Southgate worried by England refereeing precedent and demands 'clarity' at World Cup

Getty Images

Gareth Southgate is worried and demanded "clarity" after expressing concerns England could fall foul to refereeing decisions after a pre-World Cup briefing.

FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina used an example clip of Kalvin Phillips blocking an opponent at a free-kick to help create space for Harry Maguire to score in last year's 5-0 win over Albania.

The video was used to brief referees, competing nations and the media, on how to spot foul play from set-piece situations and seemingly worked against England in Monday's 6-2 thrashing of Iran.

Maguire appeared to be dragged down by Iran's Rouzbeh Cheshmi in the opening stages, with the referee nor the VAR intervening, before John Stones conceded a late penalty for similar on Mehdi Taremi.

Southgate admitted he fears England may fall on the wrong side of decisions after Collina's briefing, citing concerns after a "definite penalty" on Maguire.

"What worries me is we were used in an example in the referees' video," the England manager said.

"What we were shown, the incident in the first half [with Maguire] would be a definite penalty.

"Maybe there's a shirt pull [for the Iran penalty] – we've got to be better on that – but I'm a bit worried we were the example shown.

"Then to get a decision as happened in the first half, we need some clarification really as to how it's going to be."

Southgate recalled the Football Association being able to discuss penalty decisions with match officials after England's 2-1 win over Tunisia at Russia 2018.

"It happened in Russia and we've got to have that dialogue with FIFA [again]," he added.

"We want clarity. Otherwise, we don't know where we stand. Goals are going in and we don't know whether they stand or not. The bit that worries me is we were the example shown."

England face the United States in their next Group B game on Friday before a clash with Wales four days later.