Premier League referee Michael Oliver, who was scheduled to officiate the blockbuster clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday had no say in the fixture’s postponement.
A few hundred home fans gained access to the pitch prior to kick-off in a protest against the club’s ownership, a move which got the game delayed and later suspended.
The decision to call off the match was made jointly by Liverpool, Man United, GM Police et al., with a confused Oliver watching along – like the rest of us – on the outside.
In his latest column for CaughtOffside, Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey explained his former colleague would have had no say in the call to suspend the game.
“That the game was not played in the circumstances was the right decision, and it is interesting to note a referee’s role in such a situation,” he mused.
“Though he will have been briefed and consulted throughout, the official, Michael Oliver, will have had no input into postponing the Manchester United vs Liverpool game whatsoever.
“Very simply, any decisions would be made between the police, the match commander, the safety officer of Manchester United Football Club, Trafford Borough Council and the Premier League.
“In these rare types of situations, the referee is governed by all of those bodies.”
Interesting insight from Halsey – at the very least – as lower down the football pyramid the match officials almost act as representatives of the governing bodies and make some calls independently, such as checking if a pitch is fit for purpose.