Refs Corner : Hats off to Clattenburg, Euro refs

Refs Corner : Hats off to Clattenburg, Euro refs

It’s been an entertaining and sometimes dramatic European Football Championships this year in France. Drama in the many missed penalties by both Germany and France in the semifinal.

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Drama in the way some of the so-called lesser teams like Iceland performed. Entertaining in the many wonderful goals scored, and conceded by some teams.

On the whole, it’s been good for football as a spectacle.

However, I want to concentrate on the referees and their performances.

I was surprised at the level of consistency as far as diving and feigning injury was concerned. That’s good. Some might say not soon enough.

The refs seemed as one in not falling for those shenanigans anymore. There has been too much of it and spectators and fans alike are getting tired of it.

It seemed to reach a peak this last season (2015/2016) when players were going down like nine pins at the merest touch with an opposing player.

The slightest contact with an opponent saw some so-called professional players taking full advantage and gaining for themselves and their team many undeserved free kicks and, in some cases, penalties and yellow and red cards for their opponents.

One former Liverpool player said on national television that “players have a right to go down” if they’re touched. There’s only one word for that – CHEATING.

This is despicable, disgusting and definitely not sport.

We referees are the guardians of the game.
We have the power to punish such indiscretions.
We are the only ones who can put a stop to it. But we don’t.

We allow players to get away with “murder.” We conveniently turn a blind eye for fear of repercussions from team officials and we continuously allow certain players to deliberately flout the Fifa Laws of the Game in the name of “man management.”

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying not to have a conversation with a player.
I’m not saying that referees should be like robots or computers.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t behave like humans. Far from it.

What I am saying is that the players have to understand that we are also human. We also make mistakes. We also get it wrong sometimes, just like them, yet no allowance is made for the human frailties of referees.

Fifa, in their wisdom, or otherwise, refused to bring in a Television Match Official (TMO) until they were forced to.

Word now has it that a TMO is being trialed in some countries with the eventual goal (excuse the pun) of it being a regular in the future.

Michel Platini brought in the Addition Assistant Referees (AARs) for all European club and national competitions.

These are the guys who stand beside the goalkeeper during a match. I’m not sure where he got that idea from, but, in my opinion, it’s been a disaster and a total waste of two extra officials. Goal Line technology (GLT) was subsequently introduced which now makes these guys effectively redundant. They should be removed immediately.

The amount of pushing and pulling that has been going on in the penalty area with these AARs looking on and seemingly powerless to act is breathtaking. Surely that’s part of their job to advise the referee when incidents are happening under their noses?

On this years Euro final (2016) I thought referee Mark Clattenburg had a good final. It wasn’t a difficult game (on a scale of 1 to 10 probably a 5) so he wasn’t really tested. I was surprised at the fact that he dished out so many yellow cards for such an uneventful game.

I hope he will continue to referee like that next season in the EPL. He’s had a fantastic year as a match official. He refereed the FA Cup final, The Uefa Champions League final, and now the Euro 2016 final all in the space of a month or so.

Keep up the good work Mark and the best of luck for the future.

Happy Whistling

Dr Errol Sweeney
@dr_errol