17 Jun 2018 15:27:51
So it’s World Cup season, some love it (me included) and some hate it as it’s a different spectacle to club football. But it means there is a bit of a lull in club football as most do business either before and after so I wanted to discuss referees.

I think it’s fair to say that most football fans think the standard of refereeing is ‘dubious’ and cause many results to change due to their decisions. However, I think part of that is due to our ever increasing critical eye on referees. We as fans all want to win. Period. Doesn’t matter how but we all want to celebrate our team winning by the end of the 90 minutes. Now on occasion the referee makes a clear mistake, it happens, and that’s where VAR should be used and only used (I’ll go into a bit more depth shortly) . Then there are other occasions that are 50/ 50’s.

Football isn’t a black and white sport, I. e. tennis (it’s either in or out) the only time it is is when the ball crosses the line and that’s why goal line tech works. Other times I. e. tackles can be argued either way. An example is Pepe and costa on Friday, Costa goes for a 50/ 50 duel with Pepe and Pepe goes down like he has been shot (pet peeve) and we know what happens next. Personally I thought that was fair as football is a contact sport and Pepe should have played to the whistle. I’ve also seen some say it was a foul. Now I except that people interpret the rules differently and that’s fine. Therefore all I think we can ask of officials is that when they make a decision they can back up their decision within the rules. My job is similar, we work within certain tolerances and when it’s outside of these we have to make a decision using our experience. So a ref has to make a call on the 50/ 50 then be able to have the expertise to back that call.

Now there are exceptions, a ref, as I have explained can make mistakes. They are humans and players can make mistakes too. So VAR should only be used when a ref clearly misses something I. e. if they missed the French handball yesterday then VAR should be used. As I’m writing this there was a review for a nothing coming together between two players. This shouldn’t be reviewed as it has no impact on the game. If they want to go down that route there should be no on the field officials and just have a bunch of people officiating on tv’s.

Referees are using it to back themselves up (anyone remember the Liverpool vs WBA game? ) when it should only be used as a fall back, if they are not confident in their decision then that is a bigger issue and maybe need more training. They go through a rigorous training regime to give them the tools to make the tough calls so they need to be brave enough to make them.

Back to the World Cup, I personally think the officiating has been good the only issue has been VAR but compared to what we watch in the EPL I would say it is of a higher standard so where are we going wrong in the premiership?

There are several issues,
We are getting less referees within the game due to social factors, who wants to work under the microscope like they do currently?
Our game is played at a faster pace so harder for a ref to see everything
We only have the English talent pool to pick from.
Everyone has an opinion (this article is proof) . But mainly due to us all having an invested interest in the games. If I’m watching Peru and Denmark for example I am far less critical on the 50/ 50’s then I would be if it was Liverpool involved.
And Differing perspectives from referees, some are stricter then others.

I try to watch my team as an impartial fan but I think most agree it’s incredibly difficult.

So how do we fix the officiating in the English game? Well I would try and open up the pool of referees, the more competition the more likely the quality goes up. Have VAR but rather than the on-field referees having control of when it’s used it is the video official themselves. They communicate only when they feel there has been a clear mistake, none of this checking for a red card because a player is rolling around because a finger has brushed his face.
Allow the referees to communicate after the game, to let us understand the thought process of getting to a decision. Referees differ from person to person some will not want heavy tackles and others will let them go, the sport is not black and white I just want a ref to be confident enough to stick by their decision (unless it’s a glaring mistake) within the rules of the game.

To sum up, we are all football fans and we get frustrated when decisions don’t go our way but it is the sport we love and it’s part and parcel of it. There are deficiencies within the officiating of games but there are solutions, it just depends if the FA are willing to try and help both the fans and officials. As we should encourage people to be referees rather than vilifying every official in the papers because he judged a 50-50 the other way.

Sorry for the long post, just scrolled through it and didn’t realise I had written so much!

1.) 17 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 16:55:54
Very long post but good read haha
The problem is technology IMO.
In every aspect of life, technology is making man lazier and lazier as time goes on because we start to rely on it instead of using our natural instincts.
it’s the same for referees and VAR. The more technology in the game the worse officiating will become as they will be falling back on it more and more and not using instincts.

Now, goal line technology is the best example of technology that works because not every competition uses the additional assistant referees on the goal line and those that do, are useless xD

But VAR is effectively taking their jobs away and you mentioned yourself about not having any refs on the field, just watching on TVs.

Referees are under intense pressure, but so too are players too and some get death threats from their own fans who sing YNWA (urg) so they should be able to deal with it.

IMO the human aspect of officiating is what makes the premier league so unpredictable (and great) . Results can go either way with 1 bad decision but don’t we all LOVE it when the decision goes our way when it shouldn’t? Then complain to hell when one goes against us xD
I was going to type more but this is getting long and I lost my train of thought haha.

2.) 17 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 18:23:13
I think that VAR seems to be working very well this WC. So far.

If there's a 'grey area' it stays as 'referee's decision' (as per in cricket reviews) .

I'm not certain this is how it works, but it looks as though the VAR team consists of a number of referees and if their decision isn't unanimous that it was a clear and obvious error, then the on-field ref's decision stands. This is sensible.

I also like that the VAR team are able to review footage while the game continues, so even though it is being used, there's only a hold up if a mistake is actually identified.

The hype around VAR and its application by refs all seems to have calmed down a bit since its introduction (i. e. LFC Vs WBA was a farce) . Personally I like it, it will get there and be a very beneficial part of the game going forwards.

3.) 17 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 19:19:32
I think it's better than not having it but it could be improved a lot. I expect in a few years none of us will have an issue with it.

4.) 17 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 20:04:00
i personally like the controversy of non computerised decisions. Life is full of mistakes and luck so I’m not sure I back VAR for it’s pure accuracy. It could pave the way to sucking the life out of football with complete accuracy. Not everyone’s point of view I understand but maybe just mine :)

5.) 17 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 23:34:11
have a ref in each half, they stay in that half, the game is so fast, and getting faster,
while this may not sound great, it would mean that each ref would just cover that half, and should be on top of the game for the 90 mins .

6.) 18 Jun 2018
17 Jun 2018 23:48:27
Ref still has to get the call right. Shown that isn't always the case today.

I prefer it though, fouls and dives we creep out the game.

7.) 18 Jun 2018
18 Jun 2018 09:18:22
We also have to limit to an extent what we expect. There will always be disagreements about what happened in football as so many of the rules are subjective, many rely on interpretation of intention etc. But if we can cut out just some of the more absolutely blatant stuff - players throwing themselves to the floor without being touched at all, offsides that refs just weren't in a position to see, nasty digs and stamps on players when the refs back is turned etc then it'll be a worthwhile experiment as long as they can figure out how to not interrupt the game too much while waiting for judgement and get the judgement quickly.