Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Treatment of officials is depressing

By Kevin Garside

New year, old story. The referee's still an idiot. Football's inability to grasp the point regarding the treatment of officials is as depressing as the abuse of referees itself.

As long as the default position of managers, players and supporters is to blame refs, there is no hope of progress.

In an atmosphere where respect for office and dignity are central it is perfectly possible to administer a game from the middle in front of 80,000-plus partisan fans and get decisions right.

It is significant that rugby pursues an enlightened course regarding technology, which helps no end in determining the accuracy of decisions.

The camera is not fool-proof but it removes the doubt in most cases.

Even before match officials had recourse to a set of electronic eyes in the stands, rugby adhered to a strict code of conduct.

In this environment outcomes are correct by definition, rectitude conferred by the authority invested in the role.

What chance does the man with the whistle have of reaching the best decision in football when he is surrounded by a posse of baying boneheads?

Over on the touchline the behaviour of the players is widely endorsed by a manager or coach spewing invective.

The widespread introduction of technology is the obvious route to take.

While they are at it, the governing bodies might dish out a few deterrents, such as the docking of points for repeat dissenters. Players and managers might be less inclined to indulge in puerile bias were it to cost them dearly.

It's 2015, fellas, time to take a stand against the kind of behaviour we would not tolerate in a child.

Belfast Telegraph

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