Arsenal’s call for urgent action on the standards of refereeing in the Premier League is “dangerous”, says pundit Gary Neville.
Arteta said the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s winner was “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.
“I thought Arsenal’s statement was really poor,” Neville told Sky Sports.
Three areas around Gordon’s goal were checked by Sunday’s video assistant referee (VAR) – to see if the ball went out of play in the build-up, if there was a foul and if there was an offside – with all coming back in Newcastle’s favour.
Arsenal said the refereeing was “unacceptable”, adding players, coaches and supporters all “deserve better”.
The club’s statement followed Liverpool’s anger towards PGMOL, the governing body for referees, after the VAR failed to overturn an incorrect decision to disallow a Luis Diaz goal in their defeat by Tottenham in September.
Liverpool claimed “sporting integrity has been undermined” by the failure.
Wolves boss Gary O’Neil previously said he has “given up on referees” and claimed “we’re in a crazy place” following the latest in a string of controversial decisions against his side after they conceded from a late penalty in injury time to lose at Sheffield United.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, former Manchester United and England defender Neville added: “Liverpool made a shocking go on PGMOL a couple of weeks ago at Spurs and we knew it was wrong.
“They were hard done by for Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal. The day after Liverpool wrote their statement mentioning ‘sporting integrity’ and looking at all options and suggested a replay.
“I thought it was quite dangerous. Arsenal’s statement was quite dangerous too.”
Neville also pointed out that Premier League clubs had signed up to a new ‘behavioural chart’ at the start of the season.
Last month, the International Football Association Board (Ifab) said there were no plans to broadcast live VAR communication because it would be too “chaotic” to listen to and potentially create “an unsafe environment for referees”.
PGMOL has not commented publicly on Arteta and Arsenal’s criticism, but Neville says the Premier League must respond and protect its referees.
He added: “Clubs should behave better in these circumstances and I am looking to the Premier League now, and particularly the leadership, because the reality is they’ve got to start protecting referees.
“At the very beginning, I was very excited about the new transparency and apologies to managers that the referees were communicating to the clubs.
“This is uncharted territory with the ideas of these letters being written. Arsenal as an institution or a football club with massive history, they should behave better. They will feel disappointed in a few years’ time whoever sanctioned that statement.”
‘You have to accept the referee’s decision’
Neville’s comments preceded Chelsea’s 4-1 win at nine-man Tottenham in another game where VAR controversy dominated.
Five goals were scored and another five were disallowed, while Spurs defenders Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie were sent off.
Defeat for Tottenham was their first in the Premier League this season, but manager Ange Postecoglou, who also received a yellow card on the bench, said the referee’s decision is final.
“You have to accept the referee’s decision, that is how I grew up,” said Postecoglou.
“This constant erosion of the referee’s authority is where the game is going – they are not going to have any authority. We are going to be under the control of someone with a TV screen a few miles away.
“The decision is the decision. In 26 years I have had plenty of bad decisions, I have had plenty fall in my favour. It is what it is.
“There will be a forensic study of every decision out there, I think that is the way the game is going and I don’t like it. If you look at all that standing around we did today, maybe people enjoy that sort of thing but I’d rather see us playing football.”
‘The reaction was so overboard’
Neville’s comments were echoed by former Chelsea forward Chris Sutton, who said Arteta and Arsenal’s response had not helped the situation.
“I just think [Arteta’s] reaction was so overboard, so over the top because while I thought the push was a foul, I can still see to some extent the other side of the argument,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.
“That’s where I think he was wrong. I can see why he was upset with that, just like I can see another manager who should be upset this season, Gary O’Neil, who has been wronged time after time after time.
“There has been inconsistency this season and it is frustrating a lot of managers.
“We saw Klopp rightly frustrated at the Diaz goal at Tottenham but the response now from the actual clubs coming out with this big public backing and panning the PGMOL, it’s not helping is it?”
Also speaking on Monday Night Club, former England captain Steph Houghton said “inconsistency is a big problem” but added Arteta’s reaction was “a little bit over the top”.
She said: “You are right to be angry at the decision but the way it is worded has a lack of calmness.”