Why are referees such twats?

I’m still seething from yesterday. Ok - they’re not all twats. It’s a difficult job

But - they are regarded in a different way from their equivalents in other team sports. Cricket umpires and rugby referees make mistakes but are not generally seen, by players and fans, as incompetent (or worse) like most football refs are

Technology is only partly a factor - top level cricket and rugby officials have a lot more help from TV etc (it’s only FIFA that thinks this shouldn’t happen in football) - but they are also more respected to begin with

I was chatting to a bloke at work who’s a rugby fan, and, as a change from the ‘all footballers are soft’ argument (I have some sympathy here re footballers feigning injury) he was asking why hulking great rugby forwards can just accept decisions against them while footballers surround the ref. I said that yes, things like that famous picture of Roy Keane shouting in the refs face doesn’t show the sport in a good light, and players should respect refs more than they do - but it’s hard to respect them when they’re such utter twats!

So what do we think?

Is football inherently more difficult to referee?

Is the background of referees a factor? - none to my knowledge have been players at any significant level. Cricket umpires are virtually all ex-county players

Some would say that it matters that cricket and rugby are mainly played by the middle classes. (rugby’s a working class game in Wales and pockets of England - the South West and East Midlands) Is this a factor?


Interesting timing, especially given Mark Halsey’s comments about being instructed to not have seen things. How far does this sort of thing go? I’ve honestly lost count of the number of utter shockers over the years that have changed games. At all levels too, but some of the injustices done against England are the most memorable.

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“Who’s the Wanker in the black”

Is not a phrase that was coined lightly. Many a disgruntled crowd have started this chant after a spectacular crap decision. so since the 60’s until it was basically outlawed after everybody was told to sit down, MLG could probably give us the total crowd figures for the period, but they cant all be wrong so in a nutshell Refs are wankers who cannot be trusted to officiate in an unbiased way. in short they are wankers.

Its a tricky one because whilst it feels a bit daft being prejudiced towards anyone and everyone in a certain profession, there’s a degree of self-selection with something like football refereeing.

I mean, as a job, it simply has to attract a very small strata of the population that are officious, enjoy power for power’s sake, don’t give a hoot what people think of them and are confident in enforcing their own decisions regardless of majority opinion. Not the most attractive qualities in general but I’m afraid that’s literally what you need to have to be a referee.

The biggest thing that gets me about referees is inconsistency, and the larger issue of refs applying their own ‘fair’ interpretation rather than impartially applying the rules of the game. Howard Webb failing to send anyone off in the first half of the World Cup Final in 2010 being a great example. In theory, a referee shouldn’t really have a ‘decision’ to make, his job should simply to be a ‘spotter’; seeing whether or not a law of the game has been transgressed or not and applying the letter of the law, but far too many refs seem to see themselves as sort of ‘judges’ rather than simply refs.

Biggest example ever that will forever stick in my head.

Saints 3-1 Manchester City in our first season, Feb 2013.

It was in the first half. We were 2-0 up and attacking the Northam end. Jay Rod has the ball in the top left-hand corner of the penalty area, knocks it past Yaya Toure and runs the other side. Toure is attempting to shepherd the ball out play whilst Rodriguez is trying to get past him and get his left foot to the ball to pull it back across the face of goal.

Then, with the ball sliding out of play, clearly untouched and undiverted in its path since Rodriguez’s touch, Toure shoulder-barges/shirt-tugs Rodriguez and brings him down. The crowd bay for a penalty. City players and fans look sheepish. Toure has clearly committed what would be a foul anywhere else on the pitch yet in the penalty area you often don’t see them given.

So, is a penalty really fair? After all, Rodriguez was running towards the byeline, away from goal and on his weaker foot, ought the attacking team be given a reward as generous as a penalty for that? But, if it isn’t a foul, it simply must be a goal kick. Ought the defending team be let off the hook completely unscathed for something that would be a foul anywhere else on the pitch?

Those were the thoughts that clearly went through the refs mind as he paused, took a good 3 seconds or so looking at the incident, and made his decision. Was it foul and a penalty? Was it a fair shoulder-charge and therefore a goal-kick? Could you even make the case that somehow Rodriguez had actually fouled Toure and give the free-kick the other way?

The ref gave a corner.

The one thing, that every single person in the stadium knew that it could not possibly have been, was a corner.


We’ve come to know and in many ways accept that those in charge of the game (various federations) are all but overtly corrupt. Referees are the on field authority figure so if they get a decision wrong the natural reaction is that it’s because he’s got an interest in the outcome, ergo, a twat.

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I haven’t seen a single pundit or journalist say that was a penalty yesterday - they’re all bemused as to why it was given. It’s a bit of a leap to scream conspiracy straight away but with the allegations flying about at the moment with regards to top-flight refereeing it can’t help but play on your mind.

One thing that is for certain is that video technology is required to assist referees. It’s bizarre that football has changed so much in the last 20-30 years but refereeing is still stuck in the 60’s. For the game to be properly controlled and officiated there needs to be a 5th official with access to video replays, though I do fear that the “powers that be” won’t allow that. There’s an unseemly smell of corruption around world football, are the PMGOL involved in that somehow?


There’s so much money sloshing around at the premiership level that I suspect clubs can’t afford to lose it.

If that means all the shenanigans that goes on in matches - pulling shirts, deliberate fouls, feigning injury etc etc are being done to gain the advantage then it’s no wonder Refs become the whipping boy when they get it wrong or miss something.

That being said, when there are accusations that some Refs are deliberately not seeing things, particularly in games involving the “big” clubs, then something is definitely not right with the game.

Do I wear a tinfoil hat and think there’s a conspiracy? then no…maybe :wink:

Do I think players should show more respect when a decision goes against them? then yes.

Do we need video replays? then, yes otherwise the game as a whole will become more discredited.

Are Refs twats? I’d say yes, for a given value of twat - they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t make the right decision given the way things stand in the game at the moment.

I think it was George Carlin who said that you don’t need a formal conspiracy when powerful people’s interests converge.

In footballing terms, the fact that video technology and/or some kind of an ‘appeal’ based system is perfectly accessible, yet no representative from any of the big clubs have supported its introduction whatsoever, speaks volumes.


Swansea v Chelski

Costa floored, but play acting as if he’ll never play again…twat.

But what can the Ref do but card the opposition?

Even 5 live questioning his regular play acting…and surprise surprise Costa has made a miraculous recovery…ffs!

Edit : Justice. Swansea pull 2 back in as many mins!

Costa dives,rather than score. He’s on a yellow but Mariner doesn’t book him. Should have been sent off for a second yellow.

Questions need to be asked about Reffing standards after this weekend.

I’ve got used to them being twats, I’d just like them to be consistent twats.

Too many of them love themselves.

Huge debate on refeering standards and diving (Costa) on R5 606 now

Chelsea have done very nicely from refs in recent seasons.

Some clubs seem luckier than others.

The problem with statements like Halsey is you wonder how far the culture of corruption might go, should it exist.

Leicester were awarded a lot of penalties last year, and yes, they were a great story. You do wonder how much the PL might favour the narrative over the actual.


Didn’t that happen to Costa earlier in the season, he was already on a yellow and should have got another one for diving or absuing the ref. Ref didn’t give, probably didn’t want to “ruin the game”.

Then Costa pops up and scores the winner!!

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Ah yes, here we go, against West Ham

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No, no, no - that can’t be right - I’ve been assured that these things even themselves out. :smile:


Leicester were awarded 13 penalties.

We got four!

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You’d almost think there was a conspiracy to make sure Leicester won the title and we didn’t…