Referees – stop cozying up to players and team officials!

If 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).

  • Why are you doing this Mr. Ref?
  • It’s not your job to help him back to his feet!
  • Just do your job and get on with it!

Managers and players respect authority. They will take advantage of any referee whom they perceive likes the limelight and will use it to their advantage.

I remember some years ago a Premier League coach speaking at a referee conference that I was attending. This was a highly respected coach and was never slow at saying exactly what he thought, especially when it came to referees and refereeing decisions.

He told us quite openly, and without any apologies, that he had a dossier on each referee.

  • He knew who would give him a penalty and who would not.
  • He knew who would issue a yellow card and who would not.
  • He knew who would issue a red card and who would not.

And to be honest, he was spot on. He knew he was right and that made it all the more unbearable to take.

Referees today are too familiar with players and coaches, and as the saying goes familiarity breeds contempt.

If I was in charge of referees I would issue the following instructions, nay orders and anyone found to be in breach of these orders would be demoted to the lower divisions regardless of their status.

  1. The hand shakes before and after the game should be immediately scrapped. It has caused more trouble than it has solved and is hypocritical to say the very least.
  2. I would ban referees from explaining their decisions and engaging in what appears to be an inordinate amount of time in justifying those decisions.
  3. If a red card is required, then it is to be issued regardless of who the player is or what club he plays for.
  4. Referees should not engage in any form of social activity with teams or team officials or players before or after games.
  5. Referees must avoid engaging in any form of contact with players or team officials other than what is required to carry out their duties as referees on the field of play.

I believe these actions are necessary for the referees to be seen as objective and unbiased while performing their duties on the field of play.

Referees have to always keep in mind that they are there to arbitrate between two teams of, in some instances, multi-millionaires, whose only aim is to win, and if that means cheating and lying to do so, then so be it.

Please, my fellow refereeing colleagues just do the job you are asked to do. If you are in it for the money or the glory, get out now. This game will destroy you and your reputation.

Let’s bring back some pride and respect to the refereeing world and we will be thought more of by all concerned.

Happy whistling!

About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups. He also writes on his own blog at SuperSport.

Categories: General

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: