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The Referee's A ...
Footytubeblog (Blog) 5 years ago
Another week, another shambolic decision and just over twenty minutes into the Mersey derby Everton are left with the uphill task of trying to beat their great rivals with 10 men, due to the sheer incompetence of another poor refereeing decision. Martin Atkinson will live to fight another day; such is the protection the FA affords to them, while the Toffees are left to rue what might have been in a game that they dominated early on.

I suppose the sheer tragedy is that no one is really surprised by this incident. This isn’t solely because Martin Atkinson is involved (the same referee who gave Jermain Defoe his marching orders for raising his arm going up for a header with 6ft 4in James Collins) but every single week we are subjected to poor officiating and have to put up with the same moronic justification for their errors. Yes I appreciate that referees don’t have the benefit of replays, or can benefit from the use of technology, but if the man in the middle fails to decipher an incident merely a couple of feet from his line of vision then boy we are in trouble. You didn’t need a 4th official in the stand to work out that Jack Rodwell put in a clean challenge (the red has been overturned on appeal), or that Suarez (not for the first time this season) went down sniper like screaming in agony. In fact the incident said a great deal about the integrity of the Uruguayan as a player, as it did of the shambolic call from Atkinson.

What frustrated me more than most with these perennial balls up from referees is that they aren’t made accountable for their mistakes. The FA bitch and moan about the respect campaign and how clubs continually fail to abide by it, but can anyone blame them? The sheer arrogance of these men who hide behind their superiors, safe in the knowledge there will be no repercussions based on their incompetence. Let’s be honest referees only ever get retrospective punishment when there is a serious injury involved, as the FA feel the need (as they always do) when there is a public outcry in the media. Unfortunately their sheer incompetence is ruining games as spectacles and clubs, as well as the paying public who are being cheated by the very people who are meant to govern it fairly.

So it begs the question as to whether referees should give their own post match interview? At the end of the day we are not dealing with amateurs here and these officials are on big salaries -so what not let them give an explanation for their actions. I actually think it would go some way in them gaining greater respect and if someone like Atkinson came out after the game and said, “Do you know what I made a mistake here” then I am sure most would begrudgingly accept it; but their silence does nothing but breed contempt for them and fuel the belief that they see themselves untouchable. Something needs to change and quick, because their errors and the consistency of them are slowly ruining the beautiful game.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
BoboRed (Leeds United) 5 years ago
Firstly, they are accountable and there are repercussions. A referee that makes bad decisions will get less high profile games and can be "relegated" to a lower division.

Secondly, this is nothing new, so it can hardly be claimed they're "slowly ruining the beautiful game".
{Edit: Thanks for pointing out that typo}
Thirdly, they are human. Unless you want a game of football to last for hours like an NFL match, then I'd say we are fine like we are
Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
I'm with bobo, the game and the rules have been good enough for long enough, I think the players need to take a long look at themselves between diving, and squealing like girls when no one has even touched them.
I am old enough to say I watched football were players got kicked from pillar to post and never reacted in this fashion, and the wages were s**t, they played for the love of the game.
I would give straight reds for simulation, that would cure it
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Good call Tony. I second that notion
Zhudayong (Barcelona) 5 years ago
And I third* that option. Giving a straight red for simulations would certainly have a huge impact in stopping those antics. But there's an immense downside to that: Official are sometimes fooled thinking there was no foul and as a result, give a red to a player that was actually fouled (by looking at the replays in different angles).
That being said, I think we should keep in mind the other types of mistakes done by officials such as those disallowed goals that have also changed the outcome of many games. And I honestly don't think it would take that much of a time for officials to check the replays if there's an allocated official in the stand looking at the replays and communicating the rightful decision (when needed of course) through those ear sets.

