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AS Monaco: What’s happening with Ligue 1 referees this season?

AS Monaco

AS Monaco were once again the victims of questionable refereeing decisions against Troyes (2-4), conceding their second defeat of the season in five matches. Paul Mitchell and Philippe Clement have taken to the field to express their frustration and disbelief at these repeated injustices.

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Five matches. Three red cards. Three penalties conceded. It would seem that Philippe Clement’s men have become a team of “Bad Boys” in one inter-season, like certain English teams of the nineties. However, the Monegasques do not seem to be any more aggressive in regaining possession of the ball than in previous seasons.

But this season, in Ligue 1, referees have taken a harder line, as shown by this statistic on the evening of the third day: sixteen red cards were handed out during the thirty matches played. This is far more than average over the last fifteen years. 

Paul Mitchell speaks out

It’s a clampdown that has had a major impact on AS Monaco’s start to the season and one that is starting to seriously irritate the club’s management. In the match against Troyes on Wednesday night, Guillermo Maripan lived through a nightmare after he was judged guilty of a questionable foul in the penalty area and then received a second caution at the end of the first half, again harshly.

Faced with this lack of consistency in refereeing decisions, sports director Paul Mitchell has spoken out at a time when AS Monaco are 16th in the table with just five points from five games.

SEE ALSO : Shorthanded AS Monaco suffer defeat vs. Troyes

“We feel we have to deal with a lot of unfavourable decisions,” lamented Paul Mitchell in the mixed zone after the game. “Two red cards out of the last four games are up for debate, a disputed penalty… All I’m asking for is for everyone to be refereed in the same way.”

Among the injustices, on the second match day, Steve Mandanda’s contentious punch could have merited a red card, as was judged the case for Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais) in the first match day against AC Ajaccio. These overlooked red cards are in addition to the penalties that have also been neglected. Breel Emobolo has witnessed this first-hand this season, having been shoved twice in the penalty area.

Consequences for the next matches?

“At a key moment in the game there is this red card against us, while in the second half Breel Embolo is held back in the box and we should have benefitted from a penalty. If there was a penalty for the move involving Guillermo Maripan, there should also be a penalty for the move involving Embolo. Again, we are asking for consistency and fairness.”

The ASM sports director admitted he had gone even further by writing directly to the French Football Federation. “We also said it in the press conference, we are open to discussion and exchange. Some of us are former players, others have been involved in football for a very long time and we can undoubtedly make our contribution. Obviously, when there are decisions like tonight’s against us, we can only be disappointed and unhappy.”

Philippe Clement also reacted to this harsh treatment, which could have consequences in the next few games. When he sets foot in future matches, the latest refereeing decisions could influence Youssouf Fofana’s sponsors.

“As a coach, it’s important to always explain things to my players. But after the last few weeks, I can’t. I have a question for you: does anyone honestly think that Guillermo Maripan is at fault? For that move we conceded a penalty and got a yellow card. That changes the course of the game.”