By Walter Broeckx
I was planning to write an article about the death of the referee in the US but then I saw that Don McMahon had already written a great article about this. I then was starting to write a comment but found out that it was something that was both involving the un-red card run of Manchester United and my article on that subject and the death of a referee all in once.
The comment turned out so long I took it back and wrote an article about where both things come together.
Because in a way there is a link between the death of this referee and some things that happened during the no-red card run in favour of United players in the PL.
I will ask you to go back in time with me and relive the game Swansea – MU.
During the game between Swansea-MU we all remember the near-death experience as SAF called it when a Swansea defender kicked the ball against the head of RVP. Much was made about that incident. Images were analysed and specialists came from left, right, front and back to give their view. For me this was just a kick of the ball in the whistle incident.
But what nobody noticed (except me and a few others) was what happened when RVP came back from the death a split second later. Because in the heat of things he went up to the referee and punched him hard on his shoulder and shouted things at him. You could see that it was an aggressive push.
When I saw it first my first reaction was: surely the ref will send him off with a red card and the FA will ban him for months.
But nothing was done. NOTHING! Despite this being an aggression towards the ref. A clear aggression.
I then wrote in a comment about this incident that such “bad example” in many ways was bad for referees all over the world.
If RVP can attack a referee unpunished then why couldn’t John Smith or Jack Jones do the same? RVP got away without red card without a ban, so it is fine to attack. And what is the difference between a punch and a push? In the heat of the moment it is just a small difference.
Of course it was weak from the ref on the field in Swansea to let it go. He should have done the right thing and give RVP a red card. But you know refs don’t do it like that. In this past season they have not done anything that might have made SAF angry.
And the FA and PL well in the hands of people who are linked with MU or are openly supporters of MU did nothing of course.
The sad thing is letting such incidents go leads to more aggression towards referees on each field all over the world. And then things get out of hand. And all wash their hands in innocence.
But in a way there is blood on the hands of RVP for his aggression on the referee like he did. And in a way there is blood on the hands of the ref who allowed it to happen unpunished.
And in a way there is blood on the hands of the FA and the PL and the PGMOL (who should have reacted in public and demand punishment and protection for their ref) for doing nothing.
At the end of the day it all comes to this: does the FA, the PL and the PGMOL really do all they can to not only make sure that the game is done in a fair way? And are they doing all they can to make sure that referees are respected and protected during the game? Because protecting the referee in the PL on the field by all means is protecting the referees all over the world.
The PL likes to portray itself as the world wide league that is followed more than any other. Which will be near to the truth. So they must realise that their responsibility is far bigger than those of all the other leagues. If the PL would act strongly when a ref is attacked or suffers from aggression from a player then it will give a signal to the whole world.
And maybe players all over the world will think before they try to copycat the wrong behaviour of players in the PL and in this case from one of the biggest stars in the PL.
That is a responsibility the FA, the PL and the PGMOL is carrying and should be aware of. You cannot claim and want to be the biggest in the world and not take on the extra responsibility it brings.
Finally for those who might say that we attack the referees on this site: yes we do. But we never allow aggression towards the ref. We even agree with yellow cards for dissent even when the ref was wrong in his decision on the field and one could even feel sympathy for the player who tells the ref he is wrong.
What we do is judge the ref on their decision: was it right or was it wrong. And refs can be pointed at their mistakes. And we are all in favour of refs being punished for making too many mistakes. But that is a process that contined off the field. On the field the ref is untouchable. Outside we can analyse his performance just as we do with players.
But never have we done anything that could lead to aggression towards a ref. In fact if the FA, the PL and PGMOL would do as we have suggested on many occasions in the past there would be no need to attack a referee in the PL at all. Things could be settled in a professional way with immediate video replay and other things we have suggested. No need to attack the ref then.
But well maybe for FIFA, UEFA, the FA, the PL, the PGMOL the chance of people having an argument in the pub after the game has more value than the life of this poor ref. The ref who also is someone’s child, the ref who is also someone’s partner, the ref who is also someone’s father. But let that not be a reason to lose one second of sleep for the big officials who ru(i)n the game.
- FFP: The legal challenge begins
- So what is wrong with PL refs…a case study: Moss
- IN MEMORIAM of the referee who died from a punch received during a youth match
- 560 days…a world record unseen and previously unimagined
- How clubs (and football authorities) fall apart (part 93)
The most detailed study of Premier League Refs ever:The referees 2013.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Royal Arsenal: from the Common to the Manor. Coming next.
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions – just what are the refs up to this season?
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society