Johannesburg - The recent decision to begin handing out red cards to managers and coaches in the championship and lower leagues in the UK has received a mixed reaction.
Before this, only the players on the field and substitutes on the bench could get carded. All other occupants of the bench were ordered to leave the technical area which, in effect, meant they were red-carded.
Now, managers and coaches will be shown a red or yellow – whichever is appropriate for the misdemeanour or “crime” – committed.
For some strange reason, the new system does not apply to the English Premier League, and this has left some scratching their collective heads.
Why is it okay to do this for the lower leagues, but not for the Premier League?
Surely they should all be treated the same? Surely there is some kind of discrimination in there?
Damn right there is.
The power that the top league has is, to be honest, unhealthy.
The coaches and managers in that league wield enormous power.
One only has to look back at some of the referees and assistant referees who were blatantly intimidated by so-called big personalities of the game. Remember the famous/infamous “Fergie time” when Sir Alex Ferguson would point at his watch if, in his opinion, the referee was adding too much time to the end of a game, especially if United were leading?
It’s worth pointing out here that all lost time, and I mean all lost time, has to be added on at the end of the period in which it was lost.
So, if, for example, there are four minutes at the end of the 90 minutes to be added on, time lost in those four minutes also has to be added on, so you could have five or six minutes instead of four.
I hope that makes sense.
No manager or coach or substitute has, to my knowledge, become famous or gone into the history books as being the recipient of the first yellow or red card.
I wonder who will have that dubious honour.
Refs stamping their authority
Getting back to the Premiership, there does seem to be a tightening up by referees on the issue of diving and cheating this season.
The first game of the new season between Manchester United and Leicester was refereed by experienced match official Andre Marriner.
He hasn’t always covered himself in glory with his displays.
This time, however, I was impressed by the way he handled the game.
He was up with play and, when players were obviously and blatantly up to their old tricks, he ignored them and left them lying on the ground when they clearly were looking for a free kick.
He set the tone after only a few minutes when he awarded a penalty to United – and it WAS a penalty. A clear handball by the defender who stuck out his arm to control the ball.
The annoying thing here is that the player and his team-mates had the audacity to question the decision, but Marriner stuck to his guns and the penalty was scored.
I did think that Leicester should have been awarded a penalty, but, with the absence of the video assistant referee system, everything was left to human frailties and so Leicester were denied a chance to equalise.
For the record, United won 2-1.
Contrast Marriner’s conduct with his colleague Anthony Taylor in the Liverpool versus West Ham game and you’ll see what I mean.
For a man of Taylor’s experience, he did not cover himself in glory at all.
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