The plight of the ref!

By Sam Bartfield
Last updated : 01 October 2008
First of let me hold my hands up and admit that there have been some poor reffing decisions this season. We witnessed a particular example leading up to Shrewsbury's opener on Saturday, at the hands of Mr Singh. I'm not here to slam referees but to show some support for the job they do, and show my utter disgust at certain sections of the media who have always been out to get them.

Its been an entertaining start to the new season but sadly the all to predictable moans of 'we will respect the refs if they deserve it' have begun. Lets be frank, how many howlers can you identify so far this season? I'll give you the shocking penalty decision at Old Trafford given by the worst referee at the top level, Rob Styles. Obviously the Stuart Attwell phantom goal is also a blatant error, but apart from these two mistakes I cant think of any other decisions that have been universally criticised. Any other 'controversial' decision you could care to mention in the premier league has been wrongly used as a further opportunity to question the standard of refereeing. It beggars belief that certain pundits will still slam referees over decisions which  have been debated long and hard, even after the benefit of slow motion, and countless replays from various angles. When you consider this the standard of refereeing is as good as it can be while judging the game with the naked eye.

The sad truth is that whilst pundits such as Andy Gray continue to pick at every decision a referee makes, and persist in purile comments such as 'you cant understand the game unless you've played it' then we wont progress any further. We have to accept the truth that the current crop of referees do as good a job as it is possible to do in todays high paced game. I dont advocate technology in the game and I applaud the referees for the job they currently do. The fact that only 2 mistakes have been identified this season says it all.

Whats worse is the cries for referees to come out and explain themselves. Without an adjudicator on the field of play there would be no game. The fact is they are not answerable to the managers, players, or fans of any team. They are the decision makers without which the whole fabric of the game would collapse.

Its sadly predictable that the current feeling is 'why should we respect referees when they dont give us decisions we like.' As an independant on the field adjudicator its farcical to consider that referees should be answerable to anyone bt their governers at the FA. What I would really like to see is heavy fines for managers who make ludicrous claims that they had a bad decision go against them, such as Mark Hughes' ludicrous claim that the incident that they should never have had a penalty decision against them against Wigan. For me listening to managers who clearly have a subjective view moaning about clear cut decisions is the most depressing thing in the game.

Over the coming season I think we will regress into a worse situation than at the end of last season. What we will be left with is a conflict whereby referees will be resented for having the gaul for asking for a bit of respect and bad....no controversial decisions will be even further highlighted. They do a good job on the whole, let them get on with it!

Bradford City Match Reports

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