- Why did Liverpool player Robertson feel entitled to harangue the assistant referee?
- One year of spending in the PL clearly does not guarantee success.
What we now have with refereeing is a crisis: but not exactly the crisis being described by the media.
For many years allegations have been made about the fact that referees and their assistants are not as fair and equal as they might be. However such revelations have by and large been dismissed by the media as the biased talk of supporters. But as Untold has shown of late, the results that some referees oversee can be very strange and are seemingly influenced by the crowd.
Indeed when Untold did an in-depth analysis of the first 160 games in a football season we found multiple errors of refereeing, for which we had video evidence.
That situation still exists and certainly, it would seem that a number of clubs have benefitted and are benefitting from this sort of strange decision-making.
Now up until a few years ago, players playing against Arsenal knew that they could rely on the referees to show yellow and red cards to Arsenal at a far greater rate than for other clubs. To take one example from the year before Arteta started to reform the club, there were 86 yellow against Arsenal in 2019/20 compared with 38 for Liverpool that season.
So there could well have been an expectation among Liverpool players that Xhaka would be sent off in the first half, which would give them an advantage – but this time it didn’t happen. And this may well have made Liverpool players realise that normal service was not being delivered.
But there is another factor here. Liverpool are just about the least fouled team in the Premier League. Crystal Palace for example are fouled almost half as much again as Liverpool.
So why don’t other teams foul Liverpool? Of course, I can’t prove anything but the most likely explanation must be that fouling Liverpool players means harsher punishments for the opposition – yellows come out more readily. In short, fouling a Liverpool player results in more punishment than is dished out in fouling the player of any other club.
At the same time Liverpool are one of the bottom four when it comes to fouls given against their players.
So expectations arise: Liverpool will get lots of free kicks because other teams foul them, and will give away very few free kicks because Liverpool don’t foul. And as I see it this is what made the Liverpool player approach the assistant referee and berate him. Simply because he was expecting the game to be as it always is. Liverpool not seen by officials to be committing fouls, the opposition seen by officials to be committing fouls. Game after game.
There is another question here. Players are not allowed to touch an official. Assistant referees are not expected to talk to players – you just don’t see them do it – it is the referee’s job.
So when a player goes over and touches the assistant referee, what is the official supposed to do? Is he supposed to shake the player off, or just stand there are allow himself to be manhandled or wave his flag to attract the referee’s attention?
Assistant referees are not there for players to hurl abuse at – they are there to assist the referee. But referees are not there to give Liverpool home wins all the time, any more than assistants are there to be manhandled by the player.
In the end it must be the case that the guilty parties are on the one hand the Liverpool player, and on the other the PGMO who have allowed Liverpool free reign in home games for the past 20 years by allowing themselves to be influenced by the home crowd. Indeed as the home crowd has seen itself become more and more influential over results so it has become more and more demanding that Liverpool should and must always win at home.
PGMO should look at the figures of referees and of clubs, and review the research into how the crowd influences refereeing decisions. And then they should be giving training to their staff members in how to avoid being influenced by the home crowd.
The player should get the ten match ban for manhandling the referee and the linesman should be sent for re-training to remind him how to respond to assaults.
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