I highlighted on my show last week an appalling incident in which a woman assistant referee was attacked during a game in Nepal.
The very disturbing photo circulating in the media showed blood streaming from behind her ear.
On the day, she was innocent of any wrongdoing. The attack on her was in response to the decisions made by the referee that some players did not agree with.
In a subsequent hearing, four players were each suspended for two years, two others got a year each and the coach of the offending team was suspended for 18 months.
In my opinion, that is a mere slap on the wrist for an act of thuggery; a brutal and unprovoked attack.
Members of the disciplinary committee of this league should hang their collective heads in shame.
Thankfully, the assistant referee in question, Jamuna Morang, has since recovered.
This incident highlights again, as if it were needed, the difficulty and dangers that match officials encounter at games.
It’s all the more dangerous at lower-level games, where there is no protection and the refs are left to ensure their own safety.
It must be pointed out here that most match officials perform this very important and necessary function for little or no compensation.
One can only ask: Why in heaven’s name would you want to be a referee?
My wife asked me that on more than one occasion. And you know, looking back, I can understand anyone asking that same question.
The powers that be, who are charged with ensuring the safety of match officials, need to take a hard look at their procedures and rules.
They need to set in stone mandatory life sentences for perpetrators or collaborators who indulge in such heinous acts.
Failing that, the recruitment and retention of match officials will become all the more difficult. Some colleagues I’ve already spoken to are thinking of giving up refereeing altogether, and that is an awful shame.
Assistant ref asks for player’s autograph
Referees and their assistants are supposed to be unbiased. They should favour no one, regardless of who they are or who they play for.
But, alas, it did happen and, as is the case today, the cameras were there to capture the scene.
It happened at the end of the Champions League game between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
The players and match officials had left the ground when the Romanian assistant referee was seen in the tunnel asking 20-year-old Norwegian star Erling Haaland for his autograph.
Haaland duly obliged, being the fine young man that he is, but the assistant referee should not have asked in the first place.
There will be those who will think that this is a non-issue because the match was over. However, what happens when this same official is appointed to handle a Dortmund game in future?
Will he be “kind” to the Dortmund team? Will he give them the so-called 50/50 decisions? Or even a doubtful offside? It opens a can of worms and would put this assistant referee under a cloud of suspicion.
Even the explanation later that he collects memorabilia to auction for charity might not be enough.
Advice to all match officials
Never compromise yourself as a referee or assistant referee by asking for an autograph or any form of “gratuity” from a player, manager or team.
You must always remain neutral and be seen to be neutral.
I doubt he’ll get another European or international game in the future.
It was a silly thing to do and I’m sure he is now seeing the ramifications of his actions.
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