Refereeing model unfit for purpose
The referee, the match official and his merry band of assistants, the fourth official, the referees’ assessor … the list goes on. Are we just moving into a weekly abyss where the major talking points of any given football match are dictated by the referee? It’s gone beyond a joke that, in 2012, we have no technology on the field of play.
The clamour for it over the years has been bandied around, passed back and forward and around again through the corridors of Fifa only to be annulled and put back in its box by the powers that be that don’t want to see their hold on the game changed. Well, what about the very lifeblood of the game?
Yes, the fans; the very same fans who pay good money week in, week out to see their football teams, to follow them mindfully over land and sea and beyond to see their games ruined by refereeing decisions that have been proved afterwards to be wrong. Something has to give, either through technology or integrity.
We have passed the point of no return, the axe is falling and the clamour gets louder every week for the man in black to speak to the media or the manager or both after every game. How can people in a black outfit make decisions on a whim that can change football matches and not be questioned?
If you are a prime minister, you are questioned; if you are a councillor, you are questioned. If you write some tattle on social media networks, you are questioned. So why can’t a referee, whose decisions change games and lives, not be answerable?
Since the advent of television and cameras being allowed willy-nilly access to the field of play, the game has changed. The stakes are much higher. But still the 1800s way of doing things, on one man’s decision, has remained the same.
We all know that referees need help and that one, two, three, four or even five men cannot make a decision that is correct. TV judges can help. Only rarely do you see bad decisions being given the nod in cricket or rugby because their officials have gone the sensible route and use technology to help their employees, without changing the laws and rules of their sport. But the football authorities continue to swerve any clamour for change in the beautiful game.
The powers that be use TV evidence to charge players after the game but use everything in their power not to change things that occur during a match. This is double standards and it has to end soon. We can blame the players for failing to help the referee but you have to look at the laws of the game that have been meddled with incessantly over the years while masking over the real issue – that the 140-year-old model on refereeing is unfit for purpose in the modern game.