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Home » Blog » peter walton exclusive interview kane didnt get leniency from pl refs because he is england captain where else is rice going to put his arms arteta starting to realise he needs to temper

Peter Walton Exclusive Interview: Kane didn’t get leniency from PL refs because he is England captain; Arteta starting to realise he needs to temper his behaviour

Peter Walton
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In an exclusive interview with, former Premier League referee Peter Walton provides his opinion on refereeing decisions for the opening weekend of English top flight football.

Walton also explains that Kane wasn’t given leniency by Premier League referees for being the England Captain and expects the no.9 to get the same amount of decisions awarded to him in the Bundesliga.

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Interview Highlights:

  • Kane didn’t get leniency from PL refs because he is England captain
  • Where else is Rice going to put his arms?
  • Arteta starting to realise he needs to temper his behaviour
  • Was Jackson jumping like a star? No – Referee right to not give Jackson handball
  • I’d give Mike Dean’s Soccer Saturday debut 7/10


Full Transcript

Question: Fans laughed at Harry Kane struggling to communicate with the German referee. Will he see a big drop off in decisions that go his way now he’s playing abroad? 

Peter Walton: “Let me just say that if you become an international referee then your refereeing language is always English and that’s a directive from FIFA. So every international referee has to have a sort of pigeon understanding of English. That’s how it’s conducted. But I refereed many foreign players in the Premier League who didn’t speak English and I clearly didn’t speak their mother tongue either. So you referee on body language, you referee on facial expressions, you referee on arm movements and gestures. Look, I’m sure there’ve been a number of players who have cursed me in their mother tongue and I haven’t a clue what they’re saying and if they’re smiling at me, I’m thinking they’re being polite. But ultimately if it becomes personal, if it becomes overtly recognisable then as a referee you deal with it. Harry Kane going to Germany, the referees will understand Harry Kane’s body language and his feelings and I think Harry will understand the referee because the majority will speak pigeon English.

“In terms of getting less decisions in his favour, you don’t pay £100m pounds for a player who is not in the midst of all the action. Harry was in a team at Spurs who, whilst they weren’t competing for the title, were competing for European spots for sure. they’re a fairly successful team. But he stood out and the standout player always attracts the attention. Because he was the England captain, people put two and two together and thought the referees were being lenient towards him. Well, look, I’m going to say this now. They weren’t being lenient towards him. But it was just because of his playing and his skill in his technique that he was being rewarded for his skill there in terms of getting into those positions. In Germany, he’s going to be playing for an extremely successful team in Bayern Munich and I expect him to get as many decisions in his favour in the Bundesliga as he did in the Premier League because again he’s playing for a team who will be on the front foot and Harry will be on the front foot.”

Question: Mikel Arteta was again caught harassing the fourth official during time added on, a new rule which managers need to adapt to. Does Arteta need reigning in already?

Peter Walton: “I think Mikel has realised already because I think he said in a quote that he needs to temper his behaviour on the touchline and he’s recognised this, but again it’s down to emotions. I think the authorities have lapsed in the past in dealing with this and now we’ve reached a position where it’s difficult for individuals to reel back because it’s been the norm. What we need to do is to make sure that we’re consistent with our approach and that it doesn’t become the norm. Mikel, as with a number of managers on Saturday, they get frustrated. But the authorities have said that they’ll clamp down and whilst we have this clamp down, it will send that message out. What we don’t want to see happening is in two months’ time is Arteta again getting frustrated and showing his emotions and not being dealt with. That’s the important thing. We’ll watch this space, but ultimately I think even in the first week the managers collectively will realise that they’re under scrutiny as well.

Question: Was Steve Cooper wrong to slam Michael Oliver over not checking with VAR possible Declan Rice handball?

Peter Walton: “I heard the comments by Steve Cooper and he questioned it, rather than “slamming” it, as he has the right to question it and make people aware of it. Yes the ball did strike the arm, you can’t deny that. The referee needs to have a look to see if the arm or the hand is in a natural position for that phase of play. That’s all we need to do nowadays with hand ball. We complicate this all far too often. The referee and VAR came to the decision that for elevation purposes Declan Rice had his arm in a natural position. The arm wasn’t above the shoulder so he wasn’t jumping over with his arms up and the ball came from no more than a yard away from him and that was a natural position for his arm. The issue we have of course is that hand ball interpretation is slightly different depending on what competition you are actually taking part in. In Europe for the Champions League, we may well see that it is given as a hand ball and that’s where the authorities need to come together collectively to say this is our interpretation irrespective of the competition that you’re playing in. That’s what confuses fans, that’s what confuses pundits and of course players. But for Saturday’s purposes in the Premier League that wasn’t a hand ball because the arm was in a natural position. In fact, where else is Declan Rice going to put his arms?”

Question: Were Chelsea lucky to get away without Nicolas Jackson conceding a penalty for handball? His hand was in an unnatural position when it hit him and the ball had travelled a long way. 

Peter Walton: “Again I can’t deny that the ball did strike the arm but the referee needs to factor in other things. Natural position, he’s jumping again. He’s jumping with his arms there, but by being in that position, was he making the area for the ball to strike bigger? So in other words, was he jumping like a star? No, he wasn’t. The arm was actually in the same area as his torso. In fact if you take the arm away the ball is going to strike his chest.

he wasn’t making himself unnaturally bigger and that’s an important factor. Did he gain anything? No he didn’t, so it was the right decision for me, even though the ball had travelled some distance.”

Question: Did you catch any of Mike Dean’s first appearance on Soccer Saturday? This weekend and how did you rate his performance?

Peter Walton: Yes I did. He’s got to get a jacket that fits him! That’s one thing for sure. Mike had a really nice introduction, because Saturday’s games didn’t really throw up too many contentious decisions or too many talking points, which is good for the game of course because that means we’re talking about players and goals and managers rather than referees. But he already displayed some of his quick wit that I mentioned before and I think for a debut he probably scores a 7 out of 10. But when the pressure is on, we’ll see how we scores then. So if he just sorts his wardrobe out and I think he’s on a good ‘un there.

Peter Walton

Peter Walton is a former English Premier League referee. He officiated his first Football League match in 1986 and quickly established himself as a competent and composed referee. His big break came in 2003 when he was promoted to the prestigious Premier League referee panel. Walton's career achievements and highlights include officiating the 2005 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester United and major UEFA competitions and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He played a pivotal part in the implementation of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the Premier League. Since retiring from active refereeing in 2012, Peter Walton worked as a referee analyst for BT Sport's coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

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