Prior to the Champions League first leg, extra emphasis was placed on respect in English football after Alex Ferguson and Avram Grant’s rant against referees. The notion was promptly outreached after Wayne Rooney’s f-word expletive.
Adding another dimension to the campaign the football authorities extended the oath of respect not just to referees, but the football population. Although the prerogative has been constantly undermined since its invention, it is now time to induct a synchronised global effort in effacing disrespect. This comes as a result of repetitive failure from the referee to justifiably award Chelsea a crucial decision in the latter stages of the Champions League.
Emblazoned on the sleeves of teams in world and continental tournaments is the word respect, but there no longer exists respect in the modern game. Most of the spotlight is placed on the referees and their decisions, but are instantly undermined when governing bodies refuse to provide platforms for explanation or democratic ideals.
Instilling the anecdote of freedom of speech is what is required to finally get the wheels in motion and generate universal respectability, rather than concealing the referee’s actions with gobstoppers which only adds to the frustration.
These measures of frustration have been felt by Chelsea fans in the last three years, against Barcelona, Inter Milan and as recently as last week against Man United. These disappointments have even led to Anders Frisk resigning as a result of death threats reasoned on the outcome of his decision making, yet FIFA used Chelsea fans as the main scapegoat. Whilst the minorities’ actions cannot be condoned, perhaps the issue would not have arisen had Frisk been permitted to explain his decisions?
The men in black are elementary to the respect campaign, but supporters have a significant contribution too. Referees are capable of mistakes and fans should tolerate that reality. Former referee Graham Poll has a valid argument to defend referees failures, in that referees simply lose form, like footballers, and have bad and good days which explains the inconsistency we have with referees.
Okay Graham Poll did book the same player three times, but the point is the wishful thinking of referees being consistent between games is humanly impossible, and no matter how much technology and support is introduced by FIFA and UEFA it will never change that fact. If anything the argument is that consistency can only be achieved during a single match.
What was frustrating last week against Manchester United is not just the penalty denial but how Drogba managed to receive a typically European booking for a high foot, when bicycle kicking a clearance unchallenged, yet Ferdinand went unpunished for scraping the face of Malouda with his boot.
That is just one of many typical examples that have brought managers, players and supporters together in force against the referees, which poses a sense of bullying. That is not to say referees are angels or right in everything they do, but they must have the support of the domestic associations for a respect campaign to be successful. Five years this season the campaign has been going, yet Ferguson and others still points out protection of his own players before matches, and questions the fairness of the referees afterwards.
No surprise that Ferguson was not too disappointed with the referee’s performance last week and Chelsea now have a deficit to overcome. Just like all important games, a strong and effective referee is required, but also the backing of UEFA is needed if mistakes are made. Meaning entrusting the referees to justify their decisions in post match analysis can only better the standard of officiating.
The standard of the game and the quality of refereeing can only be improved. Goal line technology is a way forward, and the respect campaign is a concept needing to be streamlined and structured throughout global football to gain the support from everyone involved for respect to be given towards referees.
Once this happens Chelsea can finally get the right decisions en route to lifting the big eared trophy.