There is the recurring theme of chaos in the World Cup, and seems to appear every four years and every other match or so. The causes of the chaos seem to range from the huge (Maradona’s hand of God) to the less so (Lampard’s disallowed goal), but they all have great significance, and the officials int he game are there to help shepherd this chaos, and for the most part they do a great job. But every so often they make a mistake and this is what makes it one of the most pressured jobs in the world, especially as the world is watching.
It is so easy to criticise the referee, and sometimes this criticism is deserved, as what is a yellow to one referee is not to another (eg. in the Germany, Serbia match when Alberto Undiano; the referee, gave Miroslav Klose two yellow’s where most other referees would have just given fouls), which gives teams an unfair advantage over other ones simply because of irresponsible decision-making, and the consequences can leave a team crashing out the world cup.
The referees are handpicked from around the world, and just as the players are the best in the world at their jobs, the officials are at theres. Although it can be said that there are very few referees nowadays who don’t have some controversy or another to their name, as it is in people’s nature to make mistakes. Many people have asked whether we can keep allowing the officials human error to rule the game and, in some cases, pick out the winner with their mistakes, but I feel we have no other choice. I do believe we should bring in goal line technology and the opportunity for referees to view video replays so we can get as close as we can to honest football as possible. But I also believe that no machine could ever replace a referee on the pitch as there is always human judgement involved, like the playing advantage rule and the choice of giving a card and which card to give, no machine could ever say whether a tackle had malice involved in it.
Most of the time, the referees do a great job, but every now and again they slip up just as the rest of us do. Unfortunately this can not only alter the scoreline by disallowing a goal, or allowing one which might be offside (the apparent offside against Uruguay last night, as Van Persie tried to play Robben’s ball before it went in the back of the net), but also the mentality and momentum of the teams, as they lose focus and feel outraged falling out of contest, and unable to scramble back into the match.
Whilst the perfect referee is an ideal, you have to realise that the game of football, as with any sport, is decided by far more than just referring, and ultimately quality will shine through. Germany beat England because they had the pace and the passing precision to beat a faltering defence on the counter. And Uruguay, whilst being a very good team, couldn’t keep up with the Dutch and the likes of Robben and Sneijder. But who knows what the refereeing of the future will be like, lets hope that it’s not too perfect so there is still a little bit of hidden drama that goes beyond the players, besides I have to blame someone other than the players for England losing..