Sunday, November 21, 2010

Power to the referees

So, Scottish football referees are planning to strike next weekend because of the criticism and threats aimed at them by some clubs/players/managers/fans.
People are giving them criticism for making mistakes.
They are making mistakes because (a) they are under a lot of pressure, (b) they are often deceived by players cheating - by diving, by not owning up to fouls or handballs, and (c) they do not have the technological help that is available in other sports and is required in football.

Several things must be done.
Firstly, hawkeye-style replays must be allowed.  For goalline incidents and other incidents in the penalty box.  Referees should be allowed to us TV replays.  The argument that this would stop the flow of the game is nonsense.  TV replays would be far less disruptive than the current arguments when a decision is questioned.  For decisions that the referees do not use replays for, each captain should get, say, one appeal per half, like in tennis.
Secondly, blatant diving and simulation should be a red card offence rather than yellow.  Over-the-top theatricality after a minor foul should be a yellow card offence (therefore a referee could give a freekick to the attacking team for a foul by the defending team, but also book the attacking player for making a meal of it).
Thirdly, only players involved in an incident, plus the captains, should be allowed to speak to the referee.  If any player is abusive or disrespectful to the referee, they should be booked.
Fourthly, if a player is booked or sent off for cynical cheating, diving or abuse, they should also pay a heavy fine, proportional to the league they are playing in.  So premiership players should be fined about 2 weeks wages for being sent off for diving.
Fifthly, referees should have the power to retrospectively give red and yellow cards for incidents they did not see in the game.

In short, more power to the referees and less to the players.

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