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Ref accused of racism?

There is an allegation that referee Mark Clattenberg used offensive language at two Chelsea players during their game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

I hope it’s not true for if it is, it marks a new, sinister and worrying chapter to our “beautiful game.”

Chelsea football club lodged the complaint with the FA shortly after the game finished. The exact circumstances are still unknown and will, no doubt, be revealed in the days ahead.

Now let’s stop being hysterical. Let’s stop the witch hunt on the unfortunate match official. Let’s put things into perspective and start thinking rationally.

Yes he did make a few mistakes. Yes it may, and probably did, affect the outcome of the game. And yes, no matter which decision he makes during a game of high intensity which this one was, he’s going to be crucified from one quarter or the other.

I watched the entire game and everything was going smoothly until the first red card on Chelsea’s Ivanovic. Now let’s get this straight – it WAS the correct decision.

Once a goal scoring opportunity is denied – and it does say opportunity, not a goal scoring chance – the referee has no choice but to issue the ultimate punishment.

This is contained in Law 12 of the Fifa Laws of the Game.

I wish commentators would stop using that phrase “the last man.” That’s not true. There could be four players there and a red card would still be issued because IT’S A GOAL SCORING OPPORTUNITY that the referee has to decide on. Now can I highlight that any more?

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Perhaps the Chelsea players were incensed by the decision to dismiss Torres. They seemed to lose their cool and in the process appeared to hand back the initiative to United. That, in my opinion, was their downfall.

Coming out later and blaming the referee is a little disingenuous. They are looking for scapegoats for their own lack of professionalism.

Then you have Sir Alex Ferguson saying words to the effect that Torres could have stayed on his feet. Well now, isn’t that a bit rich from Sir Alex? His own player Ashley Young is one of the biggest proponents of the “dive.”

One of the main things that really irritates the life out of me is the hypocrisy of coaches and managers. When their team loses they go on the attack and blame anyone but the people who deserve to be blamed – their players.

When they win or get a “dodgy” decision they are very defensive.

When asked about a bad tackle by one of their players you get the usual response “I didn’t see it.” But they can see if a player is offside in a crowded penalty area? What a load of rubbish.

I still feel that an Independent Refereeing Body is the way to go and let’s get away from perception that certain referees are favouring certain teams.

Perhaps they are and if that’s the case, then it needs to be stopped immediately. I know my “crusade” for an Independent Refereeing body will go a long way towards having fair, firm, and objective match officials who are in it for the love of the game.

Let’s get it started as soon as possible. I need your support now, immediately. Not next year, not next week – NOW.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so please keep them coming.

Happy Whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter: @dr_errol

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