FIFA Vice President and Chairman of Referee’s Committee at the world governing body has openly criticised the standard of refereeing in the English Premier League (EPL).
Jim Boyce said “I have watched many games in the Premier league this season and I have to say I think the standard is not as good as, perhaps, it should be.”
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ Mr. Boyce, who hails from Northern Ireland and is due to retire soon said, “I think there are far too many, what I would call, poor decisions being made.” He went on: “every week you see the analysts discussing all the refereeing blunders that appear to be made.”
Mr Boyce said he had no plans to contact the Premier League over the matter but believes that the standard of refereeing at last year’s World Cup in Brazil had set the highest standard for match officials.
This is where I start my rant, if you’re interested:
- Isn’t it a bit rich of a top FIFA official coming out like this when all the means necessary to improve the standard of refereeing are available but FIFA won’t embrace them?
- Isn’t it just amazing how referees and refereeing are always made “scape goats” whenever a controversial incident surfaces?
- Isn’t it great for these soccer politicians to be experts in refereeing when most, if not all of them, never even held a whistle, let alone took charge of a game?
- What has the standard of officiating at last year’s WC got to do with the standard in the EPL?
- If it was that great at the World Cup, why were these structures not introduced at EPL referee training workshops?
Mr Boyce said he had a conversation with Howard Webb who was in Rio de Janeiro and took charge of the 2010 final in South Africa. Mr Webb confessed to him that this was “the best preparation I have ever had in all my experience in football.”
Ok, a few questions for Mr Webb:
- If it was that great why was it not used at the pre season seminars and training sessions for EPL referees?
- Are you, Mr Webb, now joining the ranks of the soccer politicians since your retirement?
- Are you not directly involved with the Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) as a senior official where Mike Riley, ex EPL referee, is your boss?
- Why didn’t you push for the “best preparation that I have even had” to be implemented at the start of the 2014/2015 season which could have helped alleviate the current situation?
The issue of whether standards in the EPL are good or not was highlighted again last weekend when a referee red carded the wrong player.
This incident happened in a Premier League game between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the Ethiad stadium in Manchester.
Neil Swarbrick, the referee, clearly got his lines crossed by wrongly sending off Gareth McAuley. when video evidence showed that the guilty party was Craig Dawson.
On another issue Mr Boyce has urged referees to book (YC) more players for surrounding match officials when free kicks don’t go their way. A recent report by the FA showed that there was a “scary” increase in the number of incidents this season.
I’ve been shouting about this for some time. Referees are their own worst enemy by allowing players to crowd around them in an effort to get decision overturned.
It is, quite frankly, outrageous to see professional players acting like a pack of hounds who have scented “blood.” It’s even worse to see referees backing off in the face of this onslaught.
Come on referees, you have the cards – why don’t you use them, or is that not good “man management?”
No, I’ll tell you what it is – it’s refereeing cowardice. Do your job and to hell with the consequences. They’ll soon get the message.
Mr Boyce believes that only team captains should approach the referee.
Great Mr. VP. That’s fine if the referees committee, of which you are Chairman, will back the referee’s who DO as you suggest. Knowing FIFA and its affiliates I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Your record speaks for itself. When the “chips are down” and the various big clubs and associations come banging on your door with their sometimes frivolous and meaningless complaints about refereeing, you and your committee capitulate and once again the refs are hung out to dry.
I’m quite surprised at these comments by Mr Boyce since he is not running for election and so doesn’t have much to gain from his utterances. Perhaps a book is at the printers?
Suffice to say that they are unhelpful and inflammatory and will just add fuel to the fire of an already sensitive subject - refereeing.