Perhaps I’m getting old or the new philosophy in refereeing is moving with the times.
In my day, the laws of the game were applied across the board without fear or favour.
Anyone who transgressed the laws either knew the consequences of their actions or they soon realised that what they had done (assuming they had committed a foul or misbehaved) meant they would be penalised by being issued a yellow or red card.
The players today are, in my opinion, well versed in what they can and can’t get away with.
They will push the match officials to the limit and some will even protest their innocence, even though they know full well that they were in the wrong.
And they are ably aided by their managers/coaches, who will try to justify the actions of their players by ranting and raving on the touchline at the unfortunate fourth official.
This, in my opinion, is to try to get the crowd on their side and heap more pressure on the referee and his assistants.
This is appalling behaviour and can have a detrimental effect on the men in black, with all kinds of threats of abuse and physical violence directed towards them.
I deliberately mention the men in black because it doesn’t appear to happen to our women counterparts – they do not seem to have to contend with this loutish, thuggish behaviour.
Today, the referees are schooled in “man management”. Will someone please tell me what that means?
Nowhere in the laws of the game does it say I must “man manage” a player.
I have enough things to do watching all the shenanigans and cheating by players to be worrying, or even caring, about their “man management”.
It does appear to be the latest buzz word within refereeing.
So what does it really mean?
From what I see, it’s catering to players’ every whim and cry – being nice and understanding about the pressures they are under. What?
I’m sure you’re probably saying, here’s the “hanging judge” having a rant. Well, you’re dead right, I am having a rant. Two, in fact.
I may be wrong, but I think this new philosophy was brought in by the International Football Association Board. I’m open to correction.
These guys, headed by former English Premier League referee David Elleray, have made so many changes to the laws that it’s difficult to understand them any more.
See what they’ve done to the offside law? They have now brought in the video assistant referee (VAR), which seems to be causing more problems than it is solving.
I have to admit that I’m a fan of the VAR.
And speaking about VAR, the ruling is that when a referee is using the VAR, no one, and I mean no player, is allowed to crowd around him while he is seeking clarification.
Is that being obeyed? Not a chance.
Is that all part of “man management”? That players, because they’re frustrated and under pressure, are allowed to vent their anger on the referee while a decision is pending?
How come we do not see that in rugby? How come we do not see that in tennis? How come we do not see that in cricket?
Simple answer – the participants of those sports are more disciplined and better behaved.
To hell with man management. Let’s get back to basics when a red card was a red card; when a penalty was a penalty; and when the referee’s decision was final according to law five, which reads (I’m paraphrasing) that the referee’s decision is final on all matters pertaining to the laws of the game.
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