The Referee Should Be Seen And Not Heard

by Nick Weaser

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

It’s half-time in the Merseyside derby, and once again the outcome of the match has been given an almighty helping-hand by the match officials, in this case one Martin Atkinson. In case you have missed this particular incident, Mr Atkinson decided that Jack Rodwell’s tough, but legitimate challenge, was worthy of a straight red card.

Neil Warnock said recently something that my father has long been advocating – “Referees should be seen and not heard”. Yet, as the season continues, already there has been a number of woeful decisions made by the match officials that have ruined matches that, pre-kickoff, promised to be somewhat of a spectacle.

Now, I am almost certain that Mr Atkinson will come out post-match and say that Rodwell’s tackle was high, dangerous, and could have broken Luis Suarez’s leg. However, may I draw your attention to one seemingly obvious point: The tackle DID NOT break Suarez’s leg. On the contrary, Rodwell actually won the ball, and well before he even made contact with the Liverpool striker. Therefore, by the laws of football (apparently disregard by Mr Atkinson in this moment of refereeing nonsense), that makes Jack Rodwell’s ‘leg-breaker’ a legitimate tackle, and not worthy of a yellow, let alone a straight red.

This decision by today’s match official begs the question; when will the referees realise that there is a key distinction between a tough but fair challenge, such as that of Jack Rodwell’s, and a two-footed lunge that does indeed warrant a straight red card? It is a worry that the laws of the professional game appear to be becoming ever more blurred. Please do not take tough tackling away from our wonderful national obsession.

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  • Chris

    So…today I woke up at 10am-ish absolutely hanging out of my skull. I was sick twice in the toilet but I couldn’t go back to bed – Soccer AM was about then the derby to follow. But I must admit I have slept through an awful lot of this dreadful dreadful game. And this is soley down to Martin Atkinson. Too quick are referees to send of players for going into a tackle with “excessive force” or something like that. OK, Rodwell’s studs were up, but 1) he won the ball first 2) there was very little contact with Suarez and 3) Suarez rolled around like he was on fire!

    …it’s just dawned on me. I’m typing on a blog whilst the game is on – and I can’t multi task. Oh well! I’m not missing much…cheers Mr Atkinson

  • Bill

    Are you blind or blinkered? Rodwell came in studs showing = straight red. no arguments. And the Everton so called fans are getting their club in hot water for throwing coins etc at Suarez and Bellamy when they were trying to take corners. They are bigger scum than the Manure.

  • glen

    Another match swung by a referee trying to be in the limelight. Completely ruined this derby, disgraceful and he should miss at least 5 games for this, in fact, rest of the season would not be improper punishment for such pathetic decision making.

  • Nick Weaser

    No Bill I am not blind – it was never a red card, but thank you for your entirely impartial and informed opinion. For the record that was Martin Atkinson’s 15th red card since the start of last season – the highest number of all Premiership referees.

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