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Time to support the respect campaign… for all involved

By Walter Broeckx

Won’t you please, please help me.

This was the honest reaction of Bernie “Kevin” Blom after the game Twente – PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie.

What happened in this game between the number 2 and 1 at the start of the game and where the number 2 Twente could overtake PSV if they won? In the first half a corner for Twente was headed towards the PSV goal. The PSV keeper was beaten but on the goal line stood PSV player Jermaine Lens who kept the ball out of the goal somehow. On TV it was clear to see that he did it with his hands.

The ref was standing in his normal position where the instructions tell us to stand. But because of all the bodies between him and the player keeping the ball out of the goal he could not see it from his position.

The assistant covering the goal line was standing right on the goal line to see if the ball crossed the line but because the defender stopped the ball right on the line, the goal post was blocking his view and he could determine that the ball didn’t cross the line but he could not see if it was blocked by the hands or with the body.

So here we had it, the most important game of the season in Holland and a blatant mistake by the ref and his assistant. Not a deliberate mistake but nevertheless a mistake because the rules were broken and Twente didn’t get the penalty they should have got and PSV could stay on the pitch with 11 men.

At the end of the game it didn’t matter as Twente won the game 2-0 and the not given penalty didn’t have an effect on the final outcome. But imagine that PSV would have won 0-1 with a goal scored by Lens who should have been red carded?

But as this was in Holland the TV and the refs were able to come out in the open with such things. So Ref Blom came in front of the camera looked at the images and said that he really didn’t see it. But that if he had seen it he would have given a penalty and a red card against the PSV player. But like I explained before, both the assistant and the ref couldn’t see it.

So what could have prevented such a situation? A 4th ref?

Now the fourth referee who is there and who was there at the time has a few things to and they are even written down:

The Role of the Fourth Official

  • ….Take over…
  • … administrative duties ….
  • ….assisting with the substitution procedures ….
  • …supervises the replacement footballs, where required….
  • …to check the equipment of substitutes before they enter…..
  • He must indicate to the referee when the wrong player is cautioned because of mistaken identity or when a player is not sent off having been seen to be given a second caution or when violent conduct occurs out of the view of the referee and assistant referees. The referee, however, retains the authority to decide on all points connected with play.
  • After the match, the fourth official must submit a report to the appropriate authorities on any misconduct or other incident that has occurred out of the view of the referee and his assistants. The fourth official must advise the referee and his assistants of any report being made.
  • He has the authority to inform the referee of irresponsible behaviour of any occupant of the technical area.

So even when the 4th ref could have seen it, he cannot interfere with such a decision. Stopping the ball on the goal line is not a violent conduct out of the view. It is a point connected with play.

Would a 5th or 6th assistant have made any difference? No it wouldn’t have made any difference because that assistant also would have been on the blind side of things and his view also would have been blocked by the goal post and the player who handled the ball.

And after the game ref Blom said in an interview on TV  that he was disgusted by the situation because you want to do it the right way and you feel very bad about it when as a ref you get it wrong. He said he would have a very bad and sleepless night about it.

On the question what can be done to prevent such things the ref said: “Video evidence”. He said : “We are demanding video evidence for years now but this is something out of our control”.

Now I can understand that FIFA/UEFA and the FA don’t want to listen to Untold. Who are they? would be their reply. Fair enough. And then they come up with another “respect” campaign for the ref. Again fair enough as there has to be some respect for the ref.


It is a difficult job being a ref and yet honest refs who want to do a good job, need all the help they can get. So wouldn’t it be a great sign of respect from FIFA/UEFA and the FA to listen to the refs? Wouldn’t it be great if FIFA/UEFA and FA say: “Now listen everyone, the refs asked us to introduce the use of video evidence for some things and to help the refs we will use it from now on”. THAT WOULD BE AN ULTIMATE SIGN FROM RESPECT FROM THE FOOTBALL AUTHORITIES TOWARDS THE REFS.

