We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive West Ham United columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium.

Keith Hackett has backed up West Ham vice-chairman Karren Bady and taken aim at the PGMOL for the decline in Premier League refereeing standards.

Fabian Balbuena’s red card against Chelsea on April 24 that was later rescinded was the latest incident that drew the ire of Brady, who used her Sun column to unload on the officials and call them the “worst” bunch she has ever seen in the Premier League.

She also claimed Tomas Soucek’s red card against Fulham in January, a decision that was also overturned, amounted to “defamation” against the Czech’s character.

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Former Premier League referee Hackett is in agreement with Brady about refereeing standards and he wants the PGMOL to do something about it.

“The standard is much lower than it used to be for referees,” Hackett told West Ham Zone.

“The referees have got to recognise it’s their responsibility, they carry the can.

“Brady’s absolutely 100% correct. I support very strongly what she is saying, it’s what I’ve been saying over several years about the declining standards in refereeing.

“If the PGMOL are happy with the standard of refereeing at the moment then I really shudder because it’s not just me saying it…

“Karren Brady is a very clever person who has been in football for many years and opened doors and broke down a lot of barriers.

“What she’s saying is two of her players, I’ve noticed more, have been dismissed and it’s had an effect on the outcome of the result of the game which puts at risk, at some point, to some clubs retaining their position in the Premier League.

“These are big decisions to actually say ‘you’re off’.

“The Balbuena red card was at a critical point in the game, West Ham were looking comfortable so on that note, to actually emphasis the point of accountability in the middle of the week, the referee and the var must have seen very clearly they have made a mistake with this red card incident.”

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Hackett and Brady have been in and around the Premier League for a long time, so it must be extremely bad for them to label this current crop of referees as the worst they have witnessed.

Who could blame them after some of the decisions we’ve seen recently.

We can’t choose which one is worse out of Soucek’s and Balbuena’s, they were both horrendous calls that could have cost us dearly.

The PGMOL clearly need to address this pressing issue as a matter of urgency before the game lurches into its next farcical controversy.

Otherwise incidents likes Soucek’s and Balbuena’s will become weekly features to be pulled apart by managers and the media.

Fingers crossed we’re not on the receiving end of any more shockers that could wreck our Champions League hopes.

In other West Ham news, Irons want to sign ‘Sensational’ Player of Season with 30 goals/assists in current campaign.

Be sure to follow West Ham Zone on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on the Hammers and more exclusive interviews with Frank McAvennie.

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