Beach Ball Scores: Refereeing In The EPL

Alright, I know you haven’t heard of this yet…Manchester United are signing a brand new player before the Liverpool match.  He has a 100% record against the team from Merseyside.  Not too much is known about this player who scored recently within 40 seconds of coming on the field.  He has taken the footballing world by storm. When you talk about players who can change games, you talk about the brilliant Beach-Ball Balloon.

Ever since the bizarre beach-ball goal at the Stadium of Light last week, which resulted in Liverpool losing a vital 3 points at Sunderland, football fans and the experts have been trying to make sense of it all. It seems incredible that the goal was awarded and everyone but everyone who has been asked about it has been quick to quote the rule out of FIFA  “Laws of the Game’ book which states:

“The referee stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind. The match is restarted with a dropped ball.”

It is one of the most basic rules of the game. Everyone from the bloke on the street to the greatest footballing minds agrees that the goal should not have stood. This ‘ unanimous agreeing’ in itself is bizarre and terribly rare in football. Liverpool were bad in that game and really can’t blame the beach ball but what I am most intrigued about is, how was it that the referee did not know about this rule?

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Referees are usually picked on by everyone after each game. The losing team almost always wants to partly put the blame on the referee and dare I say, usually they have a point. The referees however, can’t be held 100% responsible for bad decisions because most of these decisions are a matter of interpretation. They are about how the referee interpreted the laws of the game for a specific incident at that particular time in a particular game. They are subjective and usually a shade of grey and annoying when given against your team. That actually makes every game even more interesting. Referees can’t really be called up to explain most of their ‘on-the-spot’ judgment calls. This decision however, is completely different; it was a rare black or white decision. There was no ambiguity, no shade of grey if you like, about it. It just showed that referee simply wasn’t aware of the rules. That is shocking and a shame for a league which is considered among the best in the world. What is really interesting is, that in most leagues, before the start of the season, referees are made to take a refresher course/test. It is no surprise after this crazy incident that the English Premier League referees have to appear for no such test. The referee Mike Jones who awarded Sunderland the now infamous goal has been demoted to the Championship but I wonder if it would have been wiser to send him in for a refresher course than merely getting rid of him from the Premier League. This incident really has started to make me wonder if Sir Alex was maybe right about referee’s not being fit enough. Mike Jones clearly wasn’t fit to be referring that game for lack of knowledge just as Sir Alex believes there are referees who are would fail to pass a fitness test. If the injury to a referee during warm-up before the Chelsea-Aston Villa match is any indicator, then probably the smart Scot might just have accidentally hit upon a very relevant and important concern in his bid distract the world from his team’s mediocre performance.


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