Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson furiously hit out at refereeing standards after his team dropped two points at home to Newcastle United on Saturday. John Flynn, the assistant referee was the subject of his wrath for awarding a contentious penalty against Rio Ferdinand for fouling Hatem Ben Arfa, which helped
to equalize and salvage a point from the match. However, he did not spare referee Mike Jones either, and blamed him for allowing his original decision to be overturned. Newcastle
Speaking to in-house television channel MUTV in a post-match interview,
“The penalty decision was an absolute travesty. The referee saw the incident and gave a corner, and he was in a far better position to judge than the assistant because he was only about eight yards away. I don't think anyone in the ground apart from the assistant thought it was a penalty, but he then let the linesman overrule him. The problem is that assistant referees are not full‑time, even if referees are. I could not understand the decision at all.
“Everyone, including the referee, was astounded when the linesman put his flag up. He was put in a terrible position. Why can't the referee overrule it when he is only eight yards away? It is not for me to decide whether the assistant referee gets another game again but it was an absolutely shocking decision.
“It costs you, a decision like that. Two years ago, when the linesman gave the offside goal against
, it cost us the league, so hopefully we're not saying that at the end of May. I don't think we played badly at all today – if we carry on playing like that I'll be happy – but we slaughtered Newcastle and not to get the three points was a travesty.” Chelsea
Even Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, admitted that his side had been lucky with the penalty decision, though he believed his side deserved a point for their overall performance at Old Trafford.
Pardew was quoted as follows after the match:
“I can understand Sir Alex being disappointed with the decision but we deserved a break and on this occasion we got one. It was a great run from Hatem, and it was one of those situations where you either get the decision or you don't. You could tell from the players' reactions that there was a good case for a penalty.”