You always know who your friends are when there’s crisis. At a time when referees are being attacked on all fronts, both verbally and physically, the last one you would expect to be joining the queue is your national association.
Referee Victor Gomes, an up-and-coming match official with enormous potential, is under “attack” from his own association. An anonymous member of the South African Football Association is quoted in a Sunday sports paper as saying Gomes needs to be referred to a psychologist.
This all comes about as a result of Gomes awarding eleven (11) penalties in four (4) games. Five of these were awarded in one game alone. All five were viewed in slow motion from different angles by a Review Committee, a facility that the referee doesn’t have, and 4 were found to be spot on with the fifth being doubtful as to whether it was inside the penalty area or not.
Ok, let’s analyse the situation. Sure it’s unusual for so many penalties to be awarded in one game, but it’s only unusual because perhaps other referees are not doing their job.
Too many times I’ve witnessed referees pulling back from making that all-important decision because they’ve already given one or perhaps two. It’s the same with yellow and red cards.
How often do you hear commentators and pundits say “he sent off a player from team A, now he has to even the score by sending off a player from team B.” Yeah right, spoken like true soccer “illiterate” individuals who know very little of the FIFA Laws of the Game (LOTG), but will make their ill advised and ill considered comments nonetheless.
Let’s get educational here.
A direct free kick outside the penalty area is a penalty kick inside the area. So I ask myself – what’s the problem?
Not sure you guys in the USA have seen much English Premier League football in recent times? Next time, you should check out the amount of pulling and pushing that’s going on in the penalty area. Perhaps it’s the same in the MLS? Those are penalties and they are not being given.
Check the vicinity of the referee to these incidents and ask yourself how could he possibly miss them, and if he did why? Was he in the wrong position? Also check the view the assistant referee has and ask yourself why he doesn’t raise his flag to indicate to the ref that a penalty needs to be given if, in fact, the ref was in the wrong position and needed assistance. They’re supposed to be a team remember?
As far as I’m concerned, this is refereeing cowardice of the highest order. It’s plain for all to see, but the referee is either unwilling to give it, or is deliberately turning a blind eye because of the repercussions and backlash.
Then along comes a referee with balls who will not tolerate this misbehaviour and he is being referred to a shrink? Who actually needs the shrink here? Certainly not referee Gomes that’s for sure.
I have long said that clubs and their coaches have too much influence in the corridors of power within their respective associations. There are too many soccer politicians who will take the easy way out and blame the referee when a controversy arises.
It was long believed that Sir Alex Ferguson, when in charge of Manchester United, exercised certain influence over referees with his intimidatory and bullyboy tactics.
He was regularly seen on the touchline screaming at the man-in-the-middle when decisions went against his team. He could also be seen pointing to what came to be known as his “Sir Alex watch” indicating that he was keeping an eye on time. Unfortunately, it appeared that these tactics did work on some refs but fortunately not with others.
Ferguson lambasted me in the press when I sent off his captain Bryan Robson in South Africa in 1993. He said, “the referee wanted to be the star of the show.” Well Sir Alex, any player that calls a referee a “f**king cheat” deserves to be sent off under the terms of Law 12 which states that a player who uses “offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures is sent off.”
How many times do you see players behaving in this way and staying on the field of play? Not only staying on but not even getting a yellow card.
Referee Gomes, in my opinion, is on his way to the top. He’s already on the FIFA list and so long as uneducated and uninitiated soccer politicians don’t stand in his way he will surely be at the World Cup finals one day.
Keep up the good work Victor.