Remember the hoopla surrounding the terrible calls from the replacement referees in the NFL? Now double that controversy, throw in some ejections and add accusations of racism and what you get are the recent flubs by English Premier League officials. These are the full-time refs who don’t have instant replay, yet hold full autonomy over calling fouls. We accept human error, but the rejection of using goal-line technology to accurately call games won’t fly. And when possible title-deciding matches and immensely popular rivalries (like last weekend’s contests between Chelsea and Manchester United and Everton and Liverpool) get compromised, we have to call people out.
Manchester United Vs. Chelsea
Head official Mark Clattenberg’s first red card against Chelsea defender Branislov Ivanovic provided no argument–Ivanovic tripped United winger Ashley Young on a clear one-on-one attempt at goal. The red card against Fernando Torres, however, was highly suspect. Torres embellished a light foul, but his sending off was debatable. To compound matters, United’s game-winning goal–after