On Referees, Injustice and No Hope for Improvement

Sunday began with a fantastic FA Cup derby, marred by Chris Foy’s rash thinking, or un-thinking and decision to send Vincent Kompany home with a red card, making things very difficult for City, who eventually lost 3-2. Hours later, in Spain, another heated derby between Barcelona and Espanyol, ending in a 1-1 draw, with a another huge referee mistake.

Michel Platini said that part of the sports’ popularity is the human factor which makes mistakes. These mistakes turn into endless bar conversations, discussions and arguments. It’s good for the sport, according the the UEFA, soon to be FIFA chief. We’re in for another depressing era unless something changes.

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Back to Barcelona. Real Madrid have now opened a five point gap, once again, at the top of the La Liga. Barcelona’s struggles away from home this season, winning only 3 of their 8 away matches will cost them the title if they continue. Espanyol is always a tough nut to crack, the team that has taken off Barca more points than any other club in the past five seasons.

Barcelona didn’t deserve to win, as Espanyol brought out what you expect from the smaller team in a derby. Passion, sacrifice and unrelenting defending. Still, a clear handball should have given Barcelona a penalty. It denied a late goal, or a penalty kick. Either way, referee Javier Turienzo Alvarez also, with the help of his linesmen, ruled two off sides that weren’t really there.

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Mistakes are easier to spot these days. More cameras, more replays. More Internet debates, videos and uploads. Goal-line technology isn’t the only thing necessary. A replay booth should be installed. Not for offsides that shouldn’t have been called, but for offsides that should have been called. For fouls and infringements missed by the referee.

FIFA love their referees to act like robots, like Foy did. He saw, not too close to the event, a two legged, clean challenge. He didn’t notice that the direction of Kompany’s boots, and just went ahead with the red card. No thinking, just rash, and wrongful decision making. Wayne Rooney whining in his ear helped as well. The same whining Alex Ferguson criticized Bayern players for when he got knocked out of the Champions League as Rafael got sent off.