FORMER Premier League referee Keith Hackett has slammed the current crop of top flight officials.
Following a series of VAR blunders already this season, the ex-ref believes the officials are “not good enough”.
He also criticised their laziness in a scathing review of the current standards.
There have already been several high-profile blunders so far this term, most notably in Liverpool’s defeat at Tottenham last month.
The Reds had a goal wrongly disallowed after VAR official Darren England failed to overturn the on-field decision.
Hackett has now given his thoughts on the Premier League’s level of officiating.
Speaking on the Fair Game’s We Love You Football, We Do podcast, he said: “What we have seen over the years is a decline in the standards of refereeing.
“They’ve lost some of the required management skills, the good communication skills between players and referees.
“There are some referees that have reached the dizzying heights (of the Premier League) who have shortfalls in capability and I don’t think they are good enough.”
He later became a Premier League referee and officiated 36 matches between 1992 and 1994.
“There is a lack of basic law knowledge,” Hackett continued. “VAR protocol says if there is a serious missed incident, the game can be stopped.
“Referees are practitioners of the law and if they’re not studying the law on a regular basis, we’re not going to advance refereeing.
“Referees get into trouble these days because they are lazy.
“Nigel Owens, the top-class rugby referee, warned me that the danger you have with VAR is it will promote lazy refereeing. And it has done that. I see referees hesitating on what is clearly a penalty.
“Is it fear that they don’t want to make an error or is it that they are waiting for the decision to come from the stop department?
“The role of the referee has to be to make the decision and then VAR to come in and help.”