ON January 14, I watched Swansea playing Arsenal in the English Premier League and was completely blown away (pun definitely intended) by a flawless performance by the referee.
Regretfully, I cannot find his name anyway.
From the kick-off until the final whistle, he applied all the laws and penalised every infringement.
The outcome was that every player realised, quickly, that he would not get away with even the slightest misdemeanour and the game was played entirely within the intention and spirit of the laws, which made it a pleasure to watch.
The referee even had the courage to yellow-card an attacker for “diving” in the penalty area, an action that hasn’t been witnessed in the past 20 years.
It was a hotly disputed decision with strong appeals for a penalty to be awarded. I have replayed the incident some 15 to 20 times and I am convinced that the attacker deliberately dragged his right foot on to that of a defender to make it appear that his spectacular fall was the result of him being tripped.
I know that is a very subjective statement, but the referee was perfectly positioned to detect and, correctly, judge the incident.
It was a five-star performance by the referee.