Keith Stroud Apologises After Moment of Utter Madness at St James’ Park

Image: Daily Mail

Referee Keith Stroud has apologies to Newcastle United as he made a calamitous error in the Championship match last night. Newcastle were at home to Burton Albion, as the magpies looked to strengthen their promotion challenge.

In the 29th minute of the game a moment of complete madness occurred. Keith Stroud awarded Newcastle a penalty, to which Matt Ritchie scored. As Ritchie was celebrating the referee, disallowed the penalty and awarded a free-kick to Burton Albion. The reasoning behind this is thought to be encroachment. Dwight Gayle appeared to be encroaching as the penalty was being taken, however the rules of the game state, in this very instants the spot-kick should have been retaken as Matt Ritchie converted the penalty. An indirect free-kick is awarded for attacking encroachment only if the penalty is missed, this is in accordance with football’s law 14.

A statement from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited later admitted that the match officials got it terribly wrong. The statement read:

“In this evening’s EFL Championship game between Newcastle United and Burton Albion, referee Keith Stroud awarded Newcastle a penalty in the 29th minute. As Matt Ritchie took the kick, Dwight Gayle encroached in the penalty area. An indirect free-kick was awarded to Burton, but the Laws of the Game state that that the penalty kick should have been retaken. Unfortunately the referee has misapplied the Law. Keith and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake.”

Luckily for Keith Stroud Newcastle went on to win the game, thanks to a stunning strike by Matt Ritchie. If Newcastle had not have won the game, you would think there would have been a lot more uproar regarding the decision. In my years of watching football, I have never seen anything like that before. Referee’s are only human and are prone to making mistakes and getting decisions wrong, that is only natural. However, a set of officials who do not understand the rules of the game is unforgivable. Keith Stroud was not the only one to blame last night, there are three others that must take some of the blame. There are the two linesman and the fourth official, one of them – You would think would know the rules of the game, if so they should have spoken to Keith Stroud and prevent the mistake from being made.

Newcastle coaching staff when leaving the field for half time, were in conversation with Keith Stroud and appeared to be telling him the laws of the game. That scene was quite laughable. If Newcastle had not have won the game the authorities would have a lot to answer for, in my opinion they still do. A set of officials should not be anywhere near a competitive game if they do not know the rules of the game.

I have followed the Championship for some time now, this is not the first time that the standard of officiating has come into question. It has been obvious for quite some time that the standard of officiating in the Championship is way below the standard it should be. A lot of fans complain about Premier League officials, however the Championship really have set the bar to a new low.

It is also not the first time this season that Newcastle have had a bizarre decision go against them. When playing Nottingham Forest away in December, Newcastle were in complete control of the game when referee Steve Martin sent two Newcastle players off. Newcastle went on to lose that game and in the days after the result, the relevant authorities overturned both of the red cards.

Hopefully the incident last night screams volumes that something must be done to up the standard of officiating. If something is not done fairly soon, we will see a lot more incidents like last night.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comments always welcome.