Anorak News | No Need For Common Sense

No Need For Common Sense

by | 4th, January 2006

‘AS the nation’s football fans gorged themselves on the ridiculously busy festive schedule, the period was once again peppered with contentious refereeing decisions and unfair dismissals. Inevitably the TV pundits once again railed about refereeing competence. Yet at this time of peace and love, let’s spare a thought for the much-maligned ‘b*****d in the black’.

With Sky Sports employing almost as many state-of-the-art cameras at matches as there are people in the crowd at the Riverside, along with their hi-tech graphics and trainspotter stats, the poor old ref is scrutinised in more detail than an Iraqi asylum seeker. And as well as having to decipher complex new directives handed out by the FA, referees are also expected to implement the laws of the game with ‘common sense’, a vague concept that inevitably leads to even more contention. After all, one man’s common sense is another man’s utter lunacy. Just ask William Hague.

This refereeing common sense is a theme peddled by numerous pundits who, while prattling on about the inconsistent implementation of the laws of the game berate officials who simply go by the book.

Football experts such as Andy Gray are particularly prickly when it comes to referees dishing out cards early into a game. In their self-inflated view early bookings ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the game and therefore players should be given some time to get into the game and no doubt kick the crap out of their opponents without reproach.

Imagine if the police force decided not to arrest as many people in the morning, as it might set a bad tone for the rest of the day? Murder someone before midday and you’d get off with a slap on the wrist.

The football authorities also add to the confusion, continuing to peddle the ridiculous ‘interfering with play’ diktat in terms of the offside rule. Surely if a player is on the pitch he is interfering with the play. Again referees and linesmen are put in a position where inconsistencies are inevitable.

Fulham boss Chris Coleman is the latest manager to appeal for video technology to be used to help referees after the Welshman saw his side succumb to a number of bad decisions against Chelsea on Boxing Day. The utilisation of a Sky Sports-esque technological armoury would without doubt be beneficial to all the interested parties – managers, players and referees. However, one wonders how Gray would feel about having his toys used by the very targets of his criticism.

Let’s face it, the quality of refereeing in this country does need to be improved, and a number of officials need to have their ego’s pruned back a little. Indeed we may never actually like those ‘b******s in the black’, but the fewer grey areas there are for referees to deal with, the better and more consistent their performances will be and the less whinging we’ll have to put up with from the pundits.

? Alan Duffy 2005′

Posted: 4th, January 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink