Who’d Be A Referee?Sun, 10 May 2009
Sepp Blatter has stepped in to have his say on the standard of refereeing at the highest levels.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter believes making referees fully professional would improve the standard of officiating in big matches.
Blatter spoke out in the wake of Chelsea’s controversial departure from the Champions League semi-finals.
“I will repeat it, and I have been saying it for 10 years at least, we must improve refereeing,” he said.
“It’s time to have professionals. We should only use professional referees in high-level competitions.”
I don’t know where Blatter has been, but he appears oblivious to the fact that even with professional referees, serious mistakes are far too common at the highest levels of English football. I don’t know what the situation is in France or Italy, but I doubt it is any better.
The response of PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor was to call upon UEFA to use for video evidence in the biggest games.
Earlier in the week, I looked at the continued refusal of FIFA and UEFA to use video technology for critical decisions in major competitions.
Better training and remuneration for referees with greater exposure to the highest levels of the game, such as former professional players, is only part of the equation.
Football has fallen far behind other major sports such as rugby, cricket and tennis in the use of video technology to deal effectively with potentially controversial or contentious refereeing or umpiring decisions.
Football’s administrators continue to bury their heads in the sand. If political or military leaders sent peacekeeping soldiers into a conflict zone without the best available equipment, they would come in for much flak.
Football administrators are hardly criticized for continuing to insist that referees can do a their job in the face of often angry and hostile managers and players without the best available equipment.
FIFA and UEFA appear to have their own motives in maintaining a high degree of subjectivity in refereeing decisions. The use of technology to achieve greater objectivity is disavowed, despite high profile or serious mistakes continuously being made by professional referees, such as those in England.
I will not continue to watch a match in which there is a poor decision which is likely to affect the outcome of the game, such as a controversial sending off or penalty. If more of us did that, the TV companies may have no choice but to put pressure on the football authorities to get their act in order. No amount of complaining by managers, players and fans seems to work.