By Tony Attwood
Of course having a bent foreign referee overseeing a match full of foreigners in a foreign place with a crowd made up of foreigners isn’t exactly big time news in England. Rather the scenes of BT Sprout commentators being ordered by the producer to get up and leap about, (instead of wonder what on earth the referee, and what appeared to be his Barcelona chums, were doing), have made it into the press ever since.
But a petition demanding that Barcelona’s Champions League second leg match with PSG be replayed has gained over 100,000 signatures online which is interesting. Not because Uefa would do anything about it – they dare not of course – but because it is actually there. Until now there might be comments but here the issue is much more in the open – the complainants want the game replayed because, they claim, Deniz Aytekin was either incompetent, or had been bought.
The Guardian has been very open in its criticism. The Telegraph is less willing to take the leap into the unknown world of suggesting a Uefa ref in a high profile match might be “mistaken” in some of his decision making and so use their usual tactic of trying to be the measured voice of reason, telling us what others are saying:
“Aytekin was heavily criticised for his performance in the Nou Camp after he gave two controversial penalties for Barcelona and turning down PSG’s appeals for a spot-kick when Javier Mascherano slid in on Angel Di Maria,” is their approach.
You can see the petition here, and there should be a button top right to translate it if your Spanish it not up to much.
There are also tales around that the referee who took charge of Barcelona’s extraordinarily dubious 6-1 Champions League win may be removed from further Champs League matches. However since these reports begin with the phrase, “Reports in Spain claim…” it is not a bad idea to get out the sodium chloride and pinch it when considering the tale.
Aytekin did all the things that we would expect a referee who has been bribed to do. That doesn’t mean he was bribed but if he was not it is fair to ask, “why was he so error strewn?” Of course this is what we ask all the time, but just because the question is getting tedious, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask it any more.
His comment was, “Whether that particular case was an injustice or not, we can leave it to the judgement of the referee,” before he continued…
“We saw was an incredible football match, whatever the result would have been at the end. This shows that football is really a fantastic game. When you feel you have seen everything, something else comes along. It’s just amazing and incredible.
“We have to really be careful in the International Football Association Board if we want to touch the rules, because football is such an incredible game.
“In this case, I don’t know if it was a clear mistake or not. But in future, when there are clear mistakes, this will be corrected by the video assistant referee so we can make sure decisive matches are not decided by mistakes made in good faith by the referee.”
That does not sound promising. But the mere fact that people are at long last talking about the issue is good. One of the things that may help those of us who seek change in refereeing is the fact that bad refereeing has been going on for so long it is possible some of them have forgotten what proper refereeing looks like.
Spanish league table…
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.
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