Now I know that would be a huge change. And I don't wanna disregard the past when mistakes were made and changed many outcomes and people had to deal with it and move on. But I bet those who lost games with the feeling that the refs' mistakes played a huge part in their defeat would be interested in an option that would reduce the chances of losing out of an unfortunate mistake done by officials
Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
Also the silly rule about yellow carding a goal celebration by removing your shirt, what a load of crap that causes, why not just tell players from now on, its a straight red card, then see how many do it, I reckon none.
Its a stupid rule, but a straight red would stop it, plus I don't see the need to remove clothing when you have just scored a goal, in my experience I usually take my clothes off before I score.... Wink.... Lol
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Red cards for simulation is really hard to get right, probably cause more problems than solutions, after all by nature simulation is meant to fool. Though you are right Suarez definitely made the situation a lot worse with his impression of Stephen Taylor
Zhudayong (Barcelona) 5 years ago
Haha It's such a relieve to know I am not the only football amateur who takes his clothes off before scoring. Haha

I think all this nonsense players have been putting the refs through would've been solved if the situation was handed to you Tony. Haha
I mean seriously, players are becoming way too cunning and dishonest. Making it so damn hard for officials to do their jobs. Whereas if the officials became just as strict as the players became sneaky, we wouldn't be in all this mess. Because let's be honest, it's sometimes very useful to be feared than respected. And if the refs could instil fear of a straight red I bet they'll all get in line
Peteko 5 years ago
Hahahahaha Tony. Thanks for clarifying that mate
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
I think red cards for simulation would cause as many controversies as soft red cards for bad tackles. Imagine on a replay if it showed the player actually was badly fouled?! It would force the referee to decide on the spot whether not only if it was a foul, but whether the player over reacted.

I've gotten a knock in football right on the shin of my standing foot right as I was about to take a shot and it hurt like hell. It was impossible to stay on my feet. A few people watching started to call me a 'hollywood' but honestly, it wasn't a dive. I was rubbing my ankle trying to get rid of the pain. Imagine the outcome if the ref had sprinted up and shown me a red card straight away! The people watching would have loved it! The opposition players would have been shouting into my face
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Great article it captured my feelings precisely.

I know they're human, and we all make mistakes, but that tackle was a perfect technical tackle, studs down, one footed, won the ball first and won it cleanly in front of a ref that was 2 yards away.

I'm sorry but he should have been applauded for that tackle, not sent off!

I mean it was the absolute perfect conditions to make it as easy as humanly possible for a ref to make the right call, and he failed. Makes you wonder if he actually knows the rules of the game or if he is making decisions based on what he observes?

I mean really, how can you jump to his defence? Is there even a defence for him?
BoboRed (Leeds United) 5 years ago
The fact that he "won the ball first" is entirely irrelevant. From where the referee was stood, it looked wreckless (the studs were clearly up on the tackling foot).

It wasnt a red card, as both his feet were not off the ground. Had they been so (which Atkinson obviously believed to be the case), then, by the letter of the law, it was a sending off.

The fact that Rodwell motions that he won the ball, clearly shows his own lack of understanding of the rules
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Perhaps the correct thing to do would be to blow the whistle, confer with his supporting officials, and then supply the red card/free kick/drop ball as required. As a spectator, fan allegiance aside, it looked like a really nasty tackle to me until I saw the replay, then it looked fine. I've seen players sent off for similar tackles before.

Lets be honest though, if it had ended 1-1 with no incidents, would we even still be talking about it? That's my conspiracy theory of the day. Fifa/uefa maintain dodgy decisions so everyone discusses the weekends games and the rabid press and fan interest in maintained.

Was it a red card? No, certainly not. The ref had his card out before Suarez had even landed though. This is the same ref who apparently (I may be wrong) gave 14 red cards in his last 15 games. If you are aware of this fact before a game, especially a heated derby match, would you lunge in with a seemingly dangerous tackle, smashing a player out of it? Whether you get the ball or not, the referee can read the intention as being excessively malicious - and I would agree with him on that single point
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
@BoboRed, I'm no ref, and I've never read the FA rule book, that much I can admit. But a couple of points on tackling....

Now if I tackle a guy and then punch him in the head after, then yes the fact that I won the ball first is pretty irrelevant, I will still be sent off. But I'm not sure how you can say that winning the ball in Rodwell's case is "entirely irrelevant" I'm pretty sure winning the ball is a major part of the definition of a tackle. If you fail to win it and take a man out then it's a foul. But knocking a player off his feet is not automatically a foul.

Also, you're defending the ref because from his 2 yard vantage point it looked reckless as the studs were up on the tackling foot. I'm pretty certain that it's close to impossible to slide tackle with all your studs facing the grass and Rodwell got as close to this as possible.

