Saints defender José Fonte says Andre Marriner’s appointment as referee for the Newcastle game will not be a big issue – but he does believe that officials should be dropped after making major mistakes.
Marriner was at the centre of controversy last weekend, when he incorrectly sent off Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs in the Gunners’ 6-0 defeat to Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had handled the ball in his own area, as he attempted to keep a shot out of the net, but Marriner and his assistants mistakenly identified Gibbs as the culprit.
However, rather than being dropped from the Premier League rotation this week, the 43-year-old has been handed the contest between Saints and Newcastle.
Fonte understands the thinking behind that decision, but says his own view is that officials should be held more accountable.
“It is a question for debate,” he said. “Personally, my opinion is yes. If we make mistakes, we are punished. We get dropped.
“I think, obviously, some might argue that it is good, some might argue that it is not, but I personally think that they should get dropped as well and don’t referee for a couple of weeks to realise what went wrong.
“I just think when the mistake is very, very bad, you need to stop and think ‘What can I do better?’”
But Fonte does not believe what happened with Marriner last week will be a distraction tomorrow.
“I don’t think that it’s going to be a big issue,” he said.
“We know that he has a tough job to do, but I am sure he will want to be perfect on Saturday and we players need to focus on our game, so there is not much that we can say about that.
“I don’t think we are going to focus on that.”