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Proposals for better refereeing part 3

By Walter Broeckx

In our earlier articles we have already talked about some proposals to improve refereeing and football. Things to make football fairer for all. Part 1 can be found here and part two can be found here

So on we go with the proposals and again the proposal is written like this and more explanation is given like this and then finally my thoughts on the idea are written in the normal letter type.

7) Video replay. Since the clock is stopped it should be fairly easy to institute this especially for major decisions. It is patently ludicrous to think that a referee has diminished gravitas if it is seen that his initial decision was incorrect. What is more important the game itself and its result or the pride of an official? This should be handled through a league office.

I have said this hundreds if not thousand times by now. In many countries refs are demanding this themselves. Holland is such a country and Belgium also. In Belgium they have asked permission to FIFA to use it. There has been no answer yet. But I can imagine that FIFA will say no.  As they do like to keep the game in the middle ages.

About the point about a ref losing his pride I think this is the wrong way of looking at it. In fact referees are human and can make mistakes. If all involved are aware of that there should be no problem.

Let us take a penalty decision. And let us say it is a 50/50 call. Was it a dive or was it a trip?  Now in this case the ref will try to play it safe and do nothing. But if there is a time clock and the ref has doubt it is very easy. He blows his whistle and the clock stops. He then asks the video ref to review the incident and let him know that he thinks it was a dive/foul. The video ref consults his evidence and can tell the ref the outcome. And then the ref will award the penalty or in case of a dive a free kick for the other team and a yellow card against the diver and put him in the sin bin for 5 minutes.

I do think that each penalty or goal should be reviewed on the spot to make sure that it all was according to the rules.  People should go home in the knowledge that at least these decisions were as correct as can be.

And the fact that refs might have made a wrong decision at first is not really a big deal. As an honest ref hates to have made the wrong decision on the field he will be all too happy to know that his wrong decision will not influence who will win the match. AN HONEST REF I said.  In fact I have questions about any ref who would oppose being helped by video replay. Those are the refs that maybe have a hidden agenda.

I know that when I walk on the field I only want to make 100% correct decisions. I know it doesn’t work always that way. I make mistakes. Honest mistakes as I couldn’t give a damn about who wins or loses the matches I do.  But if I made a mistake that would change a match I would be glad to put it right and be overruled by the video ref.

I find my pride in trying to make the right decisions.  The only holy grail in football should be : getting the decisions correct. No matter how.

8) All suspensions should be accompanied by a detailed explanation as to the reasoning behind the suspension

This is as simple as can be. The same punishment for the same offence should be the ground rule. I rather would like to see certain fixed punishments. Two footed tackle 3 matches, professional foul 1 match, hitting someone with a fist 5 weeks, hitting someone with a flat hand palm 3 weeks, excessive use of force 4 weeks, ….fill it in as you like.

That way players will know their punishment in fact even before leaving the field.

But I would also bring in extra punishment because of the outcome. Let us take the Flamini red card against Southampton. This would be a 3 match suspension. But if he had hit the other player and injured him his punishment should have been doubled. And in case of serious and long term injury the punishment could be even multiplied with 3 or 4.

Let us say a Shawcross tackle starting with a standard of 4 weeks but multiplied with at least 3 because the other player had a long term injury. So that would mean a total of 12 weeks. Still very cheep compared to the player with a broken leg of course but it would bring some sense in some crazy players their mind. One could hope.

9) Increase the number of referees and where they are from in England.

La Liga has 20 or so referees and a serie A has more than 20 (22) with almost the same number doing a couple of games to get seasoning. The Bundesliga has 22. The premiership has 18 but three of them have done 5 or fewer matches. Not enough variety. And their regional origins are hugely biased toware the North and the Midlands.

Well if I haven’t said this ten times I will have probably said it 100 times.  There are not enough referees in the PL. We had some referees already 3 times this season (I think even two refs in that case) and we have played 23 matches. That means that we have had 9 points in the hands of one ref.  Last season we had a bad ref for us having 18 points in his hands alone.

This is something so obvious that it beggars belief that the PGMOL still can get away with only a handful of refs and all of them from the North and the Midlands.  As I have covered this a lot over the years I will not repeat it any more.

