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NEW ARTICLE: Referees Vs. Liars

Everytime a player moans about refs these days, I get angry. And I would like to try and put into words why I get angry.

While I think we've always known it, it's something that's rarely mentioned as a reason for the refereeing system not working in football; lies. Lies and the lying liars who tell them.

Maybe it's because we're brought up on football that we seem to forget that it's a bizarre human interest - to have tens of thousands of people willing a bunch of men to get a bit of plastic to go in between some sticks. The very nature of the game is such that the intricacies of those men getting that plastic to go between the sticks is so complex that no computer, even with today's processing power, is capable of figuring out what's within the rules of the game.

So we turn to some old guy. A guy incapable of playing the game, but a geeky enough guy that he has a deep knowledge of the rules. Far deeper than our own. And far deeper than most players.

And while every manager in the league bemoans the man's abilities - surely 50% of managers should be happy all the time if they're telling the truth - we understand and give credit for the fact that managers have to protect their players.

But I don't get why.

Players lie to refs. All the time. At every opportunity. They never think twice about it. They'll lie about who touched the ball last to win a throw in. They'll lie about whether they caught, or were caught by, an opponent. They weave such a web of lies that the guy who finds himself having to untangle the lies to get to the truth has very little chance of being right. Yet we offer them no credit for this - the ref is vilified in spite of the volume of deceit and hypocrisy that he has to sift through.

If we play in the park, we tend to rely on honesty because there's no ref. The ball went OVER the jumper, that wasn't the post and in! We'll admit this. But if there was a ref there? We'd lie through our teeth to convince him that if the post did exist, it would have bounced the ball into the net.

I do not believe that 'things are usually balanced by the end of the season' (I'm still not over that throw-in against Fulham 5 years ago), so I believe an answer must be sought. And that answer lies in football's overall approach to referees, and not necessarily technology.

Vincent Kompany puts two feet in the air as he jumps at the ball. Joey Barton goes head-to-head with a player and slaps his arm out of the way. And who got the vitriol? The refs. No responsibility taken by the players, and almost embarrassingly, none by the managers. Rather, they labour the point that the ref screwed up.

Until footballers and their management teams take responsibility for their own actions, and until the refereeing system closer resembles that of rugby and US football, there will always be angry, whingeing managers ignoring the good in football and unleashing anger at men who are not capable of doing any better. And that is a sad way for football to be.
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Comments

  • Superb post
  • top post
  • edited January 2012

    Football reflects society.

    Honesty and respect are now seen as weaknesses and those who attempt to uphold such virtues patronised and ridiculed.

    In a footballing context that is the referee.


  • refs have a very difficult job and it is made harder by players who get in the ref's face when a decision goes against them. When a ref makes a decision he is often surrounded by complaining players, why doesn't ref tell them if they don't disperse each one will get a yellow card and then if any player other than the Captain comes near him to complain he will get a yellow card. That would soon sort that out and make a ref's job a a bit easier, but then every ref would have to do it and thereby lies the difficulty. I'd also use the same system when a player makes a card giving gesture as Rooney did when Company made that tackle.

    That should sort out the prima donnas of the premiership!
  • Ah, but somebody told these players to dive, feign injury and all the play acting that makes up the game today. It wasn't us, the supporters. Why is it that a referee in rugby can control and have the respect of 6'6", 17 stone players, whereas in football there is no respect.
  • Couldn't agree more with the postings especially the comment about rugby and the discipline around accepting decisions. This has to come from the top in every club I would like to see CAFC have a policy that regardless of the situation only the Captain talks to the Ref I am convinced that such an approach would pay dividends to any club who did this as they would receive the right amount of respect back and have a better chance of getting a fiar hearing. The great Brian Clough used to fine players being booked for dissent guess what? They had the best discipilary record in the league.
  • I agree in a way, however anyone who has played the game knows that Kompany's tackle was a brilliant one and if that gets you sent off then there is no hope for the game.
    The other major problem isthe handball nonesense, a penalty gets given when it is so obvious the ball has hit the hand, it used to be ball to hand when it was played under proper rules.
    Problem is the Ref's are being directed by people who never played the game and that coupled with the fact they mostly are non players themselves creates the utter stupidity that reigns in the game at present. Do Ref's get a lot of stick...........yes but mostly deserved as it is they who give these crazy decisions week in wek out
  • Ah, but somebody told these players to dive, feign injury and all the play acting that makes up the game today. It wasn't us, the supporters. Why is it that a referee in rugby can control and have the respect of 6'6", 17 stone players, whereas in football there is no respect.
    Rugby players know you can not disrespect a ref. Why refs in Football put up with being shouted at, having imaginary cards waived in their faces, being surrounded by baying players and witness players putting the ball out and then claiming the throw/corner etc is beyond me.

