Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye has suggested that referees favour “big clubs” like Manchester United, following our 0-0 draw with them on Saturday.
Clearly fuming at the lack of protection he was given by referee Mike Jones on the day, the Frenchman’s comments in the press allude to an inherent bias towards the country’s bigger clubs from the officials, making it harder for teams like ours to get a fair crack of the whip.
Cabaye’s frustration was evident to all last weekend, including his manager, who decided to take him off to save any potential repercussions from the referee after Yohan was seen to remonstrate with him over his decision-making on more than one occasion. Indeed, Pardew made reference to the rough treatment his player received in his post-match press conference, pointing out that he was fouled an astounding eight time over the course of his 80 minutes on the pitch.
Far from an immature moan, the Frenchman’s comments present the views of many within the game who feel they are swimming against the tide whenever they come up against one of the game’s superpowers. Whilst I wouldn’t for a second suggest that the referee’s leniency towards the likes of Manchester United is intentional, there is certainly enough evidence to suggest that officials do tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to punishing players from the stereotypically “bigger” outfits.
You need only look at Dwight Gayle’s dismissal against West Ham as proof of the inconsistencies which currently exist in the Premier League, with the frontman being dismissed for what was just his second foul of the day, rather than being given a well-timed warning by that day’s referee Mark Clattenburg. Fast forward a week and the same man was ticking off Yaya Toure for what was arguably a worse challenge rather than adding his name to the book, leading to an obvious and entirely understandable sense of injustice running throughout our fan base and playing squad. It’s human nature, after all.
Yohan’s words, attached above, serve as a reminder of the divides that exist throughout the division, regardless of the fact that the game’s governing body refuses to accept any degree of responsibility. I for one am extremely glad he’s had the courage of his convictions in publicly declaring what could be considered “controversial” views by some.