By Walter Broeckx
One of our readers asked the following question after one of my ref articles. I will try to answer the parts in bold.
Ref Reviewer #? It would be kind and instructive and de-mystifying to readers hear to have you weigh in on some questions. Refreshingly, you write: there are “moments when you cant see a blatant foul under your nose.” Fine, but how is this possible? Is this down to fatigue? What goes into a slump like this? What happens to a ref when this occurs say more than once; or more than once in the same game?
This said, do you feel that there should be ref press conferences after a game? Do you feel that PGMO ref reports should be made public the week after every game? Is there any training that is based on such mistakes? When does it take place? Any mid-season adjustments? After the season? Is there post-game reviewing by the ref and his peers for quality control purposes? If so, please describe. If not, why not?
I think it’s due time that our Ref Reviewers, whose work is appreciated, be asked to help us understand what really goes on. If this means undoing the black wall of silence, please do and help us to learn what is going on as much as you can or will. Cheers.
In some countries the refs talk to the press after a game. Holland is such a country. I have mentioned before that refs come to the camera’s after the game look at the images and admit a mistake.
I do think this is something that can only bring benefit to the refs and also brings more understanding for refs who have made a mistake. It is painful of course for the ref in question to see that you made a mistake. And when you then can look in the camera and apologise for the mistake you made it will not change the outcome of the game. It will not change the points in the league table. But it changes the whole perspective for the supporters.
They can still feel angry about the mistake but when they see that the ref is feeling embarrassed about his mistake it eases the pain a bit. The supporters know that it was wrong but see the regret and see that the ref made his apology. So in a way the incident gets closed for the supporters and for the ref.
For the ref coming out for their mistake is also something that will make you stronger in the long run. Nobody likes it to be pointed at after a game. And no ref will like to admit his mistakes in front of the audience. So what will this ref do in his next game? He will make damn sure he doesn’t have to go through it again. And he will do all and everything to avoid having to face the media again.
So the refs will want to improve their game and make as few mistakes as possible. And isn’t this what it’s all about?
It also is very helpful for the organisation that is following the refs. If a ref has openly admitted his mistake the organisation can see if he needs punishment or not. You could install a system like with the yellow cards. 5 yellow cards is a game suspension. So you could give refs a game suspension after a number of mistakes. Again it will be an incentive for the refs to prevent such a suspension.
Because when a ref has made to many such mistakes and (let us say) after 2 suspensions they could consider demoting the ref and put him back to the lower leagues. And it will also help the public understand better why a ref has been demoted or why not.
In some countries there are reviews as we do them over here, of each game in the highest division. And they give the ref points (like we do over here) and at the end of the season the ref must have a score of 70% or will lose his status and possible lose money the next season.
The refs are informed about the score they got so they know if they are on the right track or not.
In my country refs also can have free help from a sports psychologist when they don’t feel comfortable with their own performances. As for a football player confidence is important for the ref also and the aim is to help restore confidence when things are not going as good as planned.
Last year I asked all the European football federation a few questions about this and how they do such things. The received answers was….zero. Apart from one federation who said that they could not answer those questions to me because they had agreed to not answer to such questions. My plans to write a study on referees in Europe had received a major blow with the non-answers from the football federations. I still dream about it but I have hit the black wall of silence myself last year.
Thus I know how the situation is in Belgium because of my inside knowledge but how other countries deal with this is a well hidden secret as no football federation is willing to answer any questions about the refs.
So in Belgium there is post match reviewing and it would be a bloody shame if this wouldn’t happen in England.
With the demoting of Stuart Atwell recently I think there is such a system and every now and then it seems to work. But it brings up the question why it only works with a relative young and inexperienced ref. And not with “top” refs who make “mistake” after mistake and get no punishment.
Most things in the referee world are done behind closed doors. Nothing is made public apart from the odd exception. And I don’t know for you but I always feel very suspicious about things that are done in private rooms. Football is a public sport. Football is from the public and for the public. And yet the things about the person who is the most important person on the field are all done in a secret way.
You can have a game without Rooney. You can have a game without Van Persie. You can have a game without Messi. But you cannot have a game without the ref. The ref is the most important person in each football game. And we don’t get any information about this person. Questions are not answered. Nothing is made public. And this leads to this all important question:
Is there something to hide?
Our latest Untold Ref Review is… Manchester City 3 Fulham 0
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