So this was it. 9 proposals that would change football drastically. But it also would improve football completely. And most important thing of it all: it would make football a more fair game. Fair for all involved.

And he who doesn’t want football to be completely fair should have a look at himself. Everything is changing all the time. So why shouldn’t football change?

Harrumph.

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21 comments to Proposals for better refereeing part 3

  • Mark

    All three are good ideas! I think most ref would welcome video replay. It helps them get the call right.
    They have to put some kind of review process into especially vicious fouls. The MLS can take action even if the ref took action in the game. The EPL rules about this are stupid.
    I asked if the EPL has an refs of color or clear ethnic background (Indian, West Indies)? I don’t recall seeing any. It seems to be all white men with typical English names. Yet England has loads of Indians, Chinese, Africans living in the country.

    I wonder if there should not be a full-time career path for refs. The FA could recruit from players that fail to make the grade but are good athletes and able to keep pace with the game. Then work them and train them in lower levels until they have the skills and abilities to do the job full time.

    I think if a set of refs who could do all officiating jobs went to the game and then using lots decided who does lines, who is on the field, who keeps time, who does video review, who makes notes on the game and the officiating, who handles subs and manager complaints, it would further protect against manipulation of the refs by gambling. The gambling folk would not know who will do what job.

  • Ronnie Lott

    blimey
    positive discrimination again?

    kevin pietersen could have played for sth africa

  • Pete

    @Mark,

    I recall Uriah Rennie and also a ref of Asian ethnicity from the West Midlands – but neither of them have reffed in the Premier League for quite a while.

    One point regarding Moss, from the ref preview which I didn’t comment on at the time, but he apparently has a full time(?) job as a school teacher. Subsequent to David Elleray (also a school teacher, who insisted on retaining that job), I didn’t believe it was allowed for PGMOL refs to have other jobs as well? The issue there of course is that referees would be under even more pressure not to be dropped from the pro list as otherwise they would become unemployed!

    Perhaps one reason for the regional imbalance is that £70,000 (if that is still the annual salary) is quite a lot of money in the north but less so in the south?

    Peter.

  • Ugandan Goon

    So Michael Oliver is the ref for Liverpool v Arsenal and Mark Clattenburg for Arsenal v Man Utd— Orbinho (@Orbinho) February 3, 2014

    Finally hit the big time,gooners!

  • Ugandan Goon

    Hey Walter,
    just in case you run out of ways to err…

    .@HardGodDamnWork Talking of keyboard warriors, this anonymous sentiment looks familiar… pic.twitter.com/RGUMuSU5MT— Godless Spellchecker (@GSpellchecker) February 3, 2014

    Found lying around the internet..

  • colario

    Technology has made it possible that we don’t need a ref in the middle. We need a game official to supervise the players as to when to start and in the case of free kicks etc where players should stand and when to enter the field of play that apart techo can do the rest and for all to see. Its the only way we are going to see fair play.

  • WalterBroeckx

    By coincidence I just read in the paper in Belgium that FIFA is examining the possibility of using a time penalty after a yellow card and to use a video ref during games.

    I’m not pushing it that far that Fifa has read Untold and o ur articles we just published this week;)

  • Sammy The Snake

    HT ManC 0 – 1 Chelsea

    What result do we Gunners want?

    A Chelsea win will put us clear by 2 points but it would energize Chelsea. Morinho ego will boost after beating City twice. City might fall off their perch…

    A draw is nice, but our lead is cut to 1. Chelsea remain hopeful half hearted lay.

    A City win will send us second, but put Chelsea almost out of the race. What are we wishing for?!?! Please help.

  • man shity loss as even if we draw we can still be on the same points

  • Sammy The Snake

    Marinho’s ego has just been inflated by a 1000%.
    TOTL!

  • Gord

    In the BBC commentary is:
    > All that needs to be said about that yellow card is Arteta v Palace. Identical and he received a red there…

    I believe the Chelsea/ManCity item it refers to is:
    > 21:47: YELLOW CARD- Man City 0-1 Chelsea

    > Chelsea want red. Matija Nastasic is caught under a high ball as the ball is cleared from a City corner and appears to grab a handful of Oscar’s shirt as the Brazilain spins in behind him. Eden Hazard was in support as well, but Mike Dean chooses to issue only yellow.

