Friedel laments refereeing
Brad Friedel believes referees are afraid to penalise the big clubs following Aston Villa's FA Cup exit.
Last Updated: 12/04/10 11:43am
Brad Friedel believes English referees are afraid to penalise the big clubs following Aston Villa's FA Cup exit.
The American shot-stopper was again on the losing side at Wembley as Chelsea ended Villa's dreams by dumping them out at the semi-final stage.
The Villans were beaten 3-0 on Saturday after official Howard Webb turned down Gabriel Agbonlahor's appeals for a penalty when he was upended by John Obi Mikel and then failed to give John Terry his marching orders for a bad tackle on James Milner.
The weekend result left another bitter taste in the mouth for manager Martin O'Neill, whose side were also on the receiving end of some rough justice in February's Carling Cup final defeat to Manchester United
O'Neill made a complaint six weeks ago about Phil Dowd when he awarded Villa a penalty for United defender Nemanja Vidic's foul on Agbonlahor but did not send him off and the Northern Irishman will also make his feelings known about Webb.
And Friedel has accused two of the Premier League's top referees of favouring the leading teams.
"We played so well and again we probably feel hard-done-by with a refereeing decision," said the 38-year-old goalkeeper.
"It makes you wonder if the referees have a hard time making decisions against the big teams on the big stage.
"It's the second time we've been here and the second refereeing decision that's gone against us."
O'Neill confirmed he will be contacting Premier League referees' chief Mike Riley over Webb, who will be England's refereeing representative at the World Cup.
"I spoke to Mike Riley some weeks ago over the decision in the Carling Cup final," said the Villa boss. "He was fair and he sympathised with my plight. And I'm sure he will sympathise with my plight on Monday.
"I really do hate to malign referees, it's an incredibly difficult job . But that decision on Saturday was game-changing. I don't know why people don't just apply the laws .
"This is not heat of the moment from me, it was a poor decision. When Riley studies it, he'll have to ask himself some important questions.
"The referee has chosen to ignore it because of the possible consequences. The referee bottled it against United and we have had the same here."