Don't blame the ref
I must say I was quite disgusted to read comments attributed to Augusto Palacios, the Orlando Pirates coach, after his side’s exit from the MTN8 semifinal at the hands of SuperSport United.
He attributed it in part to referee Robert Smith. The referee red-carded Benni McCarthy for a scuffle with SuperSport United winger Franklin Cale in the first half.
Palacios said, "I don’t want to comment about the red card. If I say Benni is guilty then I would be blaming him for the loss. No. A red card is a red card."
He (Palacios) goes on to say that a "human being" can destroy a game, a club and a performance "and today a human being has destroyed the performance of Orlando Pirates".
Now it’s quite obvious that he’s talking about referee Robert Smith here.
It’s quite obvious that he’s blaming referee Smith for his team’s loss.
It’s more than obvious that he’s not prepared to put any of the blame for the defeat where it belongs - fairly and squarely on the shoulders of his players.
Now I’m asking – Why is the referee to blame?
Why are we the scapegoats when a team loses?
Why are we the whipping boys when a team does not live up to expectations?
Match officials have always been an easy way for coaches and managers when their team doesn’t perform.
I’ve seen young referees with enormous potential leave refereeing because of the unwarranted and unjustified pressure put on them by players, coaches and club administrators alike.
They will look for any and all excuses and reasons to explain to their supporters why they failed to deliver on the day. The referee is always an easy way out.
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When I sent off Bryan Robson, the now ex-Manchester Utd and England captain in Johannesburg all those years ago, I was also the subject of much criticism from many prominent players including Gary Bailey, who is an ex-Utd player. Surprise! Surprise!
Sir Alex Ferguson at the time said “the referee wanted to be the star of the show".
Well let me tell you Sir Alex, nothing could be further from the truth. I went out there to do a job and no one – not even you Sir Alex – was going to deflect me from doing my job.
Would I do it again – damn right I would. Why? Because it was the correct thing to do at the time.
Robson called me “a f***ing” cheat and I duly dished out the red card for foul and abusive language, which is contained in Law 12 of the Fifa L.O.T.G. (Laws of the Game).
It’s time for managers and coaches to show restraint. It’s time for players to start showing a more mature and professional approach on the field of play. It’s way past the time for the powers-that-be in football to crack down on this kind of loose, and in many cases unjustified talk that will, I believe, lead to some match official being seriously assaulted or even killed.
Will it take such an occurrence for someone to put a stop to it? Let’s hope not.
Concentrate more on the things you are good at and leave the referees alone to do their job.
Please keep your comments coming whether you agree with me or not.
Contact me below on all matters refereeing.
Dr. Errol Sweeney