28 March 2014

Are referees ruining football?

What in the late 70’s and early 80’s was a good tackle is nowadays deemed as a bad challenge. If a defender goes for the ball with two legs and gets the ball, while not even dropping the striker, should he see red?  With the way referees are assessing each game today, it seems that even a challenge for the ball will result in a card.

The referees have to try to let the game flow more often. The games in the recent past have not been free flowing. The games lack flow and good refereeing. As in other sports like cricket and tennis have a camera referral system, does football need one too?

There have been a lot of judgmental errors by the referees. A few examples of such blatant issues are:
In the Barclays Premier  League game earlier in the season between Liverpool and Manchester City, Martin Skrtel was all over Vincent Kompany during the corners, tugging at the latter’s jersey while at the other end, Joleon Lescott fouled Suarez and even though in slow motion both looked like straight penalties, neither was penalized.

The linesman in the same game made a blatant error by calling Raheem Sterling off-side when the player was actually onside by a huge distance.

Another example from last season, in the next game at home against Liverpool in the first leg of the Semi-final of the Carling Cup, City Manager Roberto Mancini said that the tackle by Liverpool’s Glenn Johnson on Joleon Lescott was similar to Kompnay’s and no foul was given.

Last season, in the third round of the FA Cup in a game between Manchester City and Manchester United the City Captain, Vincent Kompany, got sent off for a tackle that saw him going for the ball and not the player.

Such a vast difference in refereeing decisions to similar tackles on different occasions will create doubts in the players’ minds whether or not to go for a slide tackle or not.

It is high time that the FIFA introduces referral systems with the help of technology before football becomes a no-contact sport. Also, referees need to start being consistent with their decisions.

Such decisions will take the fight and physicality out of the sport. Is the game heading down the wrong path?

The football governing bodies have to somehow come out and ensure that refereeing decisions are made to benefit the game and not to take away the thrill of the game thereby ruining it.