The Referee’s a…

by Teflon

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
 

A ref these days is hard to find

We’ve all sung it, we’ve all sat there saying “I could do better” & “the reason we lost that game was because of the ref” I’ll admit, I do it every week!

Thinking back, Can anyone remember Pierluigi Collina? Or David Ellery? These were at one time the world’s finest referees. They took charge, and controlled a game! But these days who do we have? Stuart Atwell (Phantom goal at Watford), Martin “it’s not a penalty!” Atkinson, Mike Riley and Steve Bennett… None of these are even close to the class that Ellery or Collina was!

The FA does have a few good referees on its books, namely Howard Webb, but even he was sent home early from the last European Championships for giving a very controversial penalty in the last minute of a game. He’s not the one of our referees to be disgraced on the world stage.

Grahame Poll in the 2006 World Cup had a stonking game where Australia only needed a draw against Croatia to go through to the next phase. The game was full of bad decisions by Poll including 3 Yellow Cards issued to one player and then a last second goal disallowed because he blew the full time whistle as the ball crossed the line. Poll was sent home early and never lived the blunder down.

The current state of our games refereeing is a shambles!
So now come the main questions…
Why are they performing badly?
What can be changed to help referees?

Respect

The FA Respect campaign was brought in this year due to over 5000 Referees at all levels leaving the game last year. Now only the captain and the offender have the right to speak to the ref… any verbal abuse is to result in a Yellow card for descent.

This campaign started great, but then it started to dwindle as more and more players lost that respect. Even managers are hitting out at poor refereeing which surely is not setting a good example.

There is now talk of bringing in 2 extra “assistant referee’s” to stand on the goal line to see if the ball crosses the line, this is being trialed at this time in a Fifa under 19 tournament, but I have got to be honest… surely there is a better way? Rugby and Cricket use technology to help them on major issues and while some will argue it would ruin the flow of a game there are ways around that. Rugby has the system working perfectly and I think football could benefit highly form it.

There are many major talking points each week with the Premier Leagues referees, Some major questions need to be asked about the rules which effect games… including Holding in the penalty area, shirt pulling, obstruction, Goal Keeper Protection (over the top), diving and descent. All of these rules need to be reviewed. Also going back to the Fulham vs Man City game where the linesman couldn’t see the blatant hand ball in the area which was 10 yards away from him, the penalty wasn’t given due to the sun being in his eyes… but why didn’t the linesmen swap sides?

So what’s the way forward now for Refereeing? The FA will need new young blood! With the lowest numbers of new referees joining ever recorded a lot of Sunday league games are now suffering. The current referees are being promoted to make up for the lack of them in the football league, which, is making grassroots suffer. I have had to Referee 2 games this year due to no referee’s being available.

If anyone thinks they could do a better job then put your money where your mouth is… Enrol on an FA course and get out on the field on a Sunday morning. You would earn £30 for 90 minutes of running around. Leagues are crying out for more referees to join the game! You never know, you could be the next Collina! Well only if you Italian, bald and have scary eyes!

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