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Premiership and other referees: mandatory post game press conferences?

October 16, 2009


Down the years, in whatever league you care to mention, top flight referees have always been the stuff of thousands of column inches and hours of Andy Gray type post match analysis, giving rise to all kinds of misguided conspiracy theories.

In recent weeks, the huge talking points have both directly and indirectly involved dear old Sir Alex Ferguson over at Manchester United. In the most talked about incident of the season so far, Michael Owen was on hand to slot the winner in the recent North West derby, unfortunately his excellent winning goal against Manchester City was rather overshadowed by the debate that followed regarding additional time. A fortnight later Sir Alex, as is his wont, hit the headlines again by casting aspersions about the fitness of referee Alan Wiley following the away match at Sunderland. Wiley you’ll recall, was the fourth official who attempted unconvincingly to explain to Mark Hughes why an additional four minutes morphed into over seven before Martin Atkinson blew for time.

I realise we don’t live in a perfect football world, but why not compel our match day umpires to attend post match press conferences where, in a new found spirit of transparency, they can explain their actions? Presently, the match officials do their stuff on the pitch, good, bad or indifferent and then head for home. My suggestion would be a system where the man in the middle is selected at random to appear before the media to respond to questions about his performance. In order not to influence decision making during the ninety minutes, and thereby head off possible criticism, the referee would only be advised of his selection at the end of the game. If necessary, media training can be financed by the Referees Association or the Professional Game Match Officials.

The nature of the “piranha club” tabloid British press will probably never change, but instead of putting their own spin on things they would be able to hear straight from the horses mouth, as it were, what happened and why. Personally, I’d quite like it if Sky TV were to cut away from the rapidly emptying stand behind Gray and Richard Keys after their game day coverage to broadcast live from a press conference involving all four match officials. Let’s get these men in black and green and yellow and some times blue to explain themselves, everyone forgets about the fans which is why web forums everywhere glow white hot most Saturday evenings.

Fergie, Wenger, Rafa whoever, every Premiership manager without exception has had a dig at some point or other about a decision they perceive cost their team. If those who must be obeyed are given first dibs, you never know, explaining themselves adequately might save Harry Redknapp and the lads a few quid. I wouldn’t want to do their job but let’s have some accountability.

What says the WDKF jury?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Orok Duke permalink
    October 17, 2009 4:08 am

    Well put. Only i doubt if d fa would even give a rat *** about this suggestion or any other innovative idea for that matter. Fergie has open a can of worm and it remains to be seen what becomes of it. He has enjoyèd 2 many tymes from this same unscrupulous officiating(won many titles). Is this another case of biting d finga dat feeds u?

  2. October 17, 2009 8:41 am

    To be clear, I have no axe to grind with Manchesters United and City.
    Big respect to SAF for what he has achieved and it would be great if City joined the cosy cartel of four in the Premiership.

    Every time a team loses because of what appears to be poor officiating, the number of conspiracy theorists amongst the fan base increases.

    Get the decision makers to explain themselves.

  3. yaniv permalink
    October 17, 2009 9:43 am

    hmmm.. Mayb i valid point.. But i dont agree.. When they removed d back pass rule, did everyone moan bout it? No, instead they drilled it into their head that now its outlawed 2 backpass d ball.. Similarly, now that d fa has said that bad mouthin d referee is banned during a post match interview, d managers should drill it into themselves that they shouldnt talk bout d referees.. Dont 4get, d referees shouldnt b answerable 2 anyone other than their peers.. D guys who assess them in d stands r d only ones they should answer 2.. Not d fans, not d managers, not d owners.. They r called officials 4 a reason.. Do u talk bout d judges?? No u accept their verdicts, if u got a prob, u go 2 a higher court, similarly, if d referees verdict is not acceptable, u challenge it l8r.. I hate this cribbin bout d officials.. Jus put up with it, they arent against u or anyone..

  4. October 17, 2009 10:08 am

    Totally disagree with Refs being put in front of the press

    The reason being that our press are a bunch of scum who will destroy anyone that opens their mouths..which means a ref has only got to say one word out of place in a post match ‘interview’ and the Sun et al will destroy them, turning it all into a bigger sham.

    The BBC showed on MOTD where the stoppage time in the derby came from, so the ref was correct. Why should he have to come out and justify himself because the tabloids kick off and Mark Hughes starts spitting blood?

    Whilst the game is solely officiated by humans there will be human error..i want technology brought in to help them so they make the right decision 99% of the time, rather than the lottery decision making we have today

    • October 17, 2009 11:11 am

      Agreed. I’d love to see the refs explain their rational behind some decisions but I worry about what the media will do to twist their words. No amount of PR training will prepare any ref for it.

      It would come to a situation when refs will take even a longer time to make a decision during the game, if he has to think about what he will have to say to the press after the game.

  5. October 17, 2009 11:49 am

    Excellent, a forthright opinion.

    @Rob spot on regarding the tabloid press, I know it’s an F1 expression, but piranha club seems apt, the tabloid type hacks aren’t and never will be Henry Winter. I don’t have an encylopaedic knowledge of the laws of the game, and nor I suspect do the majority of fans or journalists. A witch hunt most certainly isn’t what I was driving at, you can be assured the Manchester derby was simply a topical example of where fans etc could benefit from some clarification and who better to hear it from than the men on the spot?

    Perhaps my choice of words, “Get the decision makers to explain themselves” was slightly ambiguous, had a slightly tabloid inquisition feel to it and could have been better phrased.

    Reading the feedback to the original piece, I still feel post match “pressers” are a good idea.

  6. October 17, 2009 12:58 pm

    I referee and I have no problem talking after the game about decisions etc… But if I had to face the media I’d want my lawyer present :-)

  7. October 23, 2009 2:26 pm

    Because you were baptized into Christ and united with Him, crucified with him so that you died with him, now you can live in him. ,

  8. Conor permalink
    November 9, 2009 10:47 am

    regardless of who talks to the press post game it seems pretty clear to me that the FA simply don’t have a ref with the stones to call a peno against Terry at the Bridge … one of the benefits of being the English captain I suppose

  9. November 23, 2009 6:57 pm

    Refs are human beings so mistakes are bound to happen in games, but put them in front of the press and it will be chaos out there. I think video technology must be introduced, at least on a test basis for some games to lift some pressure off the officials as well, and point out any blunder on the spot.

  10. December 17, 2009 5:04 pm

    im with miss15, christ and united on this one.

  11. December 18, 2009 8:16 pm

    Elliott and Miss15, we here are WDKF, just to help you out a bit the clue is in how you arrived here, – why not Google and share your views with some like minded people? Alternatively, it would be great to hear your opinions on the weekly WAG, presumably having a wife or girlfriend is tolerated in your world!

  12. April 11, 2010 8:52 pm

    This weekend was a prime example of two high profile games, (domestically, the FA Cup final aside, possibly the two highest profile games of the entire season), where a couple of our finest referees made decisions which directly influenced both results.

    For reasons of his own, Howard Webb, a Yorkshire policeman, chose to ignore a spot of John Terry ABH that would have got him, and no doubt his blameless Mum or Dad arrested had it occurred outside a West London Pub. A day later, Alan Wiley scratched a Tottenham goal that looked perfectly good and then pointed to the spot following an innocuous 50/50 where one bloke fell over theatrically.

    What a great weekend then for two of English football’s foremost officials to explain their decision making processes in front of quite a few baffled, and impartial fans.

  13. April 11, 2012 11:41 am

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