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Mr Collina gets it wrong. Refusing to help the referees will not help the game.

With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By Walter Broeckx

When good (ex-)referees speak it is sometimes wise to listen. And sometimes you can learn something from their words.

But having been a top ref doesn’t necessary means that you got the answer to the questions. Because when you have been a top referee you look at it from your point of view. And no matter how good or relevant this point of view is, it still is only one side of the story.

In football there are many points of view. The team’s view. The ref’s view. The media view. And maybe the most important side of the story: the people without whom football would be gone in a minute: the supporters’ point of view.

Now we could all call our viewpoint the most important one. But in fact all 4 sides of the story have to be in balance before you can make everybody satisfied. Because ignoring one side will lead to that side stopping what it is doing, and ultimately pulling out of football.

If we kill the referees each week as Collina said in his interview we would be without referees and without referees there would be no game. Unless you think that the players would still play it following the rules when there is no ref on the field? They cant even play it according to the rules when there is a ref on the field.

The less important side is the media side. I know they are the most important element when it comes to generating money. But would we supporters suffer much when the players would only earn £10.000 a week and not the £100.000 the get now? Would Messi be less attractive when he earns less? No, Messi still would be the same player. Just earning less money. So the media and their money could be removed from much of the game. When reading the Untold Media Watch I really think they wouldn’t be missed at all.

At the same meeting Mr. Elleray claimed that 98% of offside decisions are corect. Which this season is not correct. But I will not go in to this anymore as I have already written about that.

When Mr. Collina spoke, it was informative.  One of the things we have to consider is that we cannot buy referees at the supermarket. “You cannot find referees in the corner of the street.”

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And Mr. Elleray also said some wise things: “We need years to build up referees and one second to destroy them. To keep them we need to protect them.”

So the main thought is that we should protect referees. A very good thought and I like it very much. So a big round of applause for this.

But last Wednesday the FA said that goal line technology would not be used next season. And the reason for this is that the system is not ready. Now I’m not a technician or an engineer and I don’t know how such systems would work but this really is leaving me speechless. In tennis they can see if a small ball flying at 100mph was in or out in seconds. In football with a bigger ball flying at a lower speed this seems impossible? Yeah, sure sounds reasonable doesn’t it?

And then we come to the part where I think Collina shows that he is… well… not really is being the smartest in town. He said about the goal line technology: “”I think the goal-line can be easily controlled by two additional assistant referees”.

And then the article from the BBC continues with: “Extra officials, who stand behind the goals, have been tested over the last two years, initially in the Europa League and then the Champions League. They have been criticised in some quarters for failing to spot other incidents inside the penalty area.

Collina admitted mistakes had been made, but said these were by referees who had ignored the advice of their assistants”

And where it all goes wrong is in the last sentence. Collina wants the refs to be less criticised because : no more refs, no more football. Okay fine.

But on the other hand he refuses the aid of goal line technology. No, he wants more refs around the field. And he knows that even with those extra referees  mistakes are still being made. Because of the fact that refs don’t listen to the advice of their assistants. For whatever reason.

Now, Mr. Collina, doesn’t this sounds like criticising the refs? And we should be careful with that and stop it because otherwise the refs would stop. And how could you avoid heavy criticism of the refs for a part? Well, maybe by making it clear that some decisions will be made by a computer? Did the ball cross the goal line or not? The computer will tell it and not the ref. So no need for players to run after the ref to dispute the ball crossing the line or not.

No the ref would have nothing to do with that because the computer will decide this for him. In fact just look at the way tennis was played before the hawkeye was used. We all know how John McEnroe had discussions with the umpires.   Nowadays with the Hawkeye the player just nods at the ref to ask a review, the big screen starts the animation and the players get on with the game without discussion. And the refs don’t get any abuse anymore for calls about the ball being out or not.

So Mr. Collina if you want the referees to be less in the line of fire you should use every bit of help you can get. Use what is at your disposal in technology and then people can criticise the computer if they want but they don’t have to shout abuse towards the ref.  Avoid the possibility for referees to make mistakes. That should be the aim we all should support. If it needs technology then use it.

But if you refuse to reach out for a complete change and if you keep refusing to use technology to help the refs then the only thing that we supporters have left if we see a wrong call…is to criticise the ref. And wasn’t this exactly what you wanted to avoid? Well you just leave us with no choice.


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14 comments to Mr Collina gets it wrong. Refusing to help the referees will not help the game.

  • davi

    The problem with referees in this country is that they seem more concerned with being able to make decisions without being questioned, rather than actually making the right decision. If I were refereeing a game, my no.1 priority would be to make sure that as many of my calls were correct as I possibly could.
    I don’t blame them *too much for this, although they obviously deserve a large portion of the blame, but there is a culture that is perpetuated by the media/popular reaction. A very clear example was when Webb failed to book, or even call, the Spanish players for their constant diving, or, more importantly, to send off the Dutch players in the world cup final for their violent play – and he was supported in the UK for his non-decisions because otherwise it would have “ruined the spectacle”. It is not the ref’s job to “play God”, it is his job to enforce the rules of the game. The spectacle of the world cup final was ruined by the diving and violent play of the players, and it was only ruined further by the terribly weak officiating. It became a farce.
    This sort of thing happens frequently in the PL, as refs are extremely reluctant to send off the big name players, and as a consequence, players like rooney are allowed to elbow fellow professionals in the head without consequence.

