Soccer illiterate coaches must learn the Laws of the Game.

It never ceases to amaze me the lack of knowledge shown by coaches and managers, and television commentators for that matter, when it comes to the FIFA Laws of the Game.

In a recent MLS game between New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew, the Red Bulls manager appears to have lost all sense of self control with his rather childish, but potentially dangerous and inflammatory outburst.

Mike Petke became so incensed after a penalty kick was awarded against his team that he launched into a tirade of childish petulance that is no good for him or for the game we all love so much

I mean, making statements like “that’s a guy getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend and wanted to be a part of the show.” This was in reference to referee Geoff Gamble after he (Mr. Gamble) awarded a penalty kick against his team (see below).

(Note from the editors: As shown above, referee Gamble was actually correct when he pointed to the spot as Red Bull’s Kosuke Kimura run into and brought down Columbus Crew’s Justin Meram inside the penalty area. Kimura did not receive a red card for a foul denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, however, because his foul occurred after Meram miskicked the ball and squandered his opportunity to score a goal.)

Mr Petke went on to say “that’s what it is to me and I don’t care what the league fines me. Those decisions and those types of things cost jobs.”

Well Mr Petke, your kind of comments cost lives and have in the recent past – one in the USA.

There is no way a coach should be allowed to make such statements about a refereeing decision.

There is no way that this kind of behaviour by a soccer official should go unpunished.

I wonder what the reaction of Mr Petke would have been if the penalty was for his team? Would he have been so vocal against the decision? I doubt it

The days of referees becoming “whipping boys” of soccer hooligans masquerading as players and managers has to come to an end.

It’s too easy for soccer officials to lambaste referees when things don’t go their way.

I hope the league disciplinary committee will have the guts to deal with this situation swiftly and promptly and send out a clear and unambiguous message to all that attacks on referees and their decisions, verbal or otherwise, will not be tolerated.

In the recent past two referees have died as a result of being attacked by supporters or players.

The outlandish comments by Mr Petke could have far reaching consequences and could act as a launching pad to the small minority of hot heads who attend soccer games that referees are fair game for their frustration and anger.

Mr Petke should be hauled before the disciplinary committee and severely sanctioned for his comments. He should also be warned that if any physical harm comes to the referee, he will be held accountable.

In fact if I were Mr Gamble’s lawyer, I would be exploring whether there were grounds for defamation or character assassination.

I would also pursue a legal case for crimen injuria against Mr Petke.

People like Mr Petke give the game a bad name and can, and has resulted in referees being attacked and killed.

For Mr Petke I have this advice:

When you go home to your wife and children (if you have a wife or family) think of the two referees recently who didn’t make it home after a match. Both were killed by thugs. Your comments could spur on such people to act in a very irresponsible manner.

I hope you don’t have the blood of some match official on your hands. Tone down your rhetoric before you regret it.

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: MLS

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