james debate
james debate

Sunday 7 December 2008

It's always been an issue in sports and football in particular, this issue of referees getting things wrong and ruining games and often making or changing history. From Maradona's insane hand of god (mitigated slightly by the unbelievable piece of dribbling beforehand that may have dazzled the ref too much) to Robert Pires' famous dive against Portsmouth that allowed Arsenal to claim an unprecedented (and arguably undeserved) undefeated season, referees have always made idiotic clangers that have big consequences on the sport.

It has become even more of a pressing issue with the inevitable advent of video replay technologies being used in just about every other sport as to why such progress isn't being harnessed in football to ensure cheaters don't prosper. And indeed while football alone as a sport continues to insist on allowing ridiculous referee blunders to influence a game, it becomes harder and harder to avoid such ideas.

What is particularly alarming is that English referees seem to be particularly bad. At the world cup in 2006, famously moronic blunderer Graham Poll was sent home in disgrace for awarding a player three yellow cards before eventually sending him off, and at Euro 2008 englishman Howard Webb was... err... sent home in disgrace for awarding a ridiculous injury time penalty.

Similarly we live with a league where jokers like Rob Styles, who has been dropped from the Premier League twice in the past year (1) (2) is inexplicably still given the biggest games with the big four teams. We live with a league where utterly inept ├╝berscrotes like Mike Dean can get away with horrendously screwing up not one, not two, but three different title deciding matches in a single year (1) (2) (3) and still be given big games over and over. And frankly it has got to stop.

I am not the first person to say this by any means, but it is clear that the governing body set up for the purpose of running the ref's guild is not doing it's job.

I 'get' that refs do a hard job and all that, but there is some serious ineptitude being shown amongst english refs in particular and I think the blame can only be placed squarely at the referees' association who does absolutely nothing to maintain high standards amongst its ranks, and shows absolutely no desire to hold refs accountable for their cock ups. Every other league in the world does this and so it is not a shock that the standard of reffing in most countries is far superior to over here. Perennial morons like Styles and Dean need to be sacked permanently if they can't step up their game.

At the very least there needs to be some more accountability. If a player messes up in a game it's all over the press, the fans pour vitriol on him and in serious cases the club can take action against him. If a manager fucks up he can lose his job and gets thrust in front of the press mere minutes after a match where he must defend himself in front of millions. Refs have none of this and frankly they should do. They should have to account for their mistakes, they should have to apologize when wrong and they should certainly not be allowed to act like a div and then just walk away from it with no consequences.

This is seriously absurd and needs to change.

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