Sheffield United's Paul Heckingbottom blasts Premier League referees

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom blasts Premier League referees for ‘RUINING’ the game by dictating how teams play under new time-wasting rules 

  • Paul Heckingbottom has blasted Premier League referees after their late defeat 
  • Two stoppage time goals earned Tottenham a 2-1 win over Sheffield United 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ 

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom launched a furious tirade at Premier League referees, claiming the officials told him to ‘play long’ rather than let goalkeeper Wes Foderingham take his time to pass out from the back.

Referee Peter Bankes flourished 13 yellow cards as the Blades lost late at Tottenham, seven for Heckingbottom’s team including two for Ollie McBurnie, who was dismissed in the 14th minute of added time and will be banned for the next game, against Newcastle.

‘Something needs to be done now,’ fumed Heckingbottom. ‘The referees are killing the game, absolutely ruining it. This is not me moaning about the result. I said it at half-time and when we were 1-0 up as well.

‘The focus is on time-wasting so the referees are dictating how we play. We set up to play out from the back and we get out a couple of time so Spurs change and Wes has to make another decision.

‘But no, we’re just told to ‘play long’. The answer back to me was ‘well kick long then’. We work all week on how we want to play and the refs are dictating to us how we play the game. It can’t happen, but it’s happening.

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has hit out at Premier League referees this term

Referee Peter Bankes sent off Ollie McBurnie in the Blades’ late defeat to Tottenham Hotspur

Heckingbottom accused referees of ‘dictating’ play amid the league’s new time-wasting rules

‘They’ve got obsessed about time-wasting and yellow cards.’

Foderingham picked up a yellow card for handling outside his box in the first half and the Blades boss feared his goalkeeper was going to be sent off in the second because he would be ruled to be time-wasting in the second half.

‘The officiating is appalling,’ added Heckingbottom. ‘It’s not about the football decisions, it’s just game management. They just do not know what they’re doing. The people who are directing our game have not got a clue about our game. They don’t know football.

‘My worry is all the focus is on yellow cards for time-wasting and when I talked to the referees they haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about. They’re officiating the game but they simply do not know the game.

‘To sum it all up we get Ollie McBurnie sent off for telling the referee someone is pulling his shirt. We’ve just seen someone lead with an elbow into our goalkeeper who needs stitches and that’s the same offence. What’s going on, seriously what’s going on with our game?’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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