Also, if I came to your house and claimed the moon was made of cheese would you defend my insanity because from where I'm standing right now it could possibly look that way, even though it most definitely is not? Or would you call me an idiot and throw me out (which is what I would deserve and what Atkinson deserves!).
BoboRed (Leeds United) 5 years ago
I won't answer your puerile comments, but perhaps if you did read the rule books, then you would see that winning the ball is, indeed, entirely irrelevant.

Regardless of whether a player "plays" the ball first, if he is seen to be "wreckless", then it is indeed a red card.

Like I have said before, with the benefit of replays, Atkinson got it wrong. But from where he was stood, it is easy to see how could have thought both of Rodwell's feet were off the ground.

The point in question in this case is not whether he won the ball, but whether he had 2 feet off the ground. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, like I pointed out, the fact that Rodwell was motioning that he had won the ball, shows that he too doesn't know the rules of the very game he plays
Timmy124 (Blackburn Rovers) 5 years ago
I think you'll find that "reckless" offences are specifically stated as being cautions (ie. Yellow cards)
And I quote "“Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the
Danger to, or consequences for, his opponent.
• A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned"
Under Law 12, "Fouls and Misconduct".
Not to mention Rodwell had his front foot pointing downwards, got ball first (before Suarez did) and then Suarez went down like a little girl.
I would have given Suarez a yellow regardless
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Thanks Timmy for clearing that up. Seems to me the problem is always about interpretation.

So going on the basis of someone who has read the book even if Atkinson had though the tackle was reckless, which by the way, it quite clearly was not, and I don't see how Atkinson could have prayed for any better vantage point than the one he had (it basically happened right underneath him), but even if he did, why the instant, reactive red card? Hence me stating he has no defence, it was just negligent decision making.

And I think you'll probably find that playing the ball first, and cleanly as I've said plays a part in determining exactly how reckless a tackle is deemed to be rather than just the 2 feet off the ground thing, based on that no one footed tackle can be deemed reckless, which is just pure nonsense, many a leg has been broken with a one footed tackle. Either that or you know more about the rules of the game than the dozens of footballers who make that same (even if not completely accurate) "won the ball" notion every week
Timmy124 (Blackburn Rovers) 5 years ago
Without a doubt it comes down to referee's interpretation of the rules, but a straight red offence falls under the "violent" category. There was no way what Rodwell was trying to do was remotely violent, compare it to some of the two footed challenges you've seen recently and you'll see what I mean.

I think Atkinson probably went into the match thinking "it's a derby, I have to clamp down on any harsh challenges or this is going to get out of control" and just picked the wrong tackle to do it on.

New laws this season (or maybe last, I can't remember) have made it so that reckless/violent tackles that do "win the ball first" can be penalised, but Rodwell's was about as clean as you can get for a front on slide tackle.completely agree with your last paragraph
Tanmay (Footytube Moderator) 5 years ago
Both the author and you are completely in the wrong, Araz. Even if it was a completely trashy decision, count up the number of tackles that happen a game and tell me whether or not once in while even the best referees will give horror decisions. To punish them for a single mistake after hours and hours of good work is like punishing you for turning up five minutes late to work after a lifetime of commitment. If you have a problem, try to bring in more technology. But to hate on referees for being human is knee-jerk nonsense. No matter how blind they may seem to be
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Nobody said they have to get everything right, that's just not possible, I get that. But on this occasion the conditions for Atkinson to get the decision right were about as perfect as they could be and he still screwed it up in as big a way as is possible. That is what's eating me up.

To adjust your comparison slightly, jumping on Atkinson's back for this would be the same as me being gently massaged awake in the morning by a sexy angel with a harp, then carried to a power shower and lathered with soothing, aromatic oils, fed my breakfast of caviar and smoked salmon by the world's greatest chef and having Sir Trevor McDonald read me my morning paper, to then be flown in to work on a magic carpet with central heating whilst smoking a cigar, and delivered to the front door well ahead of a schedule which was run by an atomic clock and managed by the CIA.... Only then for me to still somehow turn up late.

