Soccer Magazine

Officiating: Soccer's Biggest Problem

By Thetoaststaff
Officiating: Soccer's Biggest Problem 
By: Brandon Whitfield
After years of watching Soccer and learning all the nuances of the game, I have decided that the worst aspect of it all has to be the officials.  The sport is set up for officials to not have to explain their decisions after the fact.  There is absolutely no accountability.  Just like players and managers, I would like the head official to be interviewed after the game so we can hear what he was thinking on certain controversial calls.  Many of them hide behind their superiors and they are not allowed to be criticized by coaches and players.  It is a sad truth that I expect an official to get at least one or two calls wrong against my team in every match.  My baseline feeling before any game starts is if there is a call against the team then they will have to find a way to overcome it.  In a sport like soccer, it is obvious that every goal is important.  One goal can change the complexion of games and the outcome.  So when an official calls a player offside incorrectly or decides that a goal is not over the line when it is, that makes a huge impact on the game. Too many times in recent memory I have seen important games decided on an official’s call.  I can’t put all of the blame on the shoulders of the officials.  There is technology out there to help them.  The powers that be just do not want to use it. Here is the famous Frank Lampard disallowed goal in the England vs. Germany World Cup match:
I can see how the officials missed that one.  On field level you really do not have depth perception to tell if the ball went over the line.  However, there is goal line technology available for officials to use to help in these situations, but the governing bodies still refuse to use it (It does look as if the Premier League has decided to test out goal line technology for next season: Link).  People have used the argument that lower leagues would not be able to afford the technology.  I believe that in major competitions and leagues we should worry about getting the call right rather than whether or not League Two Chesterfield can afford the technology.  The lower leagues should not be used as an excuse to continue with inaccurate officiating. 
My other issue with the officials is the offside rule.  Other than the goal line issue, that is one of the only rules on field that is not subjective.  There is zero ambiguity, so you'd think that would be the rule enforced with the most success.  However, the offiside rule seems to be the one that officials consistently get wrong.  There are linesmen on the field whose sole purpose is to decide what is and isn’t offside.  In any given game, there are probably at least two or three offside calls that are incorrect.  Here is Carlos Tevez's obviously offside goal in the World Cup match against Mexico:
I don’t see why technology cannot be used for offside as well.  As you can see in that video, very sophisticated graphics helped the viewer see that Tevez was clearly offiside (indicated by the shaded area that Carlos was standing in when the pass was made).  I am sure the graphics department for every televised match can set something like that up for another official.  Have the official in the booth watching the video and deciding using that graphic if the play was offside or not.  I just feel something needs to done to help the referees of the sport out.  The technology is there and the viewers at home get to see the advantage of instant replay, but the referees do not.  I am sick of complaining about a ref costing my team a match.  I would just like for the calls to be right and fair.  Is that really too much to ask? 


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