As we close in on the pointy end of the season, the position of the teams on the points table can be easily affected with a win and sometimes even a draw capable of moving a team up or down 2 or 3 places. But in saying that there may be other factors that could come into the equation that ultimately decide a club’s fate in the final wash up.
After watching most of the games over last weekend, and the Roar versus Adelaide United and Sydney FC and Wanderers games from the previous week. It appears fundamental refereeing mistakes did or could have had the ultimate bearing on which club received which points if any.
Two dubious penalty decisions in the Sydney/Wanderers game, a rocket of a shot from Broich in the Roar/United game that clearly crossed the line and bounced back into play with the game continuing as if nothing had happened. Then the diabolical proceedings at the Heart v Phoenix game this week, with Phoenix having appeals for a penalty turned down that even Stevie Wonder would no doubt have noticed. Then, to add insult to injury, had a player sent off and a very dubious penalty awarded against them.
I am only highlighting a couple of incidents over recent weeks, but these sort of things have happened in nearly every match throughout this season. We can all assume the inevitable quote, “They are only human.” Yes mistakes are part and parcel of a competitive game often played at a fast pace. But players make mistakes that can fortunately be corrected or overcome by a team mate, which sometimes doesn’t equate into directly affecting the end result and the ultimate allocation of points let alone the inevitable notation in the supporters memory bank.
Whereas when a referee makes a blatant error, it is destined for the “record book” to be reflected upon in numerous conversations, recollections and disputes, maybe for many years to come.
But our referees are not making basic errors in interpretation, they are making monumental blunders that appear to put them on another planet at the relevant time, resulting in a short straw long straw scenario to decide which way the free kick, penalty or benefit will go and obviously the ultimate points.
Refereeing standards have long been Australian football’s Achilles heel, and with the standard of football in general continually getting better, the powers that be must also make sure the referees are capable of stepping up to the plate also.
Most of the men in “black” (that used to be their uniform) must surely belong to the Greens Party as they are undoubtedly a pronounced protected species, irrespective of their performance or ability. A player most time falls on his sword if he continually makes mistakes in general play and finishes up on the bench or in the reserves. Most if not all these referees continually bounce back onto the pitch or TV screen like a king maker or Elliot Ness, the ultimate untouchable.
Players’ conduct and performances are subject to a match review committee and although I would assume the referees have a similar process, I would suggest it is a review conducted within their own ranks, not an independent body.
My tip for the Grand Final: Referees 1 A League 0.