Jermaine Jenas apologises for ‘disgraceful’ X-rated referee rant

Under fire: Jermaine Jenas has been slammed for his comments about referee Robert Jones  (PA)
Under fire: Jermaine Jenas has been slammed for his comments about referee Robert Jones (PA)

BBC pundit and ex-England international Jermaine Jenas has apologised for calling a referee a “sh**house” less than two months after heading up a campaign to tackle the abuse of referees.

Jenas faced widespread criticism for the post made on X, formerly Twitter, during Sunday’s north London derby, which he is yet to delete.

Referee Robert Jones was the target for awarding Arsenal a penalty for Cristian Romero’s handball.

“Complete sh**house off [sic] a referee! They’re all ruining our game!” the One Show presenter and Match of the Day pundit wrote.

More than 24 hours later, Jenas has apologised, insisting emotions got the better of him. He posted: "I hold my hands up, I got it wrong yesterday. I should know, more than most, the responsibility we have as fans, players and pundits and the impact our words online can have as it's an area I've been vocal in.

"My emotions got the better of me and I apologise to The FA and to all match officials."

It was only last month that Jenas, 40, led the ‘Love Football, Protect The Game’ campaign, which was endorsed by the Premier League, FA, EFL, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and other football organisations.

Featuring in a video for the campaign, the former Tottenham midfielder said at the time: “Whether out on the pitch, in the stands, or on the sidelines, we have all got to do better at all levels. No more surrounding refs, no more abuse. Let’s make sure that this season is different. Let’s protect the game.”

Speaking to The Times about Jenas’s social media post, the chief executive of the referees charity Ref Support UK, Martin Cassidy, said: “This was really disgraceful by Jermaine Jenas. One week he is being paid by the FA and other football bodies to front a campaign against the abuse of referees, the next he is posting abusive messages about a referee.

“This kind of thing ends up with what we saw happened to Anthony Taylor last season, when his family was harassed at the airport after he was criticised by Jose Mourinho after the Europa League final.”