Help the Refs
If you’re a regular to our blog page you may know that we have a dedicated writer by the name of Dave Meiers aka @meiercy (Twitter handle) who tackles the subject of referee’s, with him being a referee an ex-professional referee, and all. However this weekend I feel compelled to chime in on the situation of refereeing after seeing the comical acts of Mike Dean and his officials yesterday during the Chelsea vs Arsenal London Derby. This isn't an attack on Mike Dean as such, as having done refereeing myself (level 8 ref, passed the basic course back in 2013) I know what sort of pressure he is under as a ref and how overwhelming situations can become especially when incidents explode as they did on Saturday Afternoon. In saying that I haven’t actually seen the full game yet but I have seen the highlights of key incidents and I’m absolutely dumbfounded by what I’ve seen, all that comes to mind when looking back is "One rule for one and another rule for others".
So to start let’s just say YES! Gabriel's red card was deserved, there can not be any arguments levied here! He had already been shown a yellow card for reacting with his initial clash with the Despicable Costa, he allowed his aggression to get the better of him and understandably Mike Dean carded him (I assume hoping to diffuse the situation) but after Gabriel backheeled Despicable Costa in front of the referee, he's given Dean no option but to Red card him. It was also deplorable seeing the Chelsea players surrounding the ref, with Fabregas even acting out a back heel gesture in the hope to help the referee make the decision. Yet as said there is no denying at all, it was a clear sending off.
However using that logic Costa should have been red-carded as well if not at the same time, before that incident. Three Incidents clearly seen by teammates, fans, and most importantly video cameras show the Brazilian-born Spanish Internationals misdemeanors. Hand’s in Boscielny Face, Chest bumping the Boss to the floor and slapping both Boscielny and Super Gab were rewarded with telling offs. We've seen players being sent off for lesser offenses yet it seems whenever Costa is involved it’s never him and he’s always the victim. I’m starting to feel that Mourinho's speech about Chelsea being the Little Horse of English football has affected the way the Referee approach Chelsea games. It’s almost as if Costa specifically is getting an easy ride being that he plays for the little horse of a team called Chelsea Football club.
On a real note and getting back to the issue, my thoughts are as follows. The way referees are fulfilling their jobs is of a bygone era. An era where technology wasn’t available and everyone was expected to respect the referee's final word. As he was the ultimate official of the game, the Judge Dredd so to speak. Romanticists of this era may miss this type of logic but now with multiple replays, in-game stats, and a multitude of camera angles the referees are not the all-seeing eye anymore! In fact, viewers see more than the referee does and they are not even physically at the game. In my opinion, referees now need more help, they are struggling out there. The way the game is being watched is progressing on all fronts, yet the referees are still subjected to post 90's tech to officiate games and they no longer need to struggle with just making split-second decisions. They have a 4th official, so why not use him sufficiently. He should be sitting or FIXED at a monitor sweeping up all the decisions the referee has missed and reporting it back into the ear of s/he and their officials. (All decisions). People claim doing something like this would take away from the game (I used to claim this) but think about it now, how can it, it can only improve the game and improve the standard of officiating. Taking away from the game would be to allow big errors to be made a week in week out, which therefore ends up costing teams.
It seems so wrong that the 4th official only steps in when he wants and basically leaves the ref & his officials in the quagmire of ill decision making! I'm pretty sure if players and fans knew there was someone on the sideline who was assisting the referee, adjudicating from the sidelines. Helping the referee make the right decisions and the decisions end up being right. I’m pretty sure fans would not object, players would not object and neither would managers or clubs, so much of the game would clean up. Just imagine the incidents of yesterday, with an active 4th official, who is using this tech to assist the referee, he could have interpreted exactly what he saw on video playback to his on-field officials, giving them second by second accounts of what had happened. The ref would have been instructed about the face grappling incident, the face slapping, and neck squeezing! (Read that sentence alone and it sounds like a kinky sex game but believe me, it was nothing of the sort) Having someone who’s actively involved, watching the game, seeing the things the referee couldn't have seen would be of so much help. It would allow the referee to be that all-seeing eye again. Would help the referee make his mind up about key incidents because the case right now is referees are looking rather incompetent and silly. Especially when Sky, BT Sport, BBC, ITV, etc are broadcasting images across the world which show a referee making what is seen as blatant mistakes. Compared to other sports Football is starting to look like somewhat of a joke, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis & NFL to name a few all use video officials to assist them in decision making and what it seems to do for those sports is provide consistency in officiating. There is no excuse to have all this tech, the monitors, access to replays, earpieces for communication, etc... and not make 100% use of it. It could help with so many incidents like diving, fouling, etc as it does with Goal Line tech.
Again I repeat the argument against has always been that tech will ruin the game and I was once a believer of this, however, after the introduction of goal-line tech, I can't see an argument for not having or using any tech that will improve the game. Goal Line tech has proved It works and helps the referee massively, to the extent that once the Goal line Tech has made the decision, players don't even bother remonstrating… The technology has actually empowered the referees when making those decisions.
But you know what that just my views. You’ve got your own. If you wish to share them then please do! This Blog of Events has been brought directly to your screens G.Henry aka DaGman