The Ref Review: Do Officials Need Help?

The Ref Review: Do Officials Need Help?
Aug 22, 2016


With this weekend yet again highlighting controversial refereeing decisions, I deem it high time that I give my opinion on the current standard of refereeing in the Premier League.

Mark Clattenburg and Johnathan Moss were the two in question this weekend, and it’s nothing Premier League fans haven’t come to expect from the officials and their work-colleagues. In particular Mark Clattenburg, who has been (perhaps un-fairly) scolded by many as someone who favours bigger clubs in his decisions.

It will not have done the County Durham born adjudicator any favours that he refused to give a convincing penalty to Leicester’s Ahmed Musa, he was tripped up in the box by Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin in the closing stages of the game. At 0-0, and with the referee just metres behind the incident, it could have won them the game.

The other judge under judgement is Sunderland born Johnathan Moss. Late in the game between Watford and Chelsea, already booked Diego Costa dived just out-side the box, looking for a penalty or free-kick.  ‘Jon’ Moss did neither give the foul, nor book the player for simulation. In clear view of the situation, Diego Costa should’ve been sent off.

He then went on to score the winner of the game.

I have my bets, along with many others that in any other stage of the game, with any other player, that’s a yellow card. So why is it not given?

Surely rules are rules in refereeing, an absolution that if a player breaks the rules then he should be punished. Simulation, or diving is a yellow-card offense, the player had clearly broken this rule. Costa knew that, Moss knew that, as did everyone on the pitch, in the stands and at home. Why is it not a sending off?

Officials, and supporters of them will argue that he just wanted the game to flow, not to disrupt either team by making such a harsh decision. To which I completely disagree with.

If that decision is given late on as a penalty or a free-kick, the player has manipulated the referee into thinking it was a foul, that is bare-bones cheating, and therefore is the reason it became out-lawed in the first place. This is a complete hypocrisy of the reason it was implemented in the first place, therefore the referee has completely made the rule irrelevant.

It’s these kinds of contradictions that throw referee’s into such constant fire from the bullet- like words of the fans, pundits, players and managers after the game. We see this every week, in almost every game at this point. Decisions can change games, and it’s these narrow margins that can win or lose a team a game, or even determine their fate in a competition.

So, is it that crazy to suggest that maybe these referees need help?

Next season we could see video referees in football, finally!

A couple of months ago, it was reported that the F.A were in advanced talks about trialling video referees to help current referees make the right decisions on goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identites.

Whilst there hasn’t been much movement or development on the story, it’s understood that these implementations have been/ are currently underway and we could expect to see them next year in the 2017/18 season.

Sports such as Rugby, Tennis and Cricket are all major sports that have video referees. Rugby is similar to football in terms of its fast-paced nature, even-though it is stopped for refereeing decisions, I still see it as a positive step forward for sport, and I believe others should too. Making the absolute right decision when it matters is a fair and measured way to play the game.

No longer will we have to see a shocking offside where the player is clearly on the other side of the country, or a sending off of an innocent player because he had a similar skin colour to the actual offender.

It could slow the game down like in rugby, but if used in a certain way, it can allow for a fluid game with the correct decisions made. Either way, it’s already better than what we currently have.

I won’t go into too much detail, perhaps it’s an article for another day.

But if it’s used correctly, we may cancel out these hypocrisies completely. Maybe if we had video referees in that Chelsea game today, Costa would have been sent off. They may also have noticed Jon Moss with his finger in his nose at the time, and could have reminded him he was refereeing a Barclay’s Premier League football match.

I’m sure many will disagree with me in terms of what I’ve had to say on the refereeing debate, but it’s been made clear with the decisions this weekend that something needs to be done about it.

It’s clear now more than it’s ever been after these repeated offenses show that maybe relying on the judgement of a few people with just a pair of eyes, a brain and an addition of “Refereeing A Football Match For Dummies”, isn’t entirely the best we can get out of football.

Therefore, in my opinion video referees must be implemented if we are to see a fair competition. Human error costs teams far, far too often.

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