Kelly Smith insists the Women’s Super League needs full-time referees after a “blatant mistake” during Tottenham’s win over Manchester City.
Rosella Ayane’s clear handball in the build-up to Karima Taieb’s late own-goal winner sparked major controversy as Spurs stunned City 2-1 on Sunday.
The Tottenham substitute got her arms up to meet Angela Addison’s cross, deflecting it into Steph Houghton and onto the City post. It nestled in the back of the net via Taieb’s back for an 87th-minute winner which ended City’s 33-game unbeaten home run.
Former Arsenal and England forward Smith told Sky Sports News: “Manchester City played extremely well in the game. They had a number of opportunities to put the game to bed and then we’re talking about a handball and a mistake – a blatant mistake – that’s missed by the referee.
“We’ve got to educate the referees. We want full-time referees. Part-time referees working in a fully-professional league doesn’t work. The standards of refereeing need to be better in this league, that’s a fact.”
‘VAR not the right option’
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes called for the introduction of VAR into the WSL following Beth Mead’s controversial goal in Arsenal’s 3-2 win over the reigning champions during the opening weekend.
However, it is understood the Football Association has no plans to implement video technology any time soon due to logistical issues, as the cost of installing it would be too great across the clubs at this stage of the development of the women’s game.
Some teams in the WSL who play at National League stadiums – such as West Ham at Dagenham & Redbridge – cannot accommodate VAR, and Smith does not think now is the right time for it to be introduced.
“We had the same story with the offside in the Arsenal-Chelsea game last week,” she added.
“We want to strive to have the best technology within football. I’m not sure VAR is the right option right now for this league because it is so new.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ve got to put things right.”