Gameweek 7 perfectly highlighted the flaws in the Premier league system when it comes to refereeing. The current rules state that if an official saw the incident in question, no retrospective action can be taken. This meant that Huth and Tiote both got away with stamps on opposition players. Suarez may seem petulant at times and there was no defence for his pitiful dive in the box but he was clearly a victim of a stamp from Huth which left a mark (albeit small) on his chest. Clearly, this is unacceptable behaviour on the pitch but with this rule in place preventing retrospective action, Huth has got away without punishment or consequence for his action. This goes against all that we are told when we are growing up and there needs to be consequences for such actions.
It makes no sense that for the simple fact that an official saw the incident, no further action can be taken. This sort of implies that the official is never wrong and even if he is, we can’t point it out and take the necessary action that he should have. On what sort of pedestal have we placed these officials? Is Howard Webb next to cleanliness? Who are we to question the almighty referee? Yes, they are given split seconds to make difficult decisions and yes, they do have a difficult job but when they do get things wrong, there should be a panel in place to correct these matters and dish out punishments that players deserve.
The Problem of Diving
Diving has been talked a lot about in the football media recently with everyone wading in with an opinion on how to fix it. Many have gone for the stick option and think we should punish divers harshly with bans or even red cards. However, this could all be fixed if they choose to bring in retrospective refereeing regardless of whether the incident was seen by an official. The same panel can be given the task of focusing on specific topics such as diving and if they feel someone cheated or tried to trick a ref (including those that are successful), a punishment in the form of say, a one match ban could be handed out. This would soon make players think twice about going to ground as if their legs had turned to jelly.
The one negative consequence from this would be the added pressure placed on refs. This would bring their errors out into the open and some refs will get more stick than others. It’s not an easy job refereeing a Premier League match and anyone is prone to mistakes but this shouldn’t prevent us from pushing forward with making the game fairer and more just. If mistakes are made, retrospective action should be swift and have little focus placed on it by the football media. Let’s accept that mistakes are part of the game we all love, correct them and get back to playing football.
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