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Hughes frustrated by application of the game's laws

Following his side’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle on Boxing Day, Stoke City boss Mark Hughes was unable to contain his irritation at the performance of referee Martin Atkinson.


Atkinson made a number of decisions that infuriated Hughes, including showing red cards to Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson, and awarding a penalty for the latter’s foul on Loic Remy.


“The ref will tell you he’s given a penalty for a foul in the penalty area, but I didn’t see any foul,” said Hughes after the game. “Or any penalty area. What’s a penalty area? You’ll have to ask Mr. Atkinson that.” 


“Some might argue that [Wilson] denied a clear goalscoring opportunity when he dragged back Rémy just as he was about to shoot,” Hughes continued. “Sure, there’s a clear goalscoring opportunity there that he’s denied, but that’s not a sending off in my book.”


“And Whelan getting the red for two yellow cards is ridiculous. Who decides how many yellow cards should make a red card? Maybe you should ask Mr. Atkinson, because that’s cost us today.”


Hughes himself was sent to the stands by Atkinson for kicking a ball onto the pitch, another decision that left him unimpressed.


“The referee’s decided that, according to the laws of the game, I have to go and sit in the stands, which I thought was outrageous. Laws of the game this, laws of the game that. He’s applied the laws of the game throughout the 90 minutes, and frankly that’s cost us any chance of victory.


“I thought we probably deserved a draw, but Mr Atkinson seems to think that just because Newcastle scored five times as many goals as we did, they get the three points. You’ll have to ask him why.”


Hughes also pledged to continue his fight against the laws of football and their application by referees like Atkinson. “I made it a point of pride to ignore the rules of football throughout my playing career, and there’s a fine tradition of doing just that at Stoke too,” he concluded. “All we ask for from referees is inconsistency.”

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