World of Sport: Referees should take lie detector tests

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IT'S time to make football referees take lie detector tests. The first question I'd ask is 'are you instructed to favour the bigger clubs or does it just happen naturally?'

IT'S time to make football referees take lie detector tests. The first question I'd ask is 'are you instructed to favour the bigger clubs or does it just happen naturally?'This season's FA Cup has thrown up so many examples of favorauble treatment there should be an investigation into the behaviour of some officials.

The twerp in charge of Posh at the weekend found it easy to ignore a blatant handball by a West Brom defender in his own six-yard box, but detected the faintest of trips (possibly with the help of a delayed dive) at the other end which resulted in a match-clinching penalty and a red card.

Andre Marriner, who laughably is a member of the pompous 'select group' of referees in this country, gave Colchester the softest possible penalty against Posh in the third round, but turned down a far more blatant one for League One Plymouth against Premier League Portsmouth in round four.

Middlesbrough's Robert Huth was allowed to stay on the field against Mansfield despite a disgusting challenge which could have castrated his opponent (Ipswich youngster Liam Trotter was sent off for something far less dangerous in the third round, but then he was playing against a Premier League side), an assistant failed to spot the nine foot frame of Peter Crouch in an offside position when he scored for Liverpool against Havant and Waterlooville, and Chelsea's decisive goal against little Wigan followed a push so blatant that referee Uriah Rennie should be made to bring forward his retirement by a few months.

I honestly believe that professional footballers now cheat so much they receive the standard of refereeing they deserve, but that shouldn't stop officials giving the lower ranked clubs a fair deal now and again.

THE love of Liverpool fans for Rafa Benitez baffles me. Bill Shankly he isn't and I'm not even convinced that he's much better than Graeme Souness.

Benitez has spent vast fortunes on a succession of no-hopers. His latest big-money acquisition, a tattoo called Martin Skrtel, was embarrassed by Alfie Potter and his non-league mates at the weekend.

The Spaniard often employs diversionary tactics like whining about needing more funds (like Arsenal's annual excuse that they are still a young team and therefore a work in progress, it's wearing a bit thin) or by generally sulking and pouting.

The Premier League title is as likely to go to Goodison Park as it is to Anfield in the next few years and surely that is one fact that should ensure a change of manager at the club.

And yet the fans continue to back him which may be conclusive proof that there is indeed a sucker born every minute, in Scouse land at least.

IT doesn't surprise me that the cerebrally challenged Kevin Keegan tried to sign walking sicknote Jonathan Woodgate, but what on earth is Juande Ramos thinking?

The Spurs boss had enjoyed such a great week with a humiliation of arrogant Arsenal and a spirited display at Old Trafford.

But this transfer beggars belief. Middlesbrough, whose willingness to sell is surely proof that Woodgate is a waste of space, will be laughing all the way to the bank.

The consolation for Spurs will be the best centre-back pairing of any treatment room in the Premier League.

I HOPE the blinkered fools that believe Andrew Murray is capable of winning Grand Slam titles were watching the Australian Open men's singles final over the weekend.

Novak Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the pair had knocked Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out in the semi-finals.

Djokovic is 20, younger than Murray, but already a class apart. He hits the ball hard off either flank and clearly has a winners' temperament.

Murray is not blessed with any of that. Like that other over-hyped flop Tim Henman, Murray is far too puny to be successful at the highest level.

I'm sure the dour one will milk the attention he will receive following Henman's departure, but believe me the role of brave loser is all that awaits him.

EXCUSE me for refusing to fawn at the feet of Adam Gilchrist like the rest of the world following the Australian wicket-keeper's decision to retire from International cricket.

Gilchrist was apparently a 'walker' and that was enough for him to be anointed a saint, which compared to the cheats and bullies who make up the rest of the Australian national side he probably was.

But he has been the vice-captain of his country at a time when their reputation has deservedly hit rock bottom so any pleas for personal innocence must fall on deaf ears.

He was in a position of authority capable of reigning in the worst excesses of his team-mates, yet either chose not to, or his thoughts were ignored.

Meanwhile his captain, the quite obnoxious thickie Ricky Ponting, scored 140 in the final Test after being caught behind early in his innings.I HOPE the blinkered fools that believe Andrew Murray is capable of winning Grand Slam titles were watching the Australian Open men's singles final over the weekend.

Novak Djokovic beat Jo-Winifried Tsonga after the pair had knocked Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out in the semi-finals.

Djokovic is 20, younger than Murray, but already a class apart. He hits the ball hard off either flank and clearly has a winners' temperament.

Murray is not blessed with any of that. Like that other over-hyped flop Tim Henman, Murray is far too puny to be successful at the highest level.

I'm sure the dour one will milk the attention he will receive following Henman's departure, but believe me the role of brave loser is all that awaits him.

EXCUSE me for refusing to fawn at the feet of Adam Gilchrist like the rest of the world following the Australian wicket-keeper's decision to retire from International cricket.

Gilchrist was apparently a 'walker' and that was enough for him to be anointed a saint, which compared to the cheats and bullies who make up the rest of the Australian national side he probably was.

But he has been the vice-captain of his country at a time when their reputation has deservedly hit rock bottom so any pleas for personal innocence must fall on deaf ears.

He was in a position of authority capable of reigning in the worst excesses of his team-mates, yet either chose not to, or his thoughts were ignored.

Meanwhile his captain, the quite obnoxious thickie Ricky Ponting, scored 140 in the final Test after being caught behind early in his innings.