“The referee was right there. If he didn't see it, why didn't he see it? That would be my concern if I was the referee”
Clive Thomas on Mario Balotelli's sending-off against Arsenal
"Referees today are concerned, it seems, far more about what the assessors think of them, and are not thinking how to referee a game.
"It never worried me what the assessors would say."
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was sent for two bookable offences in the
defeat by Arsenal
on Sunday, but much post-match coverage focused on a challenge on Alex Song which went unpunished.
Thomas said: "That tackle was a disgrace. The studs were up and went on the player's leg. He should have been sent off then but he wasn't.
"The referee was right there. If he didn't see it, why didn't he see it? That would be my concern if I was the referee.
"I was far better than modern refs. British referees were better than they are today."
PGMOL provides match officials for the top flight of English football and Dorward added: "As he [Thomas] should know all too well, sometimes officials make human errors but the truth is that standards in officiating have never been higher.
"The Match Delegates report - compiled by former players and managers and which the clubs provide feedback on after every Premier League match - show that referees get over 92% of major decisions right.
Referee Clive Thomas prepares to toss the coin with Celtic captain Billy McNeill and Bobby Charlton at the Manchester United player's testimonial game at Old Trafford in 1972
additionally shows that assistant referees have got over 99% of offside decisions right this season.
"PGMOL do analyse reasons why errors are made and are always working on improving officiating technique.
"Everything that is available is used: both of the Match Delegates and PGMOL Assessors reports, match footage and ProZone data are analysed, there are a team of refereeing coaches working with them all season long, and also former players and managers helping improve their positioning.
"The fact that we are one of only three countries in world football to have three elite referees suggests that English officiating is of a very high standard."
He had a reputation as a disciplinarian and is widely remembered for disallowing a
headed goal for Brazil in a 1978 World Cup group game against Sweden by blowing for full-time while a corner ball was still in mid-air.
1976 Euros in Yugoslavia,
Thomas oversaw an upset when the 'Total Football' generation of Holland, spearheaded by Johan Cruyff, was defeated at the semi-final stage by Czechoslovakia.
In that match in Zagreb, Thomas sent off three players and threatened to abandon the fixture as the game descended into acrimony in extra-time.
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