Marc Skinner calls for WSL referees to be made full-time professionals

Marc Skinner felt Man Utd were denied two 'stonewall' penalties in WSL defeat to Chelsea
Marc Skinner felt Man Utd were denied two 'stonewall' penalties in WSL defeat to Chelsea / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner has called for WSL referees to be made full-time professionals, having seen his team not awarded two strong penalty claims during their narrow 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in a top of the table clash on Sunday.

Sam Kerr scored the only goal of the game for the reigning champions, who also put in a solid defensive performance to keep United out.

But the contest could so easily have swung on potential penalties that weren’t given, with Nikita Parris clipped from behind by Kadeisha Buchanan and Ona Batlle clattered by Jess Carter.

Skinner was visibly angry immediately after the final whistle and, by his own admission was then in a ‘mood’ for the next couple of days because he thought his team performed well enough overall to get something from the game.

Asked on Wednesday whether women’s football needs a better standard of officiating or access to technology to help referees, the United boss said: “I think it’s both really.”

Even though PGMOL, the body that oversees Premier League refereeing, assumed control of WSL officials last season, referees in the women’s top flight are not full-time. They have access to the same support and facilities as Premier League and EFL officials but balance refereeing with others jobs. The disappointing part is that they are refereeing in a league that has been fully professional – wearing that as a badge of honour - since 2018.

“We need to support the referees in being full-time and getting paid to really look after their craft because we’re moving to a professional model and yet our refereeing isn’t. I think technologies, especially even the lite versions, can help support decisions,” Skinner said.

“But it’s frustrating. The reality is, in big games you need people to make big calls and we didn’t get them on Sunday. I think any support we can give – even if the clubs review what support we can give as well to the financial aspects – should be looked at. We should be making our officials full-time as the minimum and then looking to add technology around it.”

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