PGMOL technical director Howard Webb has been heavily criticised after he explained why Mateo Kovacic escaped a red card during Arsenal’s clash against Manchester City.
On Sunday, the Gunners recorded a crucial 1-0 victory over City at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a late goal from Gabriel Martinelli.
During a tightly contested first half, Arsenal were left fuming after City midfielder Kovacic escaped a red card.
The Croatian was booked for a heavy challenge on Martin Odegaard, which could have easily been given as a red.
Minutes later, Kovacic caught Declan Rice and referee Michael Oliver decided not to brandish a second yellow card.
Explaining the decision on the PGMOL’s Match Officials Mic’d Up programme, Webb said: “Second yellows are something the VAR is not able to get involved in.
“But he was extremely fortunate to stay on the field. (Oliver) doesn't want to have a negative impact on the game by overreacting to something… but it is also true that if you under-react you have a negative impact.”
He continued: “He will realise the second one should have been a yellow card, which would have seen Kovacic sent off.”
Fans were quick to show their discontent over Webb’s explanation on social media.
One said: “So refs don’t wanna lay the law down to impact a game negatively, what? SACK HOWARD WEBB IMMEDIATELY.”
Another tweeted: “Same ref sent off Martinelli for 2 shoves in the space of 10 seconds last season too.”
🗣 "[Michael Oliver] doesn't want to have a negative impact on the game by overreacting."— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 10, 2023
PGMOL chief Howard Webb admits Manchester City's Mateo Kovačić was "extremely fortunate" not to be sent off against Arsenal 🟥 pic.twitter.com/nrSjokPGHE
A third fan added: “He doesn’t want to over react? Whats the point in being a ref if you aren’t going to give a red card for a red card offence??”
Someone else wrote: “The fact that Howard Webb is trying to justify the reason why Mateo Kovacic didn’t get a red card for that horrific tackle on odegaard is sickening and ridiculous.”
Whilst a fifth commented: “Doesn't want to have a negative impact on the game by overreacting." Lol seriously are you kidding me?”