United-Liverpool Fracas Exposes Referee Double Standards

By on March 14, 2011

Aftermath of Jamie Carragher's challenge on Nani

In 10th March’s edition of the Daily Mail, Wolves chairman Jez Moxey brought attention to one of the recent trends in the Premier League; the “haranguing of referees” by “the so-called bigger clubs with the more high-profile players who appear to think they are, at times, above the rules.” Despite perhaps sounding a bit bitter given the bad luck Wolves have suffered this season, it must be said that Moxey raises a very pertinent and credible accusation, with the recent Liverpool- Manchester United match a good example.

Every time there was a close call, players swarmed Phil Dowd, hounding him to pull out a card or realize his mistake. Van Der Sar and Rooney both enthusiastically protested Liverpool’s opener, which was indeed on-side, and the Carragher tackle on Nani, followed by Rafael’s tackle on on Lucas saw others again circle the man in black trying to influence his decision.

What does seem unfair, however, is the frequent way in which the league’s bigger personalities are allowed a spot at the referee’s side to argue their case, with Rooney, Vidic, Van Der Vaart, Ashley Cole, and Jamie Carragher the prime suspects. Famous personalities and club icons they undoubtedly are; but the Respect campaign is built on the referee being able to communicate with the captains of each side as well as the offenders, and it seems some officials are more lenient with bigger names.

An irate David Silva motioning for a card does seem to be more effective than the same appeal from the likes of Richard Stearman or James Beattie, and it is unfair that because one player has a higher profile that it should affect decision making in matches. In the FA’s official guide to “Working with the Ref,” the captain is advised that the official will “deal firmly with any open show of dissent…(especially) harassment and challenging.” Harassment includes “running towards the referee in an aggressive manner” and “players surrounding the referee to protest a decision.” Challenging’s definition includes “gestures that are obviously made in a derogatory manner” and “continually asking the referee questions about decisions made obviously in an attempt to undermine his/her position.”

If actually enforced in most Premier League matches, it is safe to say matches like United-Liverpool would have to be abandoned. In Tottenham’s 3-3 draw away to Wolves, Alan Hutton brought down Nenad Milijas in what seemed to be a clear cut last man back red. Immediately after the decision was made by Mark Halsey for a penalty, Huerelho Gomes, Jermaine Defoe, Steven Pienaar and Sandro all protested, surrounding the referee, with Luka Modric even making a late beeline into the crowd to plead for Hutton.

But the flow of matches and overall player-referee relations will be bettered if the mobs surrounding the officials, like packs of lawyers pleading their cases, are suitably dealt with, and in time eliminated.

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11 Comments

  1. AntiOnan

    March 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

    It has only been this season that THFC players have harangued the referee and quite honestly, it was about time as virtually every top 8 or so clubs have done it for years. I do not agree with it but while the FA do FA about it if you do not do it you are handicapped immediately. With regards to the long established”top four” they have gotten away with murder for years. The FA do FA so its join them or lose more games. What would you do?
    In addition those who gravity affects mostly in opponents’ penalty boxes which IMO is dire cheating.
    The FA as usual, did FA and still do. We had one fellow who did this once and thank god we have got rid of him. But what about that? It is even worse than the referee hassling and yet we still loads of it from MU/LPool/Ch/MC/Ars but nothing is done and if it is it is usually totally wrong Have a look at the WHL ACM game and see how often Crouch was fouled but who ws the source nof most frees there: crouch and undeservedly so so IMHO the whole refereeing game is totally lacking and my guess is that most are lucky to get 50% of decisions correct and that is wiytout the subject of your discussion.

  2. Phil

    March 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Easy, let the FA panel deal with offenders after the match. The only players entitled to speak to the referee following an incident should be the captains(s) and the player(s) directlty involved. Any other player getting involved should be cautioned, or let the FA deal with them after the match by way of yellow cards. the ‘totting up’ rule would then lead to bans.

  3. Chunky

    March 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

    A VERY simple answer to stop this…… Book EVERY player who is not the captain who challenges the referee WITHOUT any leeway and it will stop.
    Naturally this will never happen but one can but hope.

  4. Sam

    March 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    it’s because of small clubs that injuries like those of edouardo and Aaron Ramsay occur. makes sense

  5. Towson Tom

    March 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    The only way forward on that one is to fine the club for each incident involving any player exept the captains querying the refs decision, lets say £1000 per incident in the prem and less for the lower leagues. Sadly, I live in the real world and know that nothing at all will be done!

  6. bosco

    March 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    referes sumting destroy marches.after a march. d fa should take a gud luk at all d decition dat was md doing d game.any stupid mistake md by referes,they shld also b punish d way d punish players with red cards mises three march ban.if dat can b add 2 fa rules,then everyting wil b ok,is n’t only player dat shld b punish,referes 2 shld b punish 4 mkng mistake.

  7. BAZER

    March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I’M SORRY BUT THE REFERES ARE SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH .THE TACKLE FROM BEHIND IS A RED CARD NOT YELLOW .THE THROW IN IS A JOKE YOU CAN WALK 10 =20 FT WITH THE BALL YOU ARE NOT STOPED THE FEET ARE ON OR OVER THE LINE I WOULD LIKE TO READ A MATCH REPORT FROM THE 5TH OFFICIAL IN THE STAND ON THE STANDARDS.I KNOW YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE BUT IT’S TIME TO GET THERE ACT TOGETHER THE F.A AND THE LEAGUE.

  8. AMcCarten

    March 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Some good points raised. Booking every player who protests that isn’t the captain would be in a sense ideal, but I do think it would see too many sending offs and could restrict the flow of the game. Perhaps yellows for dissent should be given more often. Referees have a tough job, but standards must be enforced whether its West Ham-Stoke or United-Liverpool

  9. SpurredoninDublin

    March 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I agree about the double standards. I notice Ferguson did not complain when Looney Rooney was booked for a deliberate elbow by Clattenburg. He should have been sent off.

    A few weeks earlier Defoe was sent off and banned for three games for an elbow offence, and I am not convinced there was any intent involved, unlike Rooney’s premeditated act.

    Of course, we all know that Arsene Whinger has great eyesight when it comes to spotting an opponent’s foul that the ref has missed, but he can never see any fouls that are committed by his own player.

    Yes there are double standards, but when you get one ref sending off Defoe, and another booking Rooney, part of the problem is that refs also seem to have double standards.

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