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Victory Through Harmony
By Walter Broeckx
In my previous articles I showed you that the level of the refs in the EPL is below par. Now I will try to give a few reasons on to why some things might be wrong.
But a word of warning: don’t read read these reasons and think this is a total explanation for everything. The reasons for having an unacceptable game can vary from ref to ref a bit. And most of the time there can be more than one reason as to why a ref does not get to the required level that one should expect from professional refs in the best league in the world.
Of course some of the reasons are closely linked with each other. And there could be other factors affecting bad performances than just saying: the refs are bent. No there is much more in to it and this is an attempt to give you some insight in the problems refs can face when doing their job. In short, some reasons for bad performances are down to the refs, others not.
To be complete I had to write it down in to different articles. At the end of the series I will make a short resumé of the reasons again and some of the solutions. Because pointing at problems is one thing, giving the answer to solve the problem is another thing.
1. Not enough refs
So in the best league in the world, the EPL, there are only 16 refs to do the games. As there are 10 games each weekend those 16 have to do a lot of games. Of course a manager can rotate his players a bit but the refs have to stand there up to 3 times a week.
And believe me doing a game of football as a ref takes a lot out of the body. We all like to see how many kilometres a player has run in a game but when they checked it in the Champions League the man who runs the most in a game is usually the ref.
But if you only have 16 refs you will have refs who will have to run each weekend and also in midweek.
So there should be more refs in the EPL. I think that you need at least some 30 refs in the schedule in order to have a good league. Because as I will point out in my next item getting tired as a ref makes your decision making bad.
The fact that there are only 16 refs in the EPL and many of them are what I would call a bit over aged in fact. I know how I could run when I was 40. And now near to my 50th birthday I know that to do the same I really have to work harder, train harder. And even then my body lets me know that the best years are a bit behind me. But those older refs have to be ready for it each week and midweek and do their games.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and their General Manager, Mike Riley is responsible for this situation. It is his job to get more refs in the EPL. You cannot tell me that there a no other people in England who are good and fit enough to do games in the EPL. But maybe it is that they are not considered good enough in some other ways. I will come back to this later in one of my following points I picked and you will see what I mean.
So the solution for this= find more refs
And the low number of refs leads to another problem and that is the next thing on my list.
When do you drive at your best? When you are fit and awake or when you are tired and need a rest? The first you will say. When do you perform your best at work? When you are half sleeping hanging over your desk or when you feel fresh and bright? The first you will say.
So when will a ref have is best game? When he is fresh and strong or when he is tired and weak? Of course you will agree with me that it will be the first.
And you are right. There are of course exceptions to the rule but most refs will have the best part of the game when they are fresh and fit. Their reactions to events is sharp and they will see the fouls better. They will react quicker and think quicker. In fact this is just as for most football players.
I know from my own experience that to have a good game for the whole game you must be fresh and fit during the whole game. So you must train to be in a good condition. Every ref that wants to perform well must train. Be it on his own or in a group, just do it. You will benefit from this as a ref.
I know that in Belgium the refs in the Jupiler League are constantly monitored on this. They have trainings which they must attend with the other refs and the other days they train on their own. And they have all kind of devices that measure the heart beat that they must wear when they train. And when they come to the group training those devices are linked to a computer to check that they have done enough in the week.
They get all kind of schedules with them to work on their fitness. I can only hope that this is the same in England.
So training is very important but what also is very important is: rest. The day after a game you need rest or some cool-down running at the most. But I’m not a doctor so I will not try to bore you with all kind of terms which I don’t know.
But as you have seen in point 1 because of the shortage of refs they are simply not getting much rest. And so the refs do their games, day in day out. Run the most on the pitch and it will tire them. And from the moment they get tired, their decision making will suffer from it.
So a big part of making wrong decisions can be down to just a tired human body combined with a tired human brain. An excellent partner ship to make bad decisions.
But here I come back to point one as there is no other option than to get the same refs doing the games and more and more and more.
So because of the shortage of refs the fatigue creeps in and the decision making goes down.
The solution? Simple and like in the first item I mentioned: get more refs. So again I have to point my finger to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and their General Manager, Mike Riley
The series will continue. More problems and solutions to come.
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