But for some reason the football authorities refuse to help the refs. And by refusing them the help the honest refs ask, they expose the refs to abuse, swearing and even violent attacks. It is the football authorities that are responsible for abusing the refs in a way. It is them that are responsible that every year they have to start again with a “respect the ref” campaign.

This all could be avoided if they would listen to their own refs. So FIFA/UEFA and FA if you really want respect for the refs it is about time you show some respect to the referees yourselves. Help the refs on the field in doing their job in a correct way. It will make the life of a referee less difficult if he knows he can get help when he could not see a thing. It will make the players less angry with the ref when the players know that there is someone watching the images and can correct the ref if something went wrong. It will make managers less angry and the abuse of angry words towards ref will become an exception. And it will make the fans happier if they know that all has been done to prevent human errors as much as possible.

So you wouldn’t need any respect campaigns anymore because people will be aware that all that can be done has been done to come to a fair final result of the game.

So you up there in your ivory tower at the top of the football pyramids: SHOW SOME RESPECT TO THE HONEST REFS AND LISTEN TO THEIR DEMANDS!

The failures of Herbert Chapman. Was the great man really that great?  Or just another Wenger.  Time to find out.

The failure of Arsenal – when we went bust

The failure of Untold Arsenal to keep its index up to date

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

18 comments to Time to support the respect campaign… for all involved

  • Gf60

    Good article Walter. Only problem with helping the refs with technical support is that it would have a massive affect on the incomes of the match fixers!

  • Wrenny

    As Gf60 says, there’s a very good reason why UEFA want to keep the human errors in football. It’s got nothing to do with the ‘excitement’ of the sport, or worries about slowing the game down, and everything to do with manipulating results.

    The respect campaigns are a big two fingers up to the fans, the players, the managers and the refs themselves. “You’ll put up with the mistakes and LIKE IT!”

  • walter

    Note that in this article I write about HONEST refs. Not the ones that like to bent the rules and fix games. Just to make it a bit clear.
    There are honest refs, of that I am sure but there are others…

  • Gf60

    Yes Walter. Agreed. But who has to change the rules? The worst gangsters in the game.

  • IvoryGoonz

    Refs, and fans claim it. You know it. I know it.
    Well written.
    Motive, means, occasion.
    You know the two last, just have to find proof of the first.

  • walter

    I wonder if a local FA would start using this in their league what Fifa would do?

  • Shard


    If only some FA were brave enough to do that.. It really is a very interesting thought. they’d probably throw all they could at them. Cut funding (if any). Ban them from international competitions. Maybe initiate court cases for any real, or imagined crimes.

  • Marcus

    I think the entire football establishment is one massive consortium.

    Here and there a few brave refs play fair…..and they sleep with their consciences intact rather than a Neapolitan woman of ill-repute.

    Watching the same old tired strains of Man U getting away with an absolutely flagrant penalty at Chelsea, (hot on the heels of Vidic doing his WWF turn at West Ham), it is just quite clear to me that most matches are rigged, and the bigger the turnstile, the bigger the fix.

    Chelsea aren’t meant to ge through…just as we weren’t meant to mess up the revenues by beating Barca.

    I think there is more excitement these days in bowling at the alley than some of these matches.

  • Shard


    I don’t think it’s extended quite as far as making it all part of a consortium.. As far as I can recall. It wasn’t like this 10, maybe even 8 years ago. I don’t think it can have spread its tentacles too far, in such a short space of time, and keeping in mind that they do have to be secretive about it. I’m probably as much of a cynic as yourself, but I do not think it’s reached that sort of stage just yet.

