Word of the Week : Seriously

By Vinnie Venezuela

By now, everybody except Al Hilal fans has come to terms with the fact that the Western Sydney Wanderers victory in the Asian Champions League final was down to luck, some amazing goal keeping and referee Yuichi Nishimura who clearly was not in the mood to give any penalties.


Such was Nishimura’s performance that, apparently, Graham Poll, the ref who gave Josip Simunic three yellows before actually sending him off when the Socceroos played Croatia in the 2006 World Cup, mailed him a brochure of the most secluded retirement villages in the world.


Seriously though, being the official in charge of any game is fraught with risk and there is always a lot at stake when the progress of teams, coaches and players is on the line (I myself have had my foot stomped by a 9 yr old girl and it wasn’t even a final).


Whereas Al Hilal and even Liverpool in its game against Chelsea couldn’t get legitimate penalty calls awarded, there is still a deep, Bermuda triangle like mystery surrounding Strebre Delovski’s decision to give Newcastle a penalty in the game against the Victory on the weekend.


Perhaps Strebre – a respected and decent ref – felt he needed to restore balance and harmony to Nishimura’s universe, maybe he was just striking out at all the pushy-shovey that goes on during set pieces these days or he saw something we didn’t from his position besides the grassy knoll. If it was just because he wanted to make Musky swear, he should know by now that there are easier ways.


Whatever the reason, I seriously don’t get it. Having seen the footage a few times I can only conclude that someone’s aura was fouled.


Personally, I don’t buy the “human error” is part of the game argument and believe that we should be using as much technology as possible to get the decisions right.


Yes, we are slowly inching our way closer in this regard, but surely there is more we can do without waiting for Apple to invent it.


Why can’t we have officials sitting in front of monitors instructing match referees to bring the ball back? The ones on the field already play the advantage and then award the free kick if appropriate. People get cards after a run of play has ended. So why can’t the ref get an instruction telling him/her it was a red or it was a penalty or it was the wrong call?


You might argue that this will damage an official’s confidence, I say, it’s not about them, it’s about getting the result that is right and that is fair.


Given we’ve already had some controversial decisions in big games this year – Ben Williams sending off of Nikola Petkovic in Sydney FCs FFA cup clash against Adelaide is one that comes to mind -  we are again hearing calls for our A League referees to be full time.


This makes perfect sense and will certainly improve the quality of their work.

But the game is getting faster and faster and, these days , 3 points or a player suspended is a lot to lose.

It makes sense to use every tool at our disposal to make their job easier. Seriously.


Vinnie Venezuela

Four Diegos

This article first appeared on the excellent and must have A-League Live app by Sportsmate.


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