EMMA HAYES believes refs in the Women’s Super League must be protected — not slaughtered.
The Chelsea boss has defended league officials following her team’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday thanks to a controversial penalty.
But Reds boss Casey Stoney slammed Jack Packman — the third replacement referee that day after two others pulled out.
WSL officials are appointed from a pool of National League refs.
The highest-ranked female referee, Rebecca Welch, juggles a 30-hour week in the NHS with officiating in the top tier of women’s football.
Hayes, who takes the Blues to Birmingham City tomorrow, said: “It’s easy to wallop the officials.
“They’re paid £120 a game. Make them full-time, stop having a go.
“As clubs, we need to put money into the issue.
“Conference refs aren’t good enough, they should be Championship level and make them full-time. Why are we half-arseing it?”
Meanwhile, ex-England striker Eni Aluko, 32, is leaving Juventus.