Premier League referee Michael Oliver, who was scheduled to hold the huge clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, had nothing to say about the fixture’s postponement.
A few hundred home fans were given access to the pitch before kick-off in a protest against the club’s ownership, a move that caused the game to be delayed and later suspended.
The decision to suspend the match was made jointly by Liverpool, Man United, GM Police et al., With a confused Oliver following – like the rest of us – from the outside.
In his latest column for CaughtOffside, former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey explained that his former colleague would not have said anything about the call to suspend the game.
“That the game was not played under the circumstances was the right decision, and it is interesting to note the role of a referee in such a situation,“He thought.
“Although he will have been briefed and heard all the time, the official, Michael Oliver, would have had no input to expose Manchester United vs Liverpool at all.
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“Quite simply, decisions will be made between the police, the match manager, the security officer of Manchester United Football Club, Trafford Borough Council and the Premier League.
“In these rare types of situations, the judge is controlled by all these bodies.”
Interesting insights from Halsey – at least – as down in 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 suitable for the purpose.