• Premier League

Rodgers stands by referee comments

ESPN staff
January 10, 2014
Brendan Rodgers described the officiating in Liverpool's defeat at Manchester City as "horrendous" © Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers insists he has no regrets over comments made about referee Lee Mason that landed him with a fine of £8,000.

The Football Association handed out the fine on Thursday after Rodgers accepted a misconduct charge. Rodgers described Mason's performance during Liverpool's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester City on Boxing Day as "horrendous", and also argued that the Bolton-based referee lived too close to Manchester to be given the game.

The Liverpool manager was angry that Mason wrongly ruled out a first-half Raheem Sterling goal for offside, while he also believed the referee should have awarded a penalty late on after a challenge by Joleon Lescott on Luis Suarez.

Rodgers was deemed to have breached FA rule E3 (1), which relates to any comments that question a referee's integrity or imply bias.

Asked if he had any regrets about his comments, he said: "No. The only reason I didn't challenge it [the charge] was because I didn't want anything getting in the way of what we're trying to do here. It would just have prolonged the issue. All I want is for us to be focused on our football."

Rodgers insists that he never intended to question Mason's integrity, and that he was merely confused by the decision to give the game to a referee from Bolton, which is 16 miles from City's Etihad Stadium.

He added: "My feeling hasn't changed. I obviously accept the punishment that comes. I'm not one who is the enemy to officials. My history will show that. Since I've been in the game, I've always supported and encouraged officials. My behaviour towards officials and towards the authorities has always been as such.

"Of course I was disappointed after the game. I was disappointed with the outcome, considering my history, as all I was doing was speaking honestly. In no way was I ever questioning the integrity of the referee. I was talking about the logic. And I think facts and other appointments would prove me right, I'm sure."

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