  • Dark Prince

    What atleast should be done is to use technology to minimise the wrong goals scored, for eg offside goals, wrong penalties, etc…bcoz there is a considerable time taken by players after such situations to take the right decision by help of technology. For eg, after an offside goal is scored, it can be reviewed during the goal celebrations, or jus b4 the penalty is taken it can be checked if it was a penalty or not, as normally it takes atleast a min or 2 to take the penalty…

  • Diaminedave

    Well said Walter. I think all your work on the ref reviews is illustrating the need for review system to be instigated.
    It has not seemed to detract from any of the other sports where it is used.
    Could be used with limited lifelines by the captains (would then make it tactical and add interest)- ala cricket
    Or by the refs to review important decisions sort of ala rugby.
    More officials just seem to be ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’

  • dan

    This coming from the ref who gave england all the decisions!!!

  • Notoverthehill

    Well put, Walter!

    At a corner kick, 3 or more players could be on the goalline, now would this affect the technology. In tennis, there is no player interference on the line. In cricket, lbw decisions are not affected by the obstructiuon of the bowler or fielders.

    Perhaps it is the presence of the human body impacting on the image?

    I have no knowledge on this, at all. Has anyone?

  • Diaminedave

    Notoverthehill- they seem to have 20 odd men on top of the ball in Rugby but they still seem to manage to get decisions made so I am not sure if that is could be the excuse for not using it

  • Dan Tree

    I’m pretty sure Arsenal requested permission to trial goal-line technology at the emirates cup this year but were denied. So the technology is clearly there, they just don’t want to use it.
    Tennis and cricket are slightly different systems to what football would need to be because the decision is made on calculating the trajectory of the ball and predicting its destination with no interference, in football we are not interested in where the ball would end up if it continued, we want to know how far along its trajectory it got. It may be the case that sensors have to be used in the ball itself to determine if it crossed the line or not, or many cameras on the posts and humans reviewing the images(though this method may not solve all issues and is still open to bias).

  • bob

    Walter, all,
    Let us all please note: Creating an argument about “is Goal line technology, ready or not” is how Officialdumb moves back the goal posts. It comes just as a real solution – all-video replay – is already at hand. They are desperate to prevent it to maintain the status quo, their hold over it, and the possibilty to modify results on an as needed, on-demand basis. FFS, there already is the technical capability as shown on TV at EVERY match to the viewers. On the line, on the pitch, in the shorts of the players. This is sheer stalling – a pure power play with bullying and red-herring, bogus arguments. Only a League-wide petition run by many blogs in concert, started by any single blog, and threatening a boycott will begin to get the attention and exert the necessary pressure. Many hereabouts have called for this for several seasons going now. As the response seems so underwhelming, it seems that widespread indifference and/or resignation to Fergie XX is well engrained. Every team would benefit except two or three, who could be readily guessed at. Had enough yet? ever?

  • bob

    imo, Unquestioned refereeing seems to be a pillar in a culture of deference. Deference is a good thing when it is merited. Does anyone think that the EPL refereeing standard merits such eyes down, foot shuffling, scratching where it doesn’t itch, laughing at what’s not funny, lemming-like Respekt Kampaigns?

  • Domhuaille

    Any sane and open-minded individual, player, manager, referee or whatever cannot accept the lack of video replays and goal line technology anymore. the video replay compliments the goal line technology.
    In Germany, they were experimenting with this at the lower league level using technology similar to Hawkeye but capable of identifying whether a ball was wholly over the line,using a microchip in the ball and an antenna around the inside of the goals, including under the turf between the posts. It proved 99% accurate, with the one percent error being due to breaks in the line,(as it wasn’t robust enough) and the occasional microwave interference apparently. I’ll take 99% accuracy anytime. They also tried cameras and 2 officials but as someone above said, the human factor is hard to beat and their results were 76% and 84% accurate respectively.
    Video replay requires at least 4 seperate camera angles and the capacity to record at high speed )in milliseconds) but iot also proved to be very helpful in augmenting the officials ability to decide whether a foul,penalty or offside occured. They also tried having highly precise GPS chips sewn into the players uniform or taped to their bodies. The latter was unpopular for any number of obvious reasons but the other chips were able to place the location of the player to within 3 inches of their actual location on the field….not bad but not good enough for offside calls. As GPS gets more and more accurate, this could become a very useful tool as well, but the assistant referees need to remain the final arbiters.
    Collini is a perfect example of a man who doesn’t know when to fade away. He’s made himself the laughing stock of officialdom worldwide!

  • bob

    Walter, all,
    Wow, the video on the linked to BBC page is well worth seeing. The operatic buffoonery of Collina and the icy self-assured bullying of Elleray are a pair to behold. Reading about it is one thing; but feeling them give such straight-faced defenses of the realm with no substantive engagement with any criticism is teeth-gnashing stuff. They have a sledgehammer mantra that passes for considered wisdom and they spout forth a tsunami that comes down to one word – NO.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Collina crossed to the dark side after he hung up his whistle.
    Even at the end of his career he was getting criticised for making TV ads with star players and then seeming to show those same players favoritism when he reffed them later.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I remember that Collina was one of the refs named in the Calciopolo scandal as a ref who was known for a certain bias. Some teams liked to have him. Maybe it was just him favouring the big teams a bit?

  • bob

    Do you know how and with what degree of culpability was Collina “named” in that scandal? Was he indicted? Almost? Slap on the wrist? Did he wiggle out of indictment? In short, how (partly rhetorical question) does a ref tarnished by that mega-scandal get trotted out as a spokesman for what’s right for football (and bleat forth: “destroy the ref and you destroy football, so no technology”)?