WSL ‘priority’ must be ‘to raise the bar’, says Manchester City captain Steph Houghton

Manchester City captain Steph Houghton has said the Women’s Super League must prioritize raising the level of referees.

City suffered their first home league loss since 2018 as they were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham on Sunday, but the winning goal was controversial.

Angela Addison shot the ball into the box and Rosella Ayane clearly handled before it was deflected by Houghton and then goalkeeper Karima Benameur. With the WSL not using VAR or goal-line technology, the decision was made by referee Abigail Byrne, who left it in place. .

“Obviously being on the other side of a refereeing decision that cost us a draw, or a point, or the potential for us to win a game and [to] ending up being a defeat is not pleasant to take when it [the handball] was pretty obvious, ”said the defender.

“I think the way our game has gone over the last few years in terms of professionalism, the fact that we train every day, the grounds we play on, the intensity with which we play, it is just that we have a fair plan for a higher level arbitration.

“The priority for me now is to raise the level of officiating that we have in every game.”

This is not the first incident this season that has seen a call for more refereeing.

A ghost goal from Reading’s Brooke Chaplen would have seen her side equalize against Manchester United, instead they lost 2-0. And the Arsenal winner against Chelsea, scored by Beth Mead, in their 3-2 thriller was clearly offside.

Houghton added, “For me to make this game even better we can try to increase [refereeing standards] as much as we can.

“It’s not because I was involved in an incident, there have been a couple of incidents in the last few weeks in WSL that haven’t been up to the players’ level, you’d probably expect that. .

“In terms of VAR, we have to keep that in mind and above all, we have to make sure we have the best referees possible.”

Houghton’s side, currently seventh in the WSL, will be next in action in the league on September 26 when they face Arsenal.

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