Give us a break
Well, what can I say? WOW!
I’m shocked, flabbergasted, even intrigued at the level of response, and in one or two cases hostility to my last blog “Don’t Blame the Ref.” From positive constructivity to downright abuse. One guy even told me to “shut up.” That’s ok, I’ve got broad shoulders.
I never thought that my article would provoke such reaction.
Right. Let me say here and now that I am not, never was, nor will I ever be browbeaten, influenced, and certainly not intimidated by anyone or any thing regardless of the occasion.
Disagree with me if you will. Shout me down if you must, but don’t ever, ever try and muzzle me.
Perhaps it’s forgotten by a few that in general we live in a democratic world. Yes, there are pockets of dictators around the world and they are mostly afraid of the truth. They rarely last too long and are soon replaced, sometimes violently, by more moderate leaders, and thank goodness for that.
What irritated me the most was the flagrant disregard for the truth, the obvious bias of the comments and the clear misunderstanding of the article.
In exams it is recommended that a student should follow the 3, 2, 1 principle which for the most part works well. Read, think, read, think, read, write.
Please readers, adopt this principle and then you will more clearly understand my message.
Just to reflect, it was not my intention to defend the referee at all costs – if he’s wrong, then he’s wrong. Match officials do make mistakes and the match commissioners are there to note the mistakes and the Review Committee will take the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
However, when coaches/managers start shouting their mouths off to the papers, or anyone who is prepared to listen, just because a decision went against them and their team which they did not agree with, that’s a different story altogether.
It appears to be happening more and more these days.
Perhaps this is understandable because the stakes are getting higher and higher and the desire, nay the need to win, becomes even greater and who best to blame but the referee.
Many times I’ve seen coaches/managers turning to the crowd, arms outstretched as if asking why didn’t he give us a free-kick? The players are also getting in on the act. They take a deliberate dive, wait for the whistle, and when it doesn’t come, throw a little tantrum because they didn’t get the free-kick or penalty.
It’s at this stage that the referee needs to step in and caution the player or the coach for ungentlemanly conduct or worse still, inciting the crowd.
This is a clear attempt to influence the referee and bring the wrath of the crowd on the unfortunate match officials. This kind of behaviour should be reported and the league must take appropriate action to stamp it out.
On the refereeing issue. I’ve already said that they make mistakes. They are only human after all. Match inspectors or match commissioners need to be aware of these mistakes and a forum instituted whereby these mistakes can be discussed with the match officials so that there is no repeat.
I think there needs to be more regular meetings between the referees and their coaches. The need for a professional referee’s body to be set up is long overdue.
I’m not saying that this is necessarily the answer. What IS needed is regular meetings between the match officials and their mentors. The mentors should be allowed to enter the dressing room before, during, and after the game to point out mistakes, if any, to the officials and try and ensure that they are not repeated.
Easier said than done? I don’t think so. All that’s needed is the desire and a will to carry it through. After all, a game can turn on one decision by the man-in-black.
In the meantime, let’s have a little more respect for the very difficult job they are trying to do.
Please keep your comments coming whether you agree or not with me.
Contact me below on all matters refereeing.
Dr. Errol Sweeney