    Ungentleman like behaviour should be automatically be punished with a yellow card. Managers and players would soon learn and stop.

    Cheating should be a straight red.

  • Alot of refs do little to help themselves.

    The sooner they get it into their heads that the crowd havent come to see them the better. Clattenberg and Webb are prime examples.

    All the while you have clowns like Attwell being fast tracked to the top of the profession you are going to struggle to get respect.
  • Good post and yes football does reflect society but the bit in the main item about how the referee has to sift through a web of deceit is a good observation
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  • Money is at the root of the problem. There is now too much at stake in virtually every top class game, meaning that the slightest mistake by the ref could be catastrophic for either the club or individual player. The linesman against Fulham in one of Pardew's first games may well have cost us our premiership status by giving a free kick when it was clearly our throw. If we fail to go up by a couple of points this season we will be rueing Hamer's sending off at Orient. The need for video technology is now essential to bring an air of fairness back to the game where game changing decisions are at stake.
  • Dozen's of camera's at matches scrutinising every decision made by the ref and then being put under the microscope by Hansen, Shearer and co make the refs job an absoulte thankless task. The ref gets one chance and a split second to make that all important decision that could sway a match one way or another and therefore a season. Anyone that sits in the first ten rows of a stand knows the breakneck pace of the game and the pulling and pushing that occurs throughout the 90 minutes.
    It's no coincidence that the majority of the referee talking points are in high profile matches that are analyised within an inch of its life. Before Sky/Lineker I don't recall Refs being chastised on such a regular basis. Nice and easy game this football when your in a comfortable studio with hindsight, not so easy at Old Trafford with 70,000 and Rooney and Ferdinand in your face.


  • Rooney should have been booked. See post above.

  • Ah, but somebody told these players to dive, feign injury and all the play acting that makes up the game today. It wasn't us, the supporters. Why is it that a referee in rugby can control and have the respect of 6'6", 17 stone players, whereas in football there is no respect.

    Because in rugby any back chat or the slightest hint of dissent and the referee marches play on ten metres. If you make a habit of giving away yardage like that you'll find yourself very unpopular with your teammates.
  • edited January 2012
    If we play in the park, we tend to rely on honesty because there's no ref. The ball went OVER the jumper, that wasn't the post and in! We'll admit this. But if there was a ref there? We'd lie through our teeth to convince him that if the post did exist, it would have bounced the ball into the net.
    Very good article Jimmy. There's an American psychologist called Will Schutz who's specialist subject is the psychology of "the truth". He has argued for many years that having referees in sport leads to worse decisions because people no longer take responsibility themselves. If decisions are taken away from players, they cease to be truthful about what happened. I believe that they ran some trials with US sports and found that the quality of decision making went up. It all fell down, however, as soon as money became involved as people no longer trusted their opponents to be truthful.
  • edited January 2012
    Agree wholeheartedly with this article. Even though I get annoyed and frustrated with refs at the Valley I never think they're cheats. In fact officials are the only unbiased people in the whole ground.
    The likes of Alan Green and Robbie Savage don't help matters; demanding that refs explain their decisions after the game. Imagine how much power this would give managers and players?
    We do not publicly castigate players who score own goals or keepers who drop a cross...they are not wheeled out to explain what went wrong.
    Also, interviewers should be banned from asking questions of managers and players about referees' performances. It just allows for one sided hyperbole and accusations.
    Unfortunately such behaviour is also prevalent on the pitch and sidelines at my son's under 9 games that I have started reffing, and it is all learnt behaviour.
  • Great read Jimmy.
  • Great piece and great comment by Len
  • edited January 2012
    Great article and post, I hate it when even our players show a lack of honesty, sometimes I wish someone would just make a stand on stop it. I remember Steve Stone handballing in the area when we played at the City Ground a few years ago, he winked at us in the away end when the ref waved play on! What about the throw in that never was against Fulham that cost a last minute equaliser, why couldnt the Fulham bloke say actually it came off me ref! Even the Manchester derby, handball by Phil Jones, clear as the day, even if the ref didnt see it why did he point to his chest and proclaim innocence....it was cheating,lying and deliberately misleading.....

