Saturday, January 21, 2012


The Referee Is A Bar Stud

People become match officials for many reasons. Illusions of grandeur; forget the fact their spouse abuses them by taking it out on players; uniform fetish; a love of thrusting out arms that came from watching Nurnberg rallies; chances of making more cash on the side; because they weren't good enough to play the game and still wanna be involved.

I saw one game recently and you have to wonder at this particular official's motivation. He was so biased to the home team it was embarrassing (these people usually don't have the word shame in their vocabulary). It wasn't just 50/50s. It was 60/40s and even 70/30s. If he was a traffic cop he wouldn't have given the visitors directions home.

Linesmen across the region are uniformally bad; it seems that knowledge of the offside rule isn't a prerequisite while the idea of advantage is as alien as giving way to pedestrians and turning off handphones in cinemas.

But refs. They have the final decision and in their hands literally are thousands of dollars of win bonuses, points and other stuff. Now we're not talking incompetence, the kind that gets TV pundits, players and coaches het up in Europe and other leagues. We are talking outright bias.

Where to complain? FAs are reliant on match assessors and the like and if they say nothing then nothing happened. A losing team whining about the ref is like Peter and the wolf. People stopped listening years ago. And the fans? come on, we don't even know the bloody rules. And so as everyone sticks their heads in their hands and pretend there is nothing wrong then nothing will be done about it.

The players are as much a part of the problem. After all if they are keen enough to accept outrageous decisions in their favour at home games how the hell can they get all uppity when the same happens when they are the away team?

This recent game, it was as fair and balanced as Fox news. Imagine a political debate between two polar opposites like, for example, Sarah Palin and Kim Jong Il (RIP). With Sean Hannity as the man in the middle.

It doesn't matter what foreign imports are brought into the game. Later tonight millions across South East Asia will stay up late to watch English football. Many will be wearing replica shirts. An affluent, expanding middle class, football daft. Exactly the demographic domestic football needs to be targetting if their game is to ever raise its profile.

But shoddy, incompetent refereeing performances like some I have witnessed in recent weeks will not have them rushing to support their local teams.

For some refs it is time they put their peas in their pockets and gave up. But they won't. 'Cos who knows what would be waiting to take their place!

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