Another weekend of the Hyundai A-League; another round of refereeing controversies. And I’m fed up.
Not with the bad decisions – even if we’d always prefer to see fewer – but with all the whingeing about them.
So, if you don’t mind (or, frankly, even if you do), I’m going to complain about the complainers.
Only a few weeks ago, I talked about my favourite type: the ones who allege that decisions are made to favour certain teams. Fans like that exist in all places and in plenty of different sports.
Being a supporter of Geelong in the AFL I’m a little reluctant to acknowledge it but, come on, #freekickhawthorn was ridiculously exaggerated this year.
Ah but there isn’t a professional Aussie Rules competition overseas you can use for comparison about the standard of officiating so at least there’s an absence of that other grumble we often get in the A-League.
Which goes something like this: “Refs here are a joke. They’re much better in (insert preferred European country).” If not written in some form, that second sentence is often implied … and ignores that in other countries, fans also obsess about match officials’ decisions.
Do we have much evidence showing that there are overseas leagues in which referees make far fewer mistakes?
Because the opinions of fans or columnists on this subject are worthless unless they can be supported with facts.
And if there are facts out there which compare refereeing errors across leagues (please, I’d love to see them), use them to identify the problem and suggest the solution.
It could be that no-one listens. But one thing is certain: no one is going to take any notice of unsubstantiated claims.
Constant complaining won’t achieve much either. We’ve already reached Boy Who Cried Wolf status. Who’s going to hear genuine concerns about A-League officials amid the cacophony of wailing voices?
For it isn’t just fans making the noise; it’s the commentariat, coaches and administrators.
And this won’t help the folks at Adelaide United who are entitled to ask Football Federation Australia a few questions.
The biggest talking point from the Reds’ visit to Perth on Friday night may have been the decision to let Andy Keogh’s first goal stand after a coming together between his Glory teammate Rostyn Griffiths and United ‘keeper Eugene Galekovic.
But that shouldn’t be the focus. Sure, goals win and lose you games (and yes that’s crucial!), however, more concerning is the treatment of Reds coach Guillermo Amor who was sent to the stands.
Unlike a few other coaches in the league, Amor doesn’t blow up every five minutes during a game. Indeed, he’s usually so calm – even under extreme pressure – that you could imagine him walking through a warzone and still remaining composed.
Attn @FFA, Jarred Gillett
Doesn’t matter what #Aleague team we support
If Gui Amor has a problem with you
The problem is not HIM
— Dean Rosario (@DeanRosario) November 18, 2016
You know its controversial when Gui Amor gets sent to the stands. Open your eyes ref! #Aleague #PERvADL #AUFC
— Peta Pants (@PetaPants) November 18, 2016
The calmest man in the history of civilization just got sent off.
Did Gui Amor pull out a chainsaw when we weren’t looking?
— Adam Peacock (@adampeacock3) November 18, 2016
Amor was unusually animated in Perth but who can blame him? One of the reasons why the Reds have made a slow start is that several players have suffered injuries. And some of those have resulted from tackles during matches that might have received greater punishment (which, by the way, is much more important than decisions which don’t affect players’ welfare).
When United cop questionable decisions, the Spanish mentor normally remains calm but, given those other problems, the frustration he showed on Friday night is understandable.
But despite Amor having a fine reputation for his conduct, and that in the heat of the moment he might struggle to get his message across because he’s still mastering English, he wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt when he tried to make his point to the fourth official.
And this is what I hope United prioritises in discussions with FFA. Amor has earned respect: a touchline ban would show that more than a year of exemplary behaviour counts for nought.
Griffiths/Galekovic? Forget it. Just one of many debateable calls our game brings up and will continue to do so.
It shouldn’t distract the good folk at United from fighting for their man. He’s earned it.
Paul Marcuccitti is a co-presenter of 5RTI’s Soccer on 531 program which can be heard from 10am on Saturdays.
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