By Walter Broeckx
Won’t you please, please help me.
This was the honest reaction of Bernie “Kevin” Blom after the game Twente – PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie.
What happened in this game between the number 2 and 1 at the start of the game and where the number 2 Twente could overtake PSV if they won? In the first half a corner for Twente was headed towards the PSV goal. The PSV keeper was beaten but on the goal line stood PSV player Jermaine Lens who kept the ball out of the goal somehow. On TV it was clear to see that he did it with his hands.
The ref was standing in his normal position where the instructions tell us to stand. But because of all the bodies between him and the player keeping the ball out of the goal he could not see it from his position.
The assistant covering the goal line was standing right on the goal line to see if the ball crossed the line but because the defender stopped the ball right on the line, the goal post was blocking his view and he could determine that the ball didn’t cross the line but he could not see if it was blocked by the hands or with the body.
So here we had it, the most important game of the season in Holland and a blatant mistake by the ref and his assistant. Not a deliberate mistake but nevertheless a mistake because the rules were broken and Twente didn’t get the penalty they should have got and PSV could stay on the pitch with 11 men.
At the end of the game it didn’t matter as Twente won the game 2-0 and the not given penalty didn’t have an effect on the final outcome. But imagine that PSV would have won 0-1 with a goal scored by Lens who should have been red carded?
But as this was in Holland the TV and the refs were able to come out in the open with such things. So Ref Blom came in front of the camera looked at the images and said that he really didn’t see it. But that if he had seen it he would have given a penalty and a red card against the PSV player. But like I explained before, both the assistant and the ref couldn’t see it.
So what could have prevented such a situation? A 4th ref?
Now the fourth referee who is there and who was there at the time has a few things to and they are even written down:
The Role of the Fourth Official
- ….Take over…
- … administrative duties ….
- ….assisting with the substitution procedures ….
- …supervises the replacement footballs, where required….
- …to check the equipment of substitutes before they enter…..
- He must indicate to the referee when the wrong player is cautioned because of mistaken identity or when a player is not sent off having been seen to be given a second caution or when violent conduct occurs out of the view of the referee and assistant referees. The referee, however, retains the authority to decide on all points connected with play.
- After the match, the fourth official must submit a report to the appropriate authorities on any misconduct or other incident that has occurred out of the view of the referee and his assistants. The fourth official must advise the referee and his assistants of any report being made.
- He has the authority to inform the referee of irresponsible behaviour of any occupant of the technical area.
So even when the 4th ref could have seen it, he cannot interfere with such a decision. Stopping the ball on the goal line is not a violent conduct out of the view. It is a point connected with play.
Would a 5th or 6th assistant have made any difference? No it wouldn’t have made any difference because that assistant also would have been on the blind side of things and his view also would have been blocked by the goal post and the player who handled the ball.
And after the game ref Blom said in an interview on TV that he was disgusted by the situation because you want to do it the right way and you feel very bad about it when as a ref you get it wrong. He said he would have a very bad and sleepless night about it.
On the question what can be done to prevent such things the ref said: “Video evidence”. He said : “We are demanding video evidence for years now but this is something out of our control”.
Now I can understand that FIFA/UEFA and the FA don’t want to listen to Untold. Who are they? would be their reply. Fair enough. And then they come up with another “respect” campaign for the ref. Again fair enough as there has to be some respect for the ref.
HOWEVER IF THEY DEMAND RESPECT FOR THE REF WHY DON’T THEY SHOW SOME RESPECT FOR THE REF THEMSELVES?
It is a difficult job being a ref and yet honest refs who want to do a good job, need all the help they can get. So wouldn’t it be a great sign of respect from FIFA/UEFA and the FA to listen to the refs? Wouldn’t it be great if FIFA/UEFA and FA say: “Now listen everyone, the refs asked us to introduce the use of video evidence for some things and to help the refs we will use it from now on”. THAT WOULD BE AN ULTIMATE SIGN FROM RESPECT FROM THE FOOTBALL AUTHORITIES TOWARDS THE REFS.
But for some reason the football authorities refuse to help the refs. And by refusing them the help the honest refs ask, they expose the refs to abuse, swearing and even violent attacks. It is the football authorities that are responsible for abusing the refs in a way. It is them that are responsible that every year they have to start again with a “respect the ref” campaign.
This all could be avoided if they would listen to their own refs. So FIFA/UEFA and FA if you really want respect for the refs it is about time you show some respect to the referees yourselves. Help the refs on the field in doing their job in a correct way. It will make the life of a referee less difficult if he knows he can get help when he could not see a thing. It will make the players less angry with the ref when the players know that there is someone watching the images and can correct the ref if something went wrong. It will make managers less angry and the abuse of angry words towards ref will become an exception. And it will make the fans happier if they know that all has been done to prevent human errors as much as possible.
So you wouldn’t need any respect campaigns anymore because people will be aware that all that can be done has been done to come to a fair final result of the game.
So you up there in your ivory tower at the top of the football pyramids: SHOW SOME RESPECT TO THE HONEST REFS AND LISTEN TO THEIR DEMANDS!
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