Now if I did arrive late under such unimaginably perfect conditions then yes I give you full permission, no I encourage you to punish me for what is evidently gross misconduct, and the very least you'll get from me is an apology, and an explanation
Tanmay (Footytube Moderator) 5 years ago
Lol. Now who can argue against such imagery
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
OK, so I'm being a little dramatic here but I'm glad it's taken in good humour Mistakes are part of life, and I suppose I forgive Mr. Atkinson, but I always find it very hard to stomach mistakes which are made when the situation is ideal for not making them
Vishal024 (Arsenal) 5 years ago
I can understand the feelings of fans when their team recieves pathetic calls like that one, but the degree and sheer difficulty of the referee's job must be considered. It's never simple to make a decision with 30000 or so supporters raving in the stands and several players yelling in your ear. Most decisions are rational and the occasional mistake is bound to occur. Referees themselves are only human after all, not the inhumane, anti-football, malicious wizards that we see instead.

Technology could revolutionise this, but it has its negatives. We don't want football to become something similar to an American sport with stoppages every 5 minutes and the notion of silly "time-outs". It's a complex debate, but we must comprehend the fact that human error is a part of human nature. It's amongst the hardest jobs on the pitch to arbitrate a match
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
This is absolutely correct. The fact that officials get 99% of offside and free kick decisions perfectly correct is completely ignored, especially if the 1% happens to lead to a dismissal or goal. I wouldn't want to be a ref, that's for sure. He had to be escorted off the pitch as the fans showered him with the worst kind of abuse, and if later in the match is anything to go by - bottles and coins too
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Fair enough I can take all of this on board, no one has ever claimed refs are robots or should be perfect, the issue here is that he got a very simple decision about as badly wrong as he could have.

I'm just scared that unless the referee and everyone watching admits he got it badly wrong, then tackling has effectively become a red card offense, in which case we may as well give up and start hanging out on instead!

I've watch the tackle doznes of times, if I was coach I'd use it as an example of exactly how to execute the perfect tackle in a mans game.

And shame on Suarez, his integrity has been called in to question in the past (remember the world cup handball against Ghana!), so his part in this doesn't surprise me
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Why limit it to Suarez, and why not state that a lot of South American/Spanish and Portuguese attacking players dive, because it is a part of their game? Fooling the ref in South America is seen as a sign of cleverness and is something to be celebrated. Playing football for 15 years doing that every single game and then moving to the Premier league and stopping suddenly can't be a natural thing. (I know Suarez played for Ajax by the way)

Don't make me go looking for the thousands of available videos of almost every modern striker diving, clutching their ankles and making a meal of a tackle. Nitpicking on Suarez for doing something we see players do in every game seems a little biased
Tanmay (Footytube Moderator) 5 years ago
Did you see Torres' miss, or Rooney's on the same day two weeks ago? I don't think you saw that and said "how awful, he should be benched". Why apply different standards to referees. Yes, maybe he got it "about as badly wrong as he could have", but it happens to the best of us. You forgive Rooney and Torres because you remember their great days. With referees, on their great days they are invisible. It's kind of tragic really, they don't need more hate from well-intentioned but ultimately misguided fans
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
@Ant, you're completely right, I saw an interview with Maradona about the hand of god, where he pretty much word for word gave the same reasoning behind cheating as you have. His comment was, what requires more skill then outsmarting the referee, and everyone watching?

That may be right depending on mentality or culture, but IMO diving is a disgraceful act no matter who does it, and doing it with no intention other than to get a player wrongly sent off is cheating, plain and simple, and I hate watching any player do it, just so happens Suarez is the soup of the day.

@MesingwithYa Actually when I saw Torres' miss I though exactly that, in fact I thought sell him for goodness sake! I'm finding it more and more difficult to recall his good days. Though I am sure they'll be back. As for Rooney, as much as I laughed my head off when he missed that sitter, I think he gets reprieve from the fact that he had 9 goals in 5 games before that moment, even my memory isn't that short. But Atkinson has developed a reputation for sending players off this season. 6 red cards in 9 matches so far this season, seems to me like he might be a little too fond of his red friend
Matt (Footytube Staff) 5 years ago
As a fan of a team that has played in the Premier League, Championship and League One I can say that the quality of ref's goes down with each league. So it is not like there is a wealth of talent in the lower leagues waiting to step up and take control of a big derby.

