Sunday, September 16, 2012
The referees should strike back
When was the last time you saw a referee intimidate a player? I think we can all answer that with one name: Pierluigi Collina. He was probably the greatest referee the game has ever seen. He was recognized all around the world because of his bald head and vicious big blue eyes. But apart from him, we've never seen referees stand their ground in front of the egotistical footballers that flood the sport. Not only was Collina's decision making perfect, but his physical presence meant that players automatically respected him because they feared him - a trait that all the referees are lacking today.
Referees have always been, and will always be, the victims of players and fans abuse.
However, when the reverse question is asked, when was the last time you saw a player intimidate a referee? The answer is pretty simple. You get that at every game. Players and fans hurling disgusting terms at the referee, expecting him to order all of their demands, is probably the most common thing in football these days. Will this ever change?
It could. But it could take drastic measures for that to happen. Something that FIFA, UEFA and all other authorities wouldn't want. There's been this campaign of "respect" over the past few years that all the players seem to promote within certain leagues. These same players, their managers and teams are all happy to smile in pictures holding up the "respect" sign, but when it comes down to it, they never seem to apply any sort of respect to any referees...ever. There's a general feeling that the referees are so fearful of some players and fans that they want to get on the good side of some of the egos in the game by favoring them when it comes to questionable fouls and by continuously trying to calm them down when they lose their tempers, instead of booking them for dissent.
So what's the answer then? Can referees ever have more control? Should they have more power? Will players ever truly respect the referees?
I've always been a strong believer of fighting fire with fire on the pitch, and the same goes for the referees. Why don't referees ever shout back at the players and insult them in the same way they get insulted? When players like John Terry and Wayne Rooney are screaming their lungs out in the referees' faces calling them words that would make a dictionary author look on with awe, can you imagine how great it would be if a referee hurled the insult back at the player? Just imagine the authority that would give the referee. Referees should be allowed to answer back and be aggressive. Referees should go head to head with the players because they have the authority and not the other way round.
Referees in football always seem to be men in their thirties and above, men with beer bellies, a lack of hair, and particularly people that seem to be easily intimidated. Imagine having a muscular, twenty-something year old, with the same athletic body as any professional sportsman, a bloody massive ego and being the man carrying the cards around. Pretty sure that, with those characteristics alone, he would be far more respected. On top of that, if the referees were able to answer back to the players, with no limits, it would make their jobs pretty easy. You'd see a lot more disciplined players in football, I'm sure. So what I'd say is - bring on the young, muscular, arrogant, referees. That'll teach the players a lesson or two about respect. That's the only way forward.