Don't axe Marriner, warns ex ref

Referee Andre Marriner's confidence would be shattered if he was stood down for the rest of the season for sending off the wrong Arsenal player at Chelsea, according to former Premier League official Dermot Gallagher.

Andre Marriner, right, mistakenly sent off Kieran Gibbs, left, during Arsenal's 6-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday
Andre Marriner, right, mistakenly sent off Kieran Gibbs, left, during Arsenal's 6-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday

Marriner apologised to the Gunners for his error in Saturday's match at Stamford Bridge, which saw Kieran Gibbs mistakenly dismissed after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had handled the ball.

The foul resulted in a penalty in the 17th minute of the match, which led to Jose Mourinho's Barclays Premier League leaders going 3-0 up en route to a 6-0 rout.

Former World Cup referee Clive Thomas subsequently called for Marriner to be stood down for the rest of the season, but Gallagher reckons that is the last thing the 43-year-old needs, and would be happy to see him straight back into the action at the next available opportunity.

"I can't see that would do a referee any good. I can't see it would do Andre any good," he told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme.

"You've got one of the leading referees in not only England but in Europe, and you're going to stand him down? That doesn't do the Premier League any good because he is a top top-flight referee - he's made one mistake and his confidence would be shattered if that happened.

"I can't see that would do him any good whatsoever."

Gallagher thinks the experience will help other officials.

"Every referee will learn from this and identify what they can do if a similar situation ever occurs again," he said.

"For Andre, maybe he wants to get straight back into a game next week, maybe he just wants a cooling-off period to take pressure off. But he certainly doesn't need to be out for the rest of the season."

On whether he should get straight back in the saddle, Gallagher said: "I would endorse that. If you are in a position where you're going to stand a referee down for whatever period, whenever he goes back, the focus will be on him. He's made a genuine mistake and that's all it was."

He added: "It's an error that can be corrected off the field for Arsenal later this week.

"Arsenal will appeal that Kieran Gibbs didn't handle the ball, which the DVD quite clearly shows, and his red card will be rescinded and obviously Oxlade-Chamberlain will say he handled the ball and he will be the one suspended for (Tuesday's match against Swansea)."