Hanging Judge | Refs under attack – again

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
We’ve reached a new low when a coach asks that a referee be banned because his team was denied a penalty kick. Photo: iStock
We’ve reached a new low when a coach asks that a referee be banned because his team was denied a penalty kick. Photo: iStock


I guess it’s not surprising, although never acceptable, that our referees come under attack at this point in the season. We seem to be the whipping boys for managers and coaches who feel hard done by when decisions go against their teams.

And it’s all the more relevant when that particular team is struggling at the bottom of its league, hoping to avoid relegation or hoping to win promotion to the next league up.

The abuse is not a new phenomenon that has suddenly burst on to the scene. It’s been going on since organised sport was first formulated.

And it’s not only in football(or soccer, as the Americans like to call it) – it happens in other sporting codes as well, although less so in rugby.

You’ll get the usual coach pacing up and down the touch line sometimes talking to himself, trying to get his team motivated to press on and try to score another goal.

The worried look, the frustration etched all over his face, wishing he could go on to the field and do what he wanted his players to do.

READ: Hanging Judge | Defending the indefensible

But I think we’ve reached a new low when a coach asks that a referee be banned because his team was denied a penalty kick.

Wayne Rooney is the individual concerned.

The former Everton, Manchester United and England forward, who is now the boss at English second-tier league club Derby County, was left fuming when a referee did not award his team a penalty in an away game they lost 2-1 to Swansea.

They’d already had one successful spot kick awarded, but he wanted another.

READ: SA football disputes and court cases: ‘Ajax-Ndoro case created problems’

Remember, Derby County’s hopes of avoiding the drop to League 1 are hanging on by a thread after having 21 deducted points at the start of the season for going under administration and for “historical financial breaches”.

The defeat put them on the back foot and created an enormous challenge for the young manager.

I think it’s a new low for Rooney to ask that the referee be banned because he didn’t get what was, in his opinion, a penalty kick.

The questions to be asked are:

  • Does Rooney think the referee was against his team?
  • Does he fully understand the laws of the game?
  • Why would a referee deliberately not award a penalty if it was deserved?

Most games today are televised and referees are scrutinised to ensure that they are applying the laws of the game to the letter, with a little room for discretion, of course.

Most referees are in the game of officiating for the love of it and most want to be promoted to the next level and eventually make it on to the Fifa international referees panel. Why would this particular referee jeopardise his chances by not giving a team what it was entitled to?

It beggars belief that a referee would do such a thing.

READ: Hanging judge | Refs need to be strong

It’s important to remember that law 5 states that “decisions will be made to the best of the referee’s ability according to the laws of the game ... and will be based on the opinion of the referee”.

Therefore, the referee is making a judgement call based on what they or their assistants see.

I know there have been one or two despicable cases where referees have been bribed and have taken money to influence a result. One only has to remember the infamous World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Senegal, which resulted in Ghanian referee Joseph Lamptey being banned for life for influencing the result.

Yes, sadly, it does happen, but not too often, thankfully.

Coaches need to get a grip and realise that the ref is there to do a job according to the laws of the game, and to the best of their ability.

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


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Latest issue
Latest issue
All the news from City Press in PDF form.
Read now
Voting Booth
Stats SA's recent consumer price index data this week indicated the rise in food prices was the largest in 14 years. Economists say continued load shedding also adds to the rise in the cost of food production. How are you feeding your family during this tough time?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I have a food garden
6% - 61 votes
I rely on sales
22% - 210 votes
I buy necessities
72% - 689 votes