What a pity party some in the media are having for refs.
If you haven’t listened to them, or read some of them, here’s the long and short of it; there’s a new rule being trialled by FIFA wherein refs would have to explain VAR decisions to supporters by way of the stadium PA systems.
This is a long way from being implemented here but already we’re being told that it’s impossible.
“Picture the scene” one hack writing for The Times has said tonight.
As if this is the world’s most controversial proposal instead of something that everyone should welcome.
His point, and this was being discussed on Radio Scotland last night, is that there is no way that any ref in Scotland is going to stand in front of the Celtic Park or Ibrox crowd and do that.
And my response to that is twofold; first, these hacks clearly believe that in Scotland we have fans who can’t be trusted in any way, and secondly … if refs don’t have enough respect for fans to actually do this then they’re in the wrong damned job.
Part of the problem here is the way that Scottish officials are already treated as though they were rare and delicate flowers.
They aren’t made to declare their allegiances, you cannot criticise them if you’re a coach or player although they can get managers the sacked and they no longer have to tell anyone why they made decisions. They live in a protected bubble and there isn’t a single one of us who should mourn for them if they finally have to be accountable like everyone else in the game.
The Time’s hack proposes a scenario; it’s the last minute of the cup final, and there’s a decision to make on a penalty. VAR gives it.
“Could you imagine the referee having to explain to everyone inside the stadium, and everyone watching on TV, why the decision had been made?” the hack asks. “Total carnage.”
Total carnage? Like what? Like a riot?
What a ridiculous claim. What an absolutely idiotic thing to write, grossly irresponsible and bringing nothing to what needs to be a more measured debate than this. Jesus Christ, and these people accuse the bloggers of going over the top.
It’s reminiscent of the “social unrest” bollocks which Regan once inserted into a debate about where the Ibrox club would start in the Scottish football structure.
It is this kind of hyperbolic bullshit which makes our game sound like an insane asylum and to be frank I’m sick and tired of it. The whole way we
There wouldn’t be “carnage” of any sort, even in the highly unlikely event that the decision went the way of our club, which to be honest only makes me laugh as it’s bordering on unthinkable.
Their fans have a healthy lunatic fringe, and are a thousand times more paranoid than our own are, but even they would not be storming the pitch in fury.
“While you never say never with anything, particularly in Scottish football, it seems unlikely this approach could be adopted here in the future, no matter how beneficial,” the hack writes and you know what? That’s the problem right there.
Because what he’s saying is that refs would oppose this although it’s a mark of progress and if that’s not what the debate over this should actually be about then I don’t know what else there is to talk about.
As I said in a previous piece, it’s amazing to me how many people are blaming VAR as if it was the technology itself that was the problem and not the people running it. The people.
The same old people who have been getting away with “honest mistakes” for years because here in Scotland refs are even less accountable than their paymasters at the SFA.
The reason there’s a debate being had in the first place here is down to one of two things, and whichever one you come down on the side of – that refs in Scotland lack the basic competence to make decisions even with the technology to assist them or that they are bent – it really does amount to a problem that existed before VAR and which would exist if the clubs decided that it’s done more harm than good and that it ought not to be used anymore.
I think that would create its own issues at this point.
The problem is with the officials themselves and rather than junk the technology and put further roadblocks in the way of progress perhaps that’s what we should be talking about instead.
But the media would rather focus on the spectacle of a ref having to stand and tell fans why their team is on the wrong end of a decision … forgive me if this sounds ridiculous, but isn’t making those decisions what they get paid for?
And if explaining it to the plebs – you know, the people the game is built on – is too much to ask of them here then I would suggest that some of them look for another well-paid hobby.
I’ll tell you this, I’m not singing the blues for these people.