Sunday, November 19, 2006

What is the story with the referees?

An interesting point. Most of us think that at home games.

Shouting at the ref doesn't seem to work. But makes us feel better.

I suggested to the FFA that they get marquee refs instead of, or as well as, players. The main problem is that, as I understand it, few if any, A-League ref is full time. This means that they do not get the time to reflect on the last match and prepare for the next. For more on this read the world’s best ref, Pierluigi Collina’s autobiography The Rules of the Game (Pan 2003).

In my view Matthew Breeze is the best ref in the A-League, ahead of Queensland and FIFA World Cup ref Mark Shield. Honestly, some of them just are not up to it. What I like about Matthew is that he is not captured by any player and he shows that he has a firm mind of his own on how the game should be played. He is a professional even if this is a part time job for him. If you watch him closely he actually makes very few mistakes. And he gets the big decisions like penalties and red cards right.

I understand refing is a difficult job. FIFA, because of its politics, just will not allow technology to be used to produce a more perfect game. Rugby league has shown how this can be done without affecting the flow of a game. Without the video ref mistakes are going to happen. It is all going on too fast to see everything. However, what I detest and home fans hate, is the old players of the game interfering with the ref. Talking to him, getting him to question his own mind. Plus some of them may be the refs heroes or they may have known them for years. For some older former NSL players this seems to be their main job now. This must be stopped as it brings the game into disrepute.


Anonymous said...

G'day John. From where I sat on Friday night there certainly seemed to be some strange decisions, but I know I'm not immune to the phenomena of tending to see the wrong decisions against one's own side and tending to celebrate the wrong decisions in one's own favour. I think it would take a lifetime of mental and spiritual discipline to overcome that one.

I have to admit that the whole referee as part of the spectacle thing is still outside my observation, in that I still don't even know any of their names, let alone follow their progress. So I'm indebted to people like yourself talking about it occasionally. It's clearly an important and sometimes decisive part of the game.

Meanwhile however I remain convinced by the arguments against video refereeing, as, a) I appreciate the reality of human fallibility in the game, and b) games at all but the elite level are not systematically filmed, so the said fallibility will always remain a part of the experience of the game for the vast majority of games the vast majority of times. I prefer the fallibilities to be a universal part of the game, and as with flags, officials, rules and points, for the rules to be the same for every game of football from the under 13s through to the World Cup, as a principle anyway.

I do appreciate your point about players getting in the ref's ear. It should be banned as much as practicable, as it wastes time, distracts the refs concentration and gives psychologically intelligent players a clear advantage which has nothing to do with football.


Jeccy said...

I agree with Hamish. Video refereeing, while it may help to dispute dodgy offside calls and the like, takes the human side out of the sport. What good would the game be if it had to be stopped and started every time somebody had a debate with the referee?
Although that does happen to a degree at the momment, continued delay would just make the game boring and too computerised.

And personally, I find that even the local boy, Mark Shield tends to give our boys a hard time on the field.

I think your idea of marquee referees is a good idea. Take the bias, even though there isn't supposed to be any, out by taking out the Aussie refs, and bring in someone who only makes calls because they are the right decision!!

john said...

The view among some fans I spoke to on the weekend was that the refs seemed to have made up their minds that the Roar should not get penalties. The issue is that if it is because they are diving then Roar players should be getting red or yellow cards - this happened to Michael Baird and one other last year. The refs just wave play-on. I think this is wrong. If they need more information they should have an independent ref looking at video.

The video replays in rugby league are tightly controlled and not boring. They add to the excitement.

In all the key games for the Roar this year, particularly the draw and loss to Adelaide, and even last week against Melbourne - they have had clear match changing penalties waved on. The Zhang tackle from behind was a clear penalty on Friday.

The FFA have admitted that they spoke to one club about their diving earlier in the season. I assume this was Melbourne and their 4 penalties in 5 games run.. Then Archie says 'I'm not diving in the box anymore.' I say video ref it. Penalty or red card. Or people loose faith in the game.

Dave said...

I agree the standard of reffing needs to be lifted. I personally think Mark Shield is the ebst going around and Matthew Breeze is good too, although I think he gets a bit flustered at times. Others though just aren't up to scratch.

Earlier this season, Simon Pryzdac had 4 penalty decisions to make over a few games and (based on the video analysis) got only one right (and that was a blatant hand-ball in the box)! This included his now-infamous decision to red card Joel Griffiths for "simulation".

On the topic of simulation, I'd like to see a trial of a video review system for any penalty decision. This wouldn't disrupt the flow of the game, as it would already be stopped for the spot kick anyway, not the mention the inevitable argy-bargy that follows such a decision.

Anyway, basically what I'd suggest is that when the ref has awarded a spot kick for whatever reason, the decision is reviewed by the 4th official. If the video supports the ref's decision, the penalty is taken as normal. If however the video reveals simulation or "diving" by the attacking player, the penalty is cancelled, the player is shown the yellow card AND a spot kick is awarded to the defending team at the other end.

I suggest that not only getting a yellow card, but also losing a p.k. and costing your team a virtually certain goal would stop "diving" in its tracks.

Anonymous said...

I also think that red cards should be reviewed after the game to see if they were deserving. I know the Spase Dilevski elbow in the last game of last season was a bit of a dubious red, and decisions like that should be able to be reversed, if it is needed, to the player doesn't miss any unecessary game time

The Round Ball Analyst said...


In my opinion, the Roar were certainly dudded against Sydney tonight, as I've written;

Having said that, I am a believer in the theory that these things do tend to even themsleves out over the course of a season.

Scant consilation for you Roar fans I know, but something to bear in mind.

john said...

My count is that the Roar have had only three straight Reds in the A-League. Plus 2 players have received two yellows followed by the required red.

Ben Williams gave the Roar all 3 straight reds.