Ant nailed it when he said in his first reaction he thought it was a bad tackle but only after a replay did he see he and the ref was wrong. Ant is human as is Atkinson (allegedly) so they will make mistakes, but I do not see a single reason why the ref's 'point of view' should be the only factor in a decision which at the end of the season could be worth in excess of £40 million.

For all those that say 'you cannot bring in replays it will disrupt the flow of the game' and 'it will stop start every five minutes' well all I have to say to those is 'utter bunkum'.

Allow me to qualify that. First of all for the game to 'stop and start' every five minutes there would need to be an incident (goal or potential red card) which in my experience is highly unlikely. Next 'disrupt the flow of the game', have these people ever watched a game? When a player is given a red card there is a without fail immediate and vocal protests first by the player being sent off, then by the captain and then the rest of the Arsenal squad (heheh sorry).

This whole sorry scene takes a lot longer than watching a replay and you can prove it yourself. The next time there is a match and player gets sent off see how many times you get to watch the replay before they cut to the player walking down the tunnel if its less than 3 times I'll let you sleep with me.

So I propose the following. A player is shown a red he leaves the pitch immediately in order to qualify for an appeal whereby a decision is made between the ref and the 4th offical and the player is either allowed back on or is kept off the pitch. Done and done.

Oh and simulation should be reviewed after the match and anyone found guilty should be fined and banned for 3 matches.

Just make me head of FIFA now
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
I now declare you head of FIFA. Great post!

Though I still do disagree that Atkinson, as a professional, who was at least 100 miles closer to the incident than Ant, should not have produced such a knee jerk reaction, it was like he wanted to send him off and took no time to think about it
Peteko 5 years ago
"Ant is human as is Atkinson (allegedly)"


But your proposals make very much sense. I thought about it too. My idea was to delay a few minutes the decisions, without interrupting the play. Don't issue the card, but make a note in the book and give the free kick. Or allow the goal to stand for a few minutes (I know - mayhem would follow when it is annulled. But I am sure the technology will be respected.)
Give a seat to that four official and a TV/computer (no browsing for porn during the game)
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
I'm watching a lot of rugby recently being in New Zealand, and I have to say that they video ref decisions do disrupt the game. Sometimes there's a two minute wait for particularly tricky ones. Now the nature of rugby can be harder to determine a solid decision - was the player in full control of the ball when he put it down etc - but if football decisions can be made within the same time it takes the broadcast to show a couple of replays, why not have them?
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Even if they did it based on just a couple of replays (and given a limit of say no more than 30 seconds), or in the time it takes for the players to stop swinging handbags and holding the referee's hand it might not be 100% perfect but it would remove so many of the obviously terrible decisions from the game.... Ahhahem.... Like the the Rodwell sending off
Peteko 5 years ago
If limited only to major decisions: goals and red cards, I see no reason not to interrupt the game even if it takes two minutes. But, as I said, my idea is to keep the game flowing and delay the decision for the next time that ball goes out. Just like they do when they replace players
Ruskin (Liverpool) 5 years ago
The ref shows a nervousnous with his decisions, he all so knows he is under the spot light, a very honest case with this particular ref as he tends to judge to quickly, a yellow card hard to spot the professional foul, in case, s as this case has shown video evidence, in one of the toughest sports and. H. L. Mini seconds in camera evidence. These same questions keep coming up, what about Frank Lampards goal ine the world cup, after that it takes a lot of rebuilding the faith one puts in a referee. Food for fodder.... What about wenger for fabio, s job
ReneAdlerIsGod (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Why can't the Premier League just adopt instant replay technology? It will assist in making the correct calls, such as the Suarez-Rodwell incident. Plus, controversial off-side/non-off-side goals will be corrected as well as ghost goals (ie Lampard vs Germany) and handballs that were intentional/non-intentional
Peteko 5 years ago
Can they do it without a UEFA decision? I am not sure about this. I assume for one thing there has to be an investment. And then the establishment will always be against change
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Do you want to stop every 5 minutes ffs, I can dig instant replay if they utilise it like in NRL
ReneAdlerIsGod (Manchester United) 5 years ago
If that's the case, i'd rather have the match stop every 5 minutes to get the calls exactly right.... Rather than making a call that will lead to absolute chaos

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