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17th Aug 2022

Nigel Pearson says standard of refereeing has made him consider quitting football

Callum Boyle

Nigel Pearson

Pearson said the standard of officiating is at an ‘all-time low’

Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson admitted he has had thoughts about retiring from football due to the standard of officiating.

Pearson was speaking after his side’s 2-0 win against Luton Town on Tuesday night. Mark Sykes was sent off for the Robins, a decision that Pearson did not disagree with, but the failure to send off a Luton player left a sour taste in the 58-year-old’s mouth.

Sykes was shown a red card for a rash challenge on Luke Freeman, but Pearson believed that Freeman should also have been dismissed for barging into the back of the midfielder with his chest, causing Sykes to fall to the floor.

Freeman was shown a yellow card for the incident but Pearson was left aggrieved once more as his side were denied a penalty, despite defender Rob Atkinson being caught by a trailing Luton defender’s leg when dribbling into the penalty box.

Nigel Pearson

The former Leicester City boss even said that he has considered quitting football twice after the level of refereeing had reached an “all-time low.”

“In the modern game, I’ve got no complaints about Sykesy but what I do have a complaint about is the way their player wasn’t dealt with in the same way,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’ve got to be honest with you, I thought about it last year, and I’ve thought about it again this year and that is basically to pack up being involved in the sport.

“And that is not because how shallow the modern game is and how some of the aspects of the modern game irritate me but the standard of officiating, as far as I’m concerned, is at an all-time low.

“I’m afraid when it happens all the time, we’ve had it again today – Rob Atkinson was fouled and we didn’t get it – so as far as I’m concerned the integrity of the sport is being compromised,” he added.

“They’re consistently poor. I’ll probably get in trouble again for saying what I think but somebody has to say it – I’m sick to death about people like me who have jobs that are in jeopardy. It’s alright if we play badly every week, I can take losing my job because of that… but, for me, it’s just a worry for the game.”

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