It is no longer a news that English football will be without a referee at World Cup in Russia for the first time in eighty years. 

  This development has been a degrading one on the standard of English Football considering the fact that it had been well represented by game officials in international tournaments in time past. 

Fifa has formally selected its 36 officials for the tournament in Russia but, with Mark Clattenburg having been the only Briton on the long list that was collated two  years ago, there was no prospect of a representative from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Clattenburg, who refereed the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France, left his job with the Premier League last year to become Saudi Arabia’s new head of referees and so forfeited his place.

The Football Association had tried to replace him but the request was rejected and there are also no British officials among the assistant referees, with the new video assistant referees (VAR) to be chosen from the pool of officials at the tournament.

   There has been a British official at every World Cup since the Second World War, with Howard Webb refereeing the 2010. In total three English referees have taken charge of the World Cup final – a tally that is equalled only by Italy.

 William Ling officiated West Germany’s surprise victory over Hungary in 1954 and Jack Taylor refereed West Germany’s 2-1 win over the Netherlands in 1974 before Webb oversaw Andrés Iniesta’s extra-time goal for Spain in South Africa.

 The quality of elite refereeing in England has been fiercely criticised in recent times , with Arsene Wenger admiting that there has been no improvement since they became professional. “We cannot say a word against it because they’re untouchable - that is the truth,” said Wenger.

Keith Hackett, the former referees’ chief, told The Telegraph that the absence of a British World Cup referee was “symptomatic of an ageing group of referees and a drop in the overall level”.

He said: “We have lost people like Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg. They are difficult to replace. I also think the existing select group of referees are not challenged enough, even when they are struggling to maintain form. It is not that there is a shortage of referees but a road block and I would like to see more people who are doing well at the Select Group 2 level being given a chance.”

  In recent times English referees have not been the best they have been known to be and it is no surprise that there will not be a sole representative at the World Cup. Inconsistency has been the order of the day for the referees with their controversial decision changing the outcome of games. Some decisions in recent times have not gone down well with football coaches and supporters. Instances like the Oxlade Chamberlain and Gibbs incident; Andre Marriner sent off Gibbs instead of Oxlade. Oxlade committed the offense, but genius Marriner sent Gibbs to take the shower. I believe he didn't even consult his assistant. However if he did and still did that then it's a poorest of the poor decisions ever.

He is still a referee in Premier League and has not been demoted to championship, someone had quoted saying that the referees get demoted. 

Recently, Man utd vs Bournemouth match Kevin Friend had already booked Bournemouth player Surman(he didn't deserve it). But at the close of first half Surman pushed Zlatan and he was booked again to which technically he should have been gone by then to take a shower. Unfortunately, Kevin Friend was absent minded. He was reminded by United players that it was his second booking and after 2 minutes or so he realised and pulled out red card to make it official for Surman.

 Another controversial moment that took place was during Monday Night Football between West Ham and Huddersfield. Sometime during the match, defender Winston Reid practically kicked opposing striker, Steve Mounie in the face. Even pundit, Gary Neville, criticize the referee's decision to keep Reid on the pitch. 

Pitifully, the refereeing decisions have changed things for the teams either by getting the whole three points or losing it in a football game. 

 Now that their decisions have been held responsible by not having a sole representative at the Mundial in Russia, it is time Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) started reviewing every referee's performance so as to ensure consistency and English referees will be top notch that they will not be snubbed for future Tournaments

 A stitch in time saves Nine like they say.

©️Oladuji Tofunmi