    The person that brought up the Arteta example I believe is bring up a red card that should never have been issued. Yes?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Dean has now made it clear that the letter of the law only apply against Arsenal players. If that would have been Koscielny he would have been sent off. Like Dean did against Newcastle many moons ago.

  • para

    @Va Cong
    We do not want to be on same points really, they have a huge goal difference.
    //
    Yea, Chelsea winning was good, and City just gave up after half time, except for a little flurry. A solid defence, that which we also have, was enough to stop ManC, and were they hit on the counter. Next up the Pool.Want to win this for sure.

  • Yeah Para I meant the cushions better so we can play sexy football without thinking to much just feel!!

  • You are right Walter. So there is an even distribution of refs on contracts they are either on the chavski network or manshitty? And then theres the AAA network who is funded by hmmm…

  • Yassin

    @Sammy,
    Perfect score, this will boost chelsea, buy there is always a WestHam type of team to stop them, but City is Harder to be stopped by those. Now its up to us to get though the next round, and maybe we could put the points u wished for betweem both teams by our hands.
    Come on Wenger, fire us to the title

  • Andrei

    Off-topic but very interesting read:

    Man City release controversial accounts
    http://www.financialfairplay.co.uk/latest-news.php/latest-news/man-city-release-controversial-accounts

  • OMGArsenal

    Walter…..one point already mentioned but also a major improvement if applied would be to not only increase the number of refs from 18 to 22 BUT to increase their salaries from the 70K or so to twice that at least, and have a bonus scheme where those with outstanding performance records would receive even more.
    It is incredible to see that officials whose influence on the game is SO crucial are paid per year what some players earn in one half of a game! I remember officiating in the NASL and we were paid about 250 USD per game, while some of the players were earning this per minute….we made fewer mistakes than them, ran longer distances than them and certainly took more stick than them, especially in big games. I don’t know how many players have had beer poured over them during a game, have been soaked to the skin by spitting mobs, have been locked in their dressing-room to protect them from physical harm, have had threatening phone calls to their families and kids, etc. And all this for 250USD per game? I am sure the stuffed suits in FIFA,EUFA and the FA would never accept such conditions for their working environment…so why should we?

  • Gord

    @OMGArsenal

    You refereed at a much higher level than I did, and Walter and the other referees as well. My claim to having useful knowledge is being a perfectionist (and I am an engineer, and autistic).

    I am on your side on this. I think EPL referees are not paid enough. But, (picking a number out of a hat) we pay EPL referees 20,000 pounds per game where they are the referee, their income for a year would be in the neighbourhood 800,000 pounds. I gather for many EPL teams, players at the lowest pay level are nowhere near 20,000 per game, and there are players at over 10 times this.

    EPL referees are supposedly better. Let’s drop down a division. I don’t think the Championship could afford anywhere near 20,000 per game for the referee. What fraction of teams promoted to the EPL stay there beyond a year? At some point my statistics adventures will give me a number, I don’t have one now. Let’s say it is 20%. So, let’s say the championship pays its referees 4,000 pounds per game. And we need to cascade this to the community level at some point. Is there incentive for anyone to referee at the community level? This particular “rule”, does allow for referees to advance, and there is probably significant pay raises at most levels.

    There is a hierarchy of leagues, and this gives a hierarchy of pay levels for referees (and officials in general).

    The EPL (and PGMOL) is reluctant to have a sufficient number of referees on their roster. So occassionally, teams see referees from lower levels (in the case of the EPL, Championship referees): referees do bad things and don’t get assigned games, referees get injured, referees are unavailble for what ever reason. In any event, referees from the Championship occassionally do games.

    If PGMOL feels it needs to have a CEO who is an ex-CEO of an EPL team (and will command a large salary), you can be sure there are MBAs and Accountants in the organization looking to screw things up they way they are taught to do. And so, Mike Riley is interviewing/negotiating with someone to become a new EPL referee (possibly just for a single game).

    Mike Riley: Yes, the required pay (by the FA) is 20,000 pounds per game. We interpret that that to be, if you ONLY do 1 game, we have to pay you 20,000 pounds. If you want to do more than 1 EPL game, we need to negotiate a “volume discount”.

