Hanging Judge | Refs are finally getting a grip

VAR is football's talking point of the decade. Photo: File
VAR is football's talking point of the decade. Photo: File


First of all, let me apologise for not being able to submit a column last Sunday.

This was due to unexpected and unavoidable circumstances, and I hope you will understand and forgive me for that.

Over the years, I have noticed a deterioration in refereeing standards.

I have noticed the questioning and sometimes violent challenging of referee decisions by teams, coaches, managers, spectators and, in some cases, the media.

I have seen middlemen – not middlewomen; that doesn’t seem to happen at all in the women’s game – pandering to the whims of players in an almost patronising way, which, in my opinion, lowers their esteem in the eyes of teams.

Gone is the authority and respect that the ref and his assistants carried in the past, to be replaced with nothing more than the men in black as an unnecessary evil in the middle and on the line.

Match officials seem to be whipping boys these days, and someone for everyone else to take their frustrations out on – sometimes verbally and sometimes physically.

However, in recent times I’ve noticed a change for the better.

No longer are referees blowing the whistle for innocuous fouls.

No longer are referees blowing for players diving and cheating to win a free kick or penalty kick.

READ: Hanging judge: Refs under attack again

No longer are referees giving in to blatant deception by some seeking to get one of their fellow professionals yellow-carded or even red-carded.

In fact, I’ve witnessed a referee issuing a yellow card to a player on the ground while they gesticulate to have the alleged perpetrator booked. Well done Mr Ref, it’s about time.

I urge all referees at all levels of the game to continue along this path and put a stop, once and for all, to this shameful behaviour that has permeated the game.

Bad behaviour is casting a blight on the beautiful game and is leading to people finding other sports to support, where there is more genuine effort and sportsmanlike behaviour.


I can’t believe that the video assistant referee (VAR) is still a bone of contention.

Players and managers want it when it’s in their favour and disagree with it when it’s not.

There have been some very close calls in recent games in the Premier League.

READ: Hanging judge: Defending the indefensible

In one incident, between Arsenal and Manchester United, a goal was scored and contested, and finally the VAR decided, by the slightest margin, that the player who scored was offside.

In the same movement, it was discovered, again by VAR, that a penalty incident had occurred and was subsequently awarded by the referee.

It turned out that both decisions were correct.

If it hadn’t been for VAR, what would have happened?

I’ve said many times that justice must not only be done but seen to be done, and this is a typical example of what I mean. Justice was done and seen to be done.

Whether you love it or loathe it, VAR is here to stay.

Yes, I know there have been complaints that some VAR officials are getting it wrong. Those complaints will only come from the team that does not benefit from it.

Please stay safe and well out there. This pandemic is not over yet. Protect yourselves and your families, and observe all medical and scientific advice. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

Happy whistling!



.Follow me on Twitter @dr_errol


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