    I know I am living in a naive world and it wont happen, I just wish it would and then Refs would at least have a chance
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  • Terrific comments Len. This isn't new, and it isn't specific to Premier League players. We pick them because, like the refs, they are under the spotlight. I also agree that much of this is money based. I'm not sure what the remedy is, or if there is one. Football seems almost unique with it's ability to crucify officials. One thing is for sure, the refs have a tough job. With the benefit of replays it can't even be agreed on here if Kompany's tackle was a red card.........imagine the pressure the ref is under to make that immediate decision!
  • edited January 2012
    it makes you wonder why fifa are taking a lifetime to get help for the refs by adding technolgy.
    The argument here is about the complete lack of honesty in modern football. most seem to be blaming money, which could some what be true. I would say its the foreign element that has brought cheating into our game. Them and our own homegrown players are now becoming specialists in deceit. The complete biased opinion that most fans have for their teams are shared by the players that the ref is wrong on the most part when he makes any decision that could hinder their club.
    It is something that needs to be addressed. To do so it will need strict ruling on cheating in matches and education starting with coachs that it is wrong to cheat. I have seen a match down at blackheath where a player blatantly dived and still felt he was in the right. For some players i think they are in such denial that do actually believe they have been tackled or they should of got that corner. Saying that i think majority know exactly what they are doing and thats what makes it so sad and pathetic.
    When it does come to a bad decision and a player has misguided the ref, managers should take a responsibility that their player is in the wrong and the player should already know he is in the wrong. So it shoudent bother him if his manager doesn't start defending him and saying he has been mistreated and the ref was on their side or is blind, or is just an complete arse.

  • Football reflects society.

    Honesty and respect are now seen as weaknesses and those who attempt to uphold such virtues patronised and ridiculed.

    In a footballing context that is the referee.


    Oh come on Len. Why do you have a downer on everything all the time?

    You make it sound like the whole of society patronises and ridicules honesty and respect, and that just simply isn't the case. "Society" includes you you know.
  • By the way, great initial post JiMMy 85.

    The rugby analogy isn't perfect, but it's probably as close as it gets in terms of sport in this country. Interesting that the media coverage tends to reflect the traditions of the game too.

    Arguably there as many, if not more, subjectives calls made by a ref in rugby that have a direct influence on the result, but you don't (I think - am no expert) see ex-pro's queuing up to slag off the officials in the press or on TV after the game. In fact it seem rare that they pick over any particular decision for any great length of time.

    I guess t's too late for football now, but I don't envy the refs their jobs.
  • edited January 2012

    Football reflects society.

    Honesty and respect are now seen as weaknesses and those who attempt to uphold such virtues patronised and ridiculed.

    In a footballing context that is the referee.


    Oh come on Len. Why do you have a downer on everything all the time?

    You make it sound like the whole of society patronises and ridicules honesty and respect, and that just simply isn't the case. "Society" includes you you know.
    Read the car insurance thread. The default position is that everyone is on the hey diddle diddle so honest people get shafted.

    Local authorities turn a blind eye to blatant excesses and extortion by bailiffs and even collude in it breaking their own supposed rules along the way.

    Just a couple of examples.

    There was a time you were innocent until proved guilty not the other away around.

    As regards rugby, a game I used to play and know a little bit about, it is still holding the line re respect for referees but the task is getting harder. Professionalism is arguably one reason but again erosion of morals such as honesty and respect in society play their part.
  • Well I'm not on the fiddle. Have never put in an insurance claim in my life, let alone a moody one.

    And, as you know, not really much point in me reading a thread about car insurance is there!
    ;o)
  • Kompany's tackle wasn't dangerous when you look at it in slow motion but in real time it looked dangerous and in the modern game it is known you don't go into tackles like that so ref not to blame. Whilst defending that ref, I think we mustn't forget that refs chose to be refs and have a responsibility to be competent. Their mistakes can cost millioms and jobs.
  • Very fair posting, but for me it ignores the fact that with so much money now in the game, we should be able to improve upon the performance of Referees and also their Assistants. Poor decision making like that on Sunday is bound to produce frustrated players, which will produce daft behaviour. The person I dislike intensely is Rooney, yelling at Foy as he did. If only Foy had the strength of character to ignore the multi millionaire hooligan.
  • edited January 2012
    If the rules say Kimpany should be sent off it's not the ref's fault, it's the fault of whoever devised the rules. Having said that, the rules have to be applied consistently and we all know they are not.

    I feel that the big difference between rugby and footbal is that rugby is not often decided by a single point, so the game rarely hinges on a single moment. Rugby games don't often end 1-0 (ok, that's not possible, but you get my drift!). Whereas in football there can be a pivotal moment - everyone on here remembers that injustice vs Fulham.

    Who'd be a ref?
  • Ah, but somebody told these players to dive, feign injury and all the play acting that makes up the game today. It wasn't us, the supporters. Why is it that a referee in rugby can control and have the respect of 6'6", 17 stone players, whereas in football there is no respect.

    Because in rugby any back chat or the slightest hint of dissent and the referee marches play on ten metres. If you make a habit of giving away yardage like that you'll find yourself very unpopular with your teammates.
    We also need to see retrospective bans for anyone who has conned the ref - dives or falling poleaxed holding face when an arm has brushed a chest. Refs need more consistency though. And Fulham's pen was a joke, clearly got the ball 1st, did he consult a lino, I think not. Hamer's red, the ref obviously didn't see it and guessed, on player reaction. They don't help themselves.

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