In the current football climate not a day goes by when we don’t lambast the referee for making a wrong decision.
Refs today are under tremendous pressure, and while they make mistakes they don’t admit them, protecting themselves in the false impression that if they were to admit they were wrong the players would question them even more on the field.
Because of this, and because of how players and managers are treating refs these days (Dowd’s roasting at the hands of Jewell and Whelan is the latest incident), I do feel some sympathy for them – the fault like primarily with the FA for not helping the refs, even if the refs are hardasses who refuse to admit that they’re wrong.
So when a ref comes out and admits that he made a mistake (based on TV replays, no less), you have to hold your hand up and say ‘well done’.
Dougie McDonald – officiating the Kilmarnock vs Rangers game – gave a wrong penalty call (the first goal of the game for Rangers, who won 3-1) but later admitted that he was wrong.
Like McCarra says, refs need help from all sides – from the FA to provide them with video technology and backup, from players and managers who need to be more respectful on and off the pitch and must direct their anger to the right direction (the FA), and of sports psychologists, who can help refs stand up to the pressures of officiating.
But most of all, refs need to help themselves and not let home bias or ‘big team’ bias hinder their decisions (if indeed these things do make an impact).
I don’t think the Jewell-Dowd-Whelan thing needs to be discussed too much. Did Dowd swear at Wigan’s players? Then Jewell should have kept his big mouth shut and taken the matter up with the FA. If Dowd’s incompetent, he is incompetent for both sides and it’s not because he’s deliberately doing things wrong – he’s trying to do his job and he will invariably make mistakes.
Jewell and Whelan have no business attacking the ref – they need to take on the FA, because at the end of the day, if anyone has cost them 50m, it’s the ineffectual FA.