>The Football Hypocrisy

>A lot of talk about referees after this weekend concerning their accountability after making a few gaffes. These days these mistakes could cost a team like Bolton (or Newcastle!) relegation. Previously the idea was to send the referee to a lower division for a week or two. If, when they returned to the Premier League they continued making poor decisions, then they get demoted for a season. That happened to Uriah Rennie a few years back.

While the media and football pundits constantly decry this, I don’t Ronaldo or Yabuku or Gerrard getting dropped for a week or two. That would be impossible. I also don’t hear Ferguson, Moyles or Benetiz coming out and commented on their own players cheating. Managers famously back their players. It took Scolari a game to learn the well-known football line, “I didn’t see the incident.” Wenger has been saying that for years.

Different sports deal with indiscipline or cheating in different ways. They back the referee up with technology, support and after-match analysis and disciplinary hearings. The football referees suffer this, so why not the players? Ice hockey has one referee on the ice as well as two linesman. There are also seperate timekeepers, goal judges and scorers. And it’s still a fast paced game. Aussie rules is a fast, aggressive game, yet it has many referees and has disciplinary panels the day after the games. Players are charged with an offence. If they admit it they usually get a one match ban. If they don’t, their fate is decided that day. It has greatly cleaned the game up.

While I accept referees make poor decisions often and this weekend its certainly true, I get very tired of the picking on the an under-resourced single man who if he had the backing could do a far greater job. With the money in football, there is no reason why there is no goal-line technology or goal monitor. Why must the referee be in charge of the clock as well? And why is blatant cheating ignored, almost celebrated yet honest mistakes lambasted?

I know the reasons; the power of the big clubs over their associations especially the lingering threat to break away again. Ultimately its the money at stake. Premier League football in England is a huge pig trough and no one wants to be a goat.

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