    And so, while it might be theoretically possible for some referee to be close to a million pounds per year, the individually negotiated “volume discounts” for each referee (I presume they are all viewed as contractors, not employees) will see most EPL referees that referees most game-weeks would not get anywhere near the 800,000 pound number I invented.

    But, what such an environment might do, is if the EPL needs a referee for a game and none on the roster are available, and so they have to promote a Championship referee for the game, is that referee gets 20,000 pounds for doing a single game.

    That referee could do well, and be asked to future games. That referee could do poorly, and never get a game again.
    The referee could produce results contrary to the expectations of Mike Riley. The question then is, who determines who to ask to fill in for a game, if no EPL referee is available?

    It’s all invented. I put numbers in there just to give people something to work with.

  • Menace

    Valentin (in part3) had a good structure of preference. However, the refereeing pool is primary and should be two independent suppliers of match officials. The officials must have all the necessary qualifications to comply with set standards. Referees must be selected by lot and allocated to set dates and matches by number not by team. This should be published in advance. The locality of referee origin is not an issue if there are two or more suppliers.

    Prior to every match referees must swear an oath that they will officiate fairly without bias within the Laws of the Game. This will ensure a level of ‘spiritual honesty’ that is not currently seen. All players must address the referee as Sir. This will ensure respect for the official.

    My opinion is that the current number of officials is sufficient and the flag bearing assistants should wave the flag whenever they see a foul. It is the referee’s prerogative to allow play to continue as advantage with both hands indicating the direction of advantage. When advantage is over, the referee should indicate it by calling and by the lifting of one hand as in the award of an indirect free kick but without a whistle to indicate a foul. The 4th official will have to keep time for injuries and for returning players to the pitch. All this should be displayed to the spectator on the scoreboard.

    Players using the arm for elevation must ensure their elbows do not contact their opponent. The offence will draw an automatic financial penalty from the player (and his agent!!) irrespective if t seen by match officials or caught on camera.

    Dissent should only be the prerogative of the captains. Players should be sin binned for 5mins for dissent and for a select set of fouls indicated by a yellow card. Yellow card offences should not impact following matches, but could incur financial penalties for the player (and his agent!!!!). Referees must be able to give captains satisfactory explanations. Captains not satisfied with the referees explanation will raise their hands to show discontent or clap to show acceptance. Discontent will have to be explained by the team of officials jointly as they are in communication during the whole match. The club and the FA will have the right to costs / compensation for incorrect decisions.

    Referees must stop matches when a player is injured. The player must leave the field immediately if able and will be allowed back on immediately after treatment. Players who linger and are treated on the pitch will only be allowed back after 2 minutes of treatment completion. If the injured player was fouled, the fouling player will also have to leave the pitch for an additional minute. If the injured player cannot return, the fouling player will have to wait 10 min to return, even if the injured player is substituted.

    Time wasting by goalkeepers should result in fouls and penalties if the infringement is in the box. It makes it simple and will have an immediate effect. Throw ins must be taken by the closest relevant player to the ball within 20 seconds (failure to comply will result in throw to opponents).. Corner kicks must be taken with the base of the ball placed inside the quadrant. Goal kicks must be taken with the base of the ball inside the 6yd box.

    The wall following a free kick is the responsibility of the defending team and must be set up and distant within 1 min. following which the kick might be taken and any defender not 10yards from the ball be penalised and the kick moved 10 yards in any direction by the free kick taker. Once the ball is placed on the pitch, there is no opportunity to adjust its position.

  • Gord

    There is a web page from Liverpool, talking that Liverpool is not getting a full allocation of tickets, because a safety committee thinks there are crowd safety concerns. So Liverpool gets 5168 tickets instead of 9000. LiverpoolEcho.co.uk is the site.

    On that page, is a picture from the Liverpool-Bournemouth game, where the goaltender has a solid grip on an attacker’s jersey. How is that NOT a red card? The link is to the image, hopefully the link doesn’t rotate. Or maybe that image is a permanent part of the page?

    http://i4.liverpoolecho.co.uk/incoming/article6595735.ece/ALTERNATES/s1023/465037535_10-6595735.jpg