UEFA has issued a new directive to referees for Euro 2008, so expect more bookings and sendings off.
More and more matches will be decided by referees, instead of by the players on the pitch and the strategies and tactics of the managers.
Too many games are decided by refereeing decisions. When you consider what’s at stake at the top levels of English and European football, you’d think the football authorities would spend more on ensuring the quality of referees and the best technological support. Contentious decisions in tennis, cricket and rugby are all reviewed with modern technology, and has resulted in fewer controversial moments, and less dissent from players. There are not many refereeing decisions that require such review, but those that do often affect the outcome of the game.
There is also a lack of consistency between referees and even by the same referees on different occasions.
It is understandable that players and managers get upset and angry over bad, controversial or inconsistent decisions. In the circumstances, it is not surprising that there are increasing levels of dissent at the top levels of the game, especially when you bear in mind what’s at stake.
Tightening rules on dissent can only be part of the solution. Eliminating or reducing bad, controversial or inconsistent refereeing decisions, using technology where necessary, must be a necessary counterpart.