Referees are enduring a pretty rough time at the moment.
The standard of officiating across Europe has fallen drastically and there are desperate calls for technology to be brought in to help them out.
After Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, a game that featured a number of disputable decisions, including penalty appeals on both sides and a potential red-card challenge by Yaya Toure, Pep Guardiola called for referees to get together and discuss their issues.
"You know my opinion about the referees," he said, via Sky Sports. "My advice to them is that they have to speak to each other and they have to sit down on the table and review and talk urgently to make this sport better.
"What happened this season is something I have never seen in my life. They have to sit and analyse why this amount of things happen, not [only] in Manchester City games, but in all the games."
As frustrating as it is for a game to be decided by an incorrect call, at least work is being done to improve the qualify of refereeing. Video technology will be introduced in the FA Cup next season.
But what Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey did during a World Cup qualifier has only served to hurt the reputation of our game’s officials.
FIFA have banned Lamptey for life after he was found guilty of unlawfully influencing the outcome of a game.
Controversial penalty decision
The match in question was South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal in November 2016. Lamptey awarded South Africa a penalty for a ‘handball’ that actually struck Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly’s knee.
Video: Lamptey gives South Africa a penalty
It could prove very decisive
The decision proved influential. South African scored from the resulting spot-kick to make it 1-0, and went on to record a 2-1 victory.
Lamptey’s mistake could be decisive in the race to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia. Senegal sit third in Group D, a point behind South Africa and Burkina Faso, who lead the way via their better goal differential.
FIFA have banned the Ghanian from “taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life.”
Read the full statement below.
Lamptey can appeal to FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.