expect to when they can and quite often do, offer up staggering contradictions in their decision making depending what day it is.

The biggest of which is the implementation of the yellow card, or, rather the lack of it when a player is already on a booking.

How many times will you see a player booked for any number of offences, only then to see him trangress over and over, and yet that second yellow card stays in the referee’s top pocket?

Offences worthy of a booking should not depend on whether you’ve already been cautioned, but as we all know, they often do.

Is it any wonder why our Professional Match Game Officials are questioned?

Another popular cop-out of the Premier League referee is to make a decision one way or the other depending on whether it’s in the penalty area, or not. A referee will NEVER give a penalty for a defender climbing over a centre-forward inside the box, but take him outside the area, and he will, but are the two offences not the same?

Offside is another one, you’re either onside or you’re not, all this second and third phase of play is bollocks.

One thing thats crept into the game, via Sky Sports’ myriad of ‘expert pundits’, is the call for referees to apply ‘common sense’, but it is exactly this approach which causes the vast majority of problems for referees.

Of course some of the rules are stupid and should be changed – how a player celebrating a last-minute winner and a potential leg-breaking tackle can carry the same penalty I’ve never been able to get my head around.

But rules are rules, and the players know them before they step out so shouldn’t complain when they receive penalty for breaking them, and if they were applied to the letter, then we’d have far less games ruined, far less ‘grey’ and far more respect for match officials.

It’s this ‘grey’ area that allows disrespect and intimidation to to thrive, make the rules clear, black and white, and there is infinitely less scope for argument from anyone.

Of course, mistakes will be made, that’s human nature and is forgivable, but while referees feel they have license to ‘shape’ a game, the longer this situation will fester regardless of any campaigns from within the game to promote ‘respect’.

Take away this license for officials to make it up as they go along and the desire to ‘balance’ decisions out, weed out the egos, let them know that they are to keep time and apply rules, nothing more, nothing less and we’d see a far more harmonious relationship between the players, managers and referees.

And another thing, kicking the ball out when a player is injured, it happened again yesterday, it needs clarifying, as opposed to the referee, instead of blowing his whistle, looking at the opposition team to do him a favour.

If the rules are that it’s only for a head injury, then that needs reinforcing and stood by, it happened again yesterday when Gyan went down after a 50/50 with Carra, everyone was looking to the referee, who in turn, looked at Enrique (who I was really impressed with.) to put the ball out, stopping the game and breaking momentum and ending up with us regaining possession in our penalty area having conceded it in the opposition half.

Anyway, rant over, it’s Sunday.

Get on to the podcast tomorrow, it’s gonna be a belter.