Crouch questions penalty rule

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Peter Crouch expects the new guidelines issued to referees regarding pulling and pushing inside the area to become farcical, after seeing two questionable penalties awarded in Stoke's 4-1 loss to Manchester City on the weekend.

Referee Mike Dean first awarded City a penalty, on 27 minutes, when Ryan Shawcross was penalized for holding Nicolas Otamendi before Raheem Sterling's was adjudged to have blocked off Shawcross in the area, two minutes into the second half.

The new measure is designed to limit illegal contact inside the box ahead of set-pieces, but as with any new rule implemented, Crouch feels there is room for it to be harshly implemented.

He said: "They [the referees] came in at the start of the season and said that there were going to be more penalties this year.

"I think Ryan was pulled up in the media a few times about holding and stuff like that. Obviously, the referee was dying to give that today. Then it looked like he evened things up to be honest.

"If you’re going to give penalties away like that there are going to be a lot of penalties and people will be asking for consistency. I haven’t seen them back but if they’re penalties then you’re going to be giving two or three a game and it’s going to be a farce."

He added: "There’s going to be no pulling or holding because if you do it’s a penalty. You’d rather let him [the opposition player] have a header, which sounds ridiculous but that’s the way the game seems to be going.

"It’s a contact sport but obviously you’re just going to have to keep your arms down and get in their face with your body. It’s just something we’re going to have to learn to adapt to."

Crouch's comments were echoed by boss Mark Hughes in his call for consistency.

He explained: "Let’s hope that now every time Mike Dean referees he referees in the same manner. My experience is that there is a purge for three or four weeks and then everyone reverts to type."

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