Managers Continue To Insult Referees But Fines Are Insignificant


Referees continue to come in for criticism from managers with repeat offenders, Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes at it again this weekend – while the punishment never fits the crime as we see with Brendan Rodgers.

Managers Continue To Insult Referees

More examples this weekend of the unacceptable behaviour of managers in the heat of the moment and their continued failure to respect referees. The worst one was Alan Pardew. He has been a repeat offender and has done it again.

It was such a shame to see Cheick Tiote’s “goal” disallowed. It was a fantastic shot and deserved to be a goal – but it wasn’t because a Newcastle player, Gouffran was offside.

I wish that Mike Jones the referee had turned a blind eye to the offside and had allowed the goal because as Alan Pardew says the game is about entertainment and we should be favouring the attacking team and encouraging goals.

That does not mean the referee was wrong according to the rules.

The referee explained that he disallowed it because a Newcastle player, Gouffran was interfering with play. He was too. A picture of the crucial moment shows that he was in a position as the ball flew past him to dip his head or another part of his body and deflect it into the net. Joe Hart was looking at him and seemed to half expect it and failed to attempt a save.

Offside – interfering with play. [Photo: Alan Hill]Even though Hart would probably have got nowhere near the ball, the fact that Gouffran was in an offside position and might be distracting him even momentarily was enough for the offside decision to be correct. Everybody, including the Sky TV coverage is ignoring this fact. They even screened an extract from rule 11 which explained that you are not offside if you are interfering with an opponent and quoting.

“Interfering with an opponent” means:

"Preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball. For example, by clearly obstructing the goalkeeper’s line of vision or movement."

They stop at that and go on to say that the ref was wrong to give offside because all of the players obstructing the goalkeeper’s line of vision were Man City players. As I am typing this even Dermot Gallagher on Sky says “the first thing would be “Did it touch Gouffran and the second thing is, is he in line with Joe Hart?”

Pardew uses that fact to justify his rant and everybody else uses it to condemn the ref’s decision. For some reason, Gallagher and others all chose to ignore the second part of rule 11’s definition of interfering which says it includes,

"Making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent."

Now that’s what Gouffran was doing, or at least in a position to do. So Pardew was wrong, not the referee.

Even if Pardew was right, there is no justification for his behaviour. He keeps doing it and has a habit of trivialising it afterwards as normal behaviour and sometimes apologises for it as a heat of the moment thing. An apology is good but using heat of the moment as an excuse is not acceptable. What if he had hit the ref instead of just shouting repeatedly at him and aggressively poking his finger at him? That would be all right would it, because it was in the heat of the moment? No of course not. So neither was the rant. He also called Pellegrini a c*nt and it was picked up by the microphones which he knew were present.

In his next press conference, when it was pointed out to him that Pellegrini had said he was complaining too much, Pardew said  “I didn’t complain about every decision by the way.” That’s right. He certainly didn’t complain about the fact that Mbewa was not sent off for the horrendous double foul that nearly ended Nasri’s career. Perhaps he could make up for it by fining and suspending his own defender.

Foul! [Photo: Alan Hill]It is worrying that despite being an ex-referee that Gallagher does not understand that if you are standing a yard or two away from a goalie and step over a ball on its way into the net, you are interfering with play because just by being there, as in the opinion of the referee you may be distracting the goalie and making him hesitate about attempting a save.

If you want the goal to stand in those circumstances you need to add another clarification to the rule which says “if (in the opinion of the referee) the goalie has no chance of reaching the ball to make a save, even if he is being distracted by the player in an offside position, then that player is not offside”. Without such a change Gouffran was offside and the ref was technically correct in disallowing the goal.

Mark Hughes is another repeat offender and has gone too far again in criticising the referee for giving Liverpool a penalty. Again, even if he is right, his comment is not justified and he should be charged. I had to look at that one in slow motion from 3 angles. It was only when I saw it from behind the goal it confirmed for sure that Mark Wilson did not go for the ball and shoved his hip into Sterling whilst he was still in control of the ball and knocked him off balance. Whilst it looked soft, that made it OK for the ref to have the opinion that it was a penalty. That makes Hughes’ comments even more inappropriate.

It is also amazing that Jack Wilshere is tweeting to say that he honestly doesn’t know what the offside rule is. It is spelt out clear enough on the official FIFA website, step by step. That is where I got the definition from. What we have to accept is that each decision relies on the opinion of the referee and that’s what nobody likes when they the opinion doesn’t go in their favour.

Fines Still Insignificant

Brendan Rogers was fined £8,000 for his “homer” comments about the Manchester referee. If he is on £1million a year that’s 0.8% of his salary. For a bloke on £20,000 a year, that’s £160. Would a fine of £160 stop you from ever doing it again? No? I thought not. I think a week’s wages would be more appropriate. On a million quid a year, that would be £19,230. Or £83,333 for a month. If you ratcheted it up by an extra month for repeated offences and added touchline bans, it might make a difference. Since they don’t do that, they are culpable themselves by tacitly encouraging the managers to keep it up.