Ref’s decisions crucial
In 1940 former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” He was, of course, referring to the Royal Air Force and its defence of Britain during the Second World War.
In a similar way, but thankfully in a less life and death way, decisions taken by the match officials in games are of such crucial importance that one might be tempted to say – never in the history of association football (or soccer as we call it) will the decisions of so few affect the aspirations and dreams of so many (Dr Errol Sweeney 2012).
Speaking of life and death in football, wasn’t it Bill Shankly, the former Liverpool manager, who uttered words to the effect that winning wasn’t about life or death – it was more than that?
Football today enjoys such widespread coverage around the world both in the print and electronic media that referees are under enormous pressure with possibly, in some instances, goal difference being the deciding factor for league and cup honours.
The match officials are required to be on their “toes” in more ways than one with television cameras at several different angles analysing, interpreting, and scrutinising their every move and decision.
Likewise, the assistant referees will also “enjoy” the same level of scrutiny.
“Was he level or just in front”?
“Was he interfering with play or not”?
“What about the last defender”? and so on, and so on.
Match officials are under the spotlight more and more these days with literally every decision being questioned as to its validity and accuracy.
No doubt the whole issue of goal line technology will continue to be discussed and debated. Fifa have agreed to introduce it, but when? How many more debatable goals scored or not scored will there be before they finally grasp the nettle and introduce it.
One often hears the expression – the wheels of justice grind slowly. It appears that the powers-that-be in world football move just as slowly to the detriment of all, including referees.
Incidents of balls crossing or not crossing the goal line seem to be happening with increasing regularity and games can be won and lost on that action alone – remember it only takes one goal to win a game.
Just for clarification purposes, Law 10 of the Fifa Laws of the Game, METHOD OF SCORING, says that “a goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game have been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.”
Now, that’s clear. The whole of the ball means just that – 100 per cent of the ball crossing over 100 per cent of the line. Not 99 per cent.
We all remember the Swedish referee Anders Fisk retiring early because of threats from some Chelsea fans after a controversy involving the London club.
We don’t want this to become a trend.
We don’t want our match officials being put in physical danger.
We don’t want referees being used as scapegoats when decisions are made and subsequently turn out to be wrong.
The technology is there and available, why not use it.
Bring it in NOW and be done with.
I know there are logistics involved but with the right people in charge and a real will to implement it, it can be achieved sooner rather than later.
Please keep your comments coming whether you agree with me or not.
Contact me below on all matters refereeing.
Dr Errol Sweeney