After a historic first Women’s football weekend, Manchester United head coach Casey Stoney has demanded the FA the level of officiating in the Super League.
In front of a record 4,790 strong crowd, her team suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea after a controversial penalty was awarded by referee Jack Packman, a third replacement after two other officials pulled out through tonsillitis and injury.
Casey slammed his awarding of a penalty, claiming Millie Turner had got a touch on the ball when she challenged Fran Kirby.
It was not the only controversial decision made by Packman in the game. In the first half United defender Amy Turner had already been booked for a tackle that she and her team-mates were convinced was not a foul. Packman initially awarded a free-kick but instead booked Abbie McManus, leaving Chelsea angered that Turner was not sent off for a second yellow card.
After the game, Stoney said: “I’ll get fined if I said what I want to say,” but added, “we are a professional game. We have to address the level of refereeing. We work hard week in, week out. My players are honest, hard-working, driven – they deserve better than that. It was a 90-minute poor performance. He [Packman] has apologised but that’s too late.”
She finished by saying: “I’m annoyed I have to talk about the poor officiating when we should be talking about the crowds, the quality of the game, the speed of the game, the outstanding play.
“The game has professionalised and the officiating hasn’t moved forward in my opinion.”
Chelsea and England striker Beth England joined the debate, adding: “It’s not OK. Where is the protection for the players? The decisions, for me, were embarrassing. We want to put in good performances and, when referees are giving bad decisions that are killing the game, it’s hard. I hope that they will watch the game and look at how badly they did. I thought they were appalling today.”