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Refs - grow a pair and be strong!


Howard WebbIt’s quite disturbing to see the number of match officials, particularly the men-in-the-middle, who appear unable or unwilling to make a decision based on what they see in front of them before, during and after a game.


There are times when it is quite obvious to players, officials and the general public that a serious breach of the Laws of the Game has occurred, yet the match officials appear not to have seen it.


In English slang terms this is called “bottling it.” In other words, the ref “chickened out” and stepped back from doing his job.


In my opinion match officials who engage in this kind of refereeing cowardice should be stood down for at least 3 months and their future in that particular league, and especially if it is in the senior leagues, questioned.


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Soccer and Rugby - as different as chalk and cheese.

Rugby player received yellow card“Football (soccer) is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, rugby is a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen.”


I’m not sure who the originator of that quote was, but reference is made to a man called Walter Carey and is believed to be a quote in relation to the Barbarians rugby club which states “rugby football is a game for gentlemen of all classes, but not for bad sportsmen of any class.”


A man called William Percy “Tottie” Carpmael who founded the Barbarian FC in 1890 was also suggested as the originator.


A more recent explanation comes from a certain Chancellor of Cambridge University in the UK (confessing complete ignorance of all football, regardless of what code), who when asked to sum up a debate between soccer and rugby said “it is clear that one is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans; the other a hooligan’s game played by gentleman.”


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“Vultures” gather at every opportunity referee makes a mistake.

Referee BennetI’ve said it many, many times before and I will repeat it again in case some have not heard or read it.


Referees are human, and humans make mistakes. Sorry for being human.


The performance by one referee from South Africa, Daniel Bennett, in an African Cup of Nations recently was roundly criticized by many people. Some of the criticism was justified as he did make a couple of mistakes which according to the “experts” nearly cost one team their place in the quarter-finals.




Please remember when you criticize that you need to be objective, unbiased, knowledgeable and fair.


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With excellent refereeing in the background, Brazil defeats Spain in the Confederations Cup Final.

Neymar goalThis was a heavily anticipated game and just about everyone hoped to see Brazil and Spain in the Confederations Cup Final.  On one hand, you had Brazil, the host and the defending champions of the Confederations Cup and, on the other, Spain, the reigning champions of Europe and current champions of the FIFA World Cup.  You really could not hope for a more marquee match-up.   And the expectations were more than met.


The game began at a frantic pace.  The fans were loud and provided great atmosphere.  They did not have to wait for too long to see the first goal.  It came only after 96 seconds.  It was the fastest goal scored in the Confederations Cup tournament.   The goal came after a bit of a scrappy play.  The ball was played into the penalty area and Fred appeared to have missed it with his head but then Neymar, who was at the far post behind Fred, played it back into the danger zone in the goal kick area.  Just when it seemed that Iker Casillas was going to smother the ball, Fred, who was down on the ground, somehow beat him to the ball and powered it into Spain’s goal.  Spain found itself in an unlikely situation trailing 0:1 only after less than two minutes of play.


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Referees - stop cozying up to players and team officials!

Referee cozying up to playerIf there’s one thing that really annoys me it’s seeing referees “cozying” up to players and team officials. This can be seen before, during, and after matches, and particularly in the UK.


This idea that we shake hands before a game is as hypocritical as it is unnecessary and if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a hypocrite.


I recently saw a referee giving a player a “hand up” in Major League Soccer before giving him a red card (see the video of the incident and how referee Juan Guzman handled the situation below).



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