    In the course of writing this, I just had a thought. What if Arsenal were among the first beneficiaries of the whole phenomenon of the fix? We don’t know who fed the Spurs the lasagna that day, do we? 😀

  • Donnyfan1

    Have you ever thought Walter, that technology might be resisted because refs would NOT be able to bend matches so easily. If this IS the reason- then — it isn’t the refs who are instigating the bending of match results– it must be coming from above. The thought of the FA, EUEFA or FIFA being responsible for the ‘results’ of matches is frightening. I can’t get over the speed of the Ref’s reaction when he sent RVP off. And I will never forget the look on the ref’s face as he instantly turned his back after showing the card. He was waiting for his chance. Barca were in danger and he had to do something. It was in the script!! Absolutely chilling! As for Arsenal benefitting from a fix– we don’t want that either!!

  • marcus

    Well, I think the octopus is a good analogy Shard…

    and I think Walter has it about right. The refs are far more sinned against than sinners really.

    Clattenburg has taken a month off…….we don’t know the inside story, but apparently it is because he was getting the flak for the FA not doing their job and retrospectively banning Rooney.

    But all in all, I do think the European Cup is gigantically rigged….we have seen it many times.

    The Premiership is a little more coy in its operations, but not by much…..the stats are chilling really:

    Consider how many penalties against and red cards for Man U get at OT.

    And any sane analsis of Arsenal’s matches, as per Walter, shows quite clearly that Arsenal play under curfew, while the opposition tends to get the freedom of the city.

    Its all rigged mate: we are “supporting” lavish lifestyles, and irony of ironies, fat billionaires and multinational consortiums. Unpalatable, but true.

    I think I’d rather support Wycombe Wanderers.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @ Marcus,
    there is no respite eve if you went underground to Wycombe, a fantastic result of the work dogface and walter and others is that the Beeb picked up the ref incompetence story and over the last two weeks have been putting it up for discussion on their football shows, of course it somehow got strangled by hansen and lawrenson but i think that’s probably for the best as i wouldn’t want them advocating anything i believed in!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It is high time FIFA/UEFA embrace change and use technology that is available and drag football into the modern era.Its time for those oldies to wake up and” smell the coffee”.
    Which brings me to another coffee tale- a few weeks ago while enjoying my morning brew ,an old acquaintance I bumped into told me that he was waiting for a” friend “,and happened to mention the St.Pauli vs Schalke 04 match that night.
    I was suprised that anyone here would be familar with St.Pauli.
    Bayern -yes ;Hamburg -yes ;Colgne -maybe ;Schalke – maybe (weren’t they involved in the bribery scandal in the late 70s-early 80s?),but definitly not St.Pauli.
    Anyway, long story short ,I was not entirely suprised to read that the game was abandoned 2 mims.before time .Am I inferring any wrongdoing ?I’m not ,but I checked my facts on Asian Bookie.Com which popped first on Yahoo search for” St.Pauli game abandoned”.Shades of that abandoned game in England due to a blackout where ” Asian betting syndicates” were implicated.
    Once again I reiterate that I’m not inferring any foul play,so please don’t leave any any animal parts on my bed(I don’t own racehorses or other pets),especially the abundant Civet Cats.You know, the the species in whose droppings you find the ingested
    (and processesed-yuck)coffee beans that is made in Kopi Luwak- the world’s most expensive coffee.
    Cheers !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Ooops – sorry , typo – …made into

  • Shard

    @Brickfields Gunner

    Yummy coffeee that must be. Stephen Fry gave that to the Prince didn’t he? Fit for royalty apparently.. And you’d have to be a movie producer to get a visit from Don Corleone, so relax..

    But it’s very interesting you mention that. Are you saying there were actually odds put on the match being abandoned?

    I wasn’t saying I’m happy if Arsenal benefit from the fix. We all want a fair contest. I just had a thought that it might have been the case. No reason to think so. But mostly I was just trying to use it as a salve on the wounds that the fix has inflicted us. As if it’s just Karma, and it really does all even out in the end. Even with the fix being in.

  • Shard


    I agree with you that what we are seeing is not sport. My point was just that in my view, so far, the malaise is confined to a few people at the top. Remove the head of the beast before it turns into a Chimera and there might be a solution yet.

  • Shard


    I just had to say something I’d forgotten to in the first place.. This is a very good article indeed.