Tuesday 20 October 2009

Sunderland’s Freak Goal Illegal and Wrongly Allowed

There is a code of conduct that recommends referees be supportive of other referees. This referees’ code is usually followed because there is a basic understanding and perhaps empathy amongst referees that “the only opinion that counts is the match referee’s opinion”. The person in that specific time and place is the only person capable of making a decision at that specific time and place. Simple as that.

However, this position of support for referees should not be “blindly and passionately followed” because within reason there are always limits. One limit is of course not being properly aware of the Laws of the Game. Referees, and especially professional referees, are expected to know the Laws of the Game inside out and to apply them consistently when necessary.

Mike Jones, the premiership referee who allowed the goal that was clearly caused by outside interference, made an error, made a mistake, and was wrong. In HKRef’s earlier post, the only reasonable support given to Mike Jones was to suggest that he did not have a clear view of the outside interference. However, considering the fact that Mike Jones consulted with his Assistant Referee (plus the fact that he has open communication with all his match officials), the decision to allow the goal to stand is even more bewildering.

Even ex-professional referees from the Premier League (i.e. Dermot Gallagher, Graham Poll, Jeff Winter) have gone on record to say that Mike Jones made a huge mistake. There can be no “closing ranks” or any hiding from the fact that the referee Mike Jones made an extraordinary error in a basic law of the game.

Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that managers (as well as football reporters, pundits, players, fans and almost everyone else interested in football) have revealed their ignorance of the Laws of the Game. Referees have long known about this shortcoming in non-referees!
Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez said: "These things happen. It's a very technical question but it has to be a goal."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce revealed his contempt and lack of respect to referees by saying:If anyone knew that rule, that it should have been a drop ball, then you are one saddo. I didn’t know.”

The real “saddo” here is Steve Bruce and others like him who believe “swotting up” on the Laws of the Game somehow makes you a “lesser human being”. There is nothing wrong, and in fact there is great benefit, in being thoroughly knowledgeable about your interest, hobby, passion or profession (whatever it may be). But there is definitely something wrong, and nothing to be proud about, in being an ignoramus like Steve Bruce.

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