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Why are refs missing such thuggery?

The recent thuggery by Kun Aguero of Manchester City and Luis Suarez of Liverpool says a lot about the modern game of football.

This sporting spectacular called soccer is watched and admired by millions of people, including children, all over the world. These so called superstars, who are paid huge sums of money to perform and entertain us, appear to have lost all moral conscience in the pursuit of winning.

Just last week Aguero of Manchester City was seen putting his knee into the back of David Luiz of Chelsea, which could have caused a serious and potentially crippling injury.

Then, on the weekend, we had the really bizarre sight of Suarez, the enigmatic Liverpool striker, biting Ivanovic of Chelsea on the upper arm.

Suarez has since apologised, been fined by his club, and will face charges by the FA, which could result in a lengthy ban.

My question is:

  • Where were the match officials, especially the referee, when all of this was happening?
  • How come none of the four match officials (referee, two assistant referees and a fourth official) saw the incident?
  • The referee Kevin Friend was not that far away – why didn’t he see it?
  • The assistant referee was no more than 40 metres from the incident and looking straight across in the direction of the incident – how come he didn’t pick it up?

I have said many, many times that I don’t criticise referees for what they are doing – I criticise them for what they are NOT doing. This kind of performance by experienced, and sometimes Fifa, referees is not acceptable.

  • Is it a case of them not wanting to see such incidents?
  • Are they turning a “blind eye” because of the severe action they would be forced to take?
  • Are they scared of the reaction from the benches and the spectators?
  • Why are they not taking appropriate action to stem this blatant thuggery?

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When answers to the above questions go unanswered, the public at large begin to wonder if some teams are not receiving special treatment from certain referees.

People can become cynical and suspicions, and who can blame them.

The need for an independent refereeing body, as I have said in the past, which would be free from all interference and influence from “soccer politicians”, is long overdue.

Howard Webb axed

I am regularly asked whether referees have their day of reckoning if they have a bad game. The answer is - yes they do. To prove the point, Howard Webb, who refereed the World Cup final in 2010 in South Africa, has been demoted two divisions, to league one, for next weekend after a poor performance in the recent EPL Newcastle v Sunderland game.

The match inspector said he disallowed a completely legal goal by Papiss Cisse of Newcastle while David Vaughan of Sunderland was allowed to score when he was offside.

Mr Webb also missed out on a bad challenge from Yoan Gouffan and waved away a penalty appeal.

His two assistant referees, Darren Cann and Mile Mullarkey, who also came under sharp criticism after the Tyne-Wear derby, will join him to take charge of Colchester’s clash with Shrewsbury this Saturday.

This action is correct as no match officials, regardless of standing or reputation, are above the game and should be disciplined for poor performances.

Thank goodness someone has the guts to take action.

Happy Whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter: @dr_errol

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