Hanging Judge | Fairness and guts ... that's the stuff of great refs

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Match Referee, Andre Marriner reacts a medical emergency occurring in the stand with a supporter during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17. Photo: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images
Match Referee, Andre Marriner reacts a medical emergency occurring in the stand with a supporter during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17. Photo: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images


I recently had a great chat with a good friend of mine on my Monday Review Show. We were lamenting the fact that some referees were not doing their job in enforcing the laws of the game.

I had a few clips which I played for Keith Hackett – former English Premier League (EPL) and Fifa referee, and previously head of Professional Game Match Officials, the body responsible for match officials in English professional football.

He and I couldn’t understand the decisions made by some “men in the middle” in recent times.

One clip referred to team colours and what players are allowed and not allowed to wear on the pitch.

For example, if a player is wearing an undershirt, it must be “a single colour which is the same colour as the main colour of the shirt sleeve [law 4: players’ equipment]”. This was not the case in the clip. The main colour of the shirt was blue, while the colour of the under garment was white.

Incidentally, the law also refers to undershorts as follows: “Undershorts/tights must be the same colour as the main colour of the shorts or the lowest part of the shorts. Players of the same team must wear the same colour.”

READ: Hanging Judge | Offside is still a contentious law

I asked Hackett how this could be allowed to happen. Didn’t the referee and/or assistant referees check the colours in the dressing rooms before the players came on to the field of play?

He said the colours were checked in the tunnel, right before the players came out for the match.

Surely that’s too late to make changes, I said. Hackett agreed and said that, at one time, match officials went into the dressing rooms before the game, but that has stopped and so you have situations such as this occurring.

He also said there should be five colours on the field of play – the two goalkeepers, the two teams and the match officials.

All hail the DStv Premiership

It’s important to give credit where credit is due, and the PSL is at the top of the list, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to prematch organisation.

The EPL could learn a thing or two by learning from this example.

Andre Marriner (EPL)

I think it’s important to give some praise to referee Andre Marriner for his work in a recent game involving Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St James Park in Newcastle. A Spurs player came to Marriner to inform him that there was a medical emergency in the spectators’ crowd and that urgent medical attention was needed. Marriner stopped the game and allowed medics from both teams to run across the pitch to assist.

He also held up the game and took the players off the field for approximately seven minutes to avoid any need for fans to celebrate in case a goal was scored, or saved, thereby allowing the medical personnel to do their job unhindered.

Daniel Siebert (European Champions League)

On Tuesday, I witnessed a classic refereeing performance by Daniel Siebert in the European Champions League game between Atlético Madrid and Liverpool. He was professional and calm, and his body language showed that he was in control of the game.

Atletico de Madrid
Luis Suarez of Atletico de Madrid argues with the referee Daniel Siebert during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Atletico de Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on October 19. Photo: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite enormous pressure from the home team and its fans, he never flinched in issuing a red card to Antoine Griezmann of Atlético, and later awarded a penalty to the home team after Liverpool forward Diogo Jota appeared to force an Atlético defender into a tumble, but, on reviewing the video assistant referee, overturned the penalty. Both these decisions took guts. To all aspiring referees, I recommend that you check him out. This is the way to go if you want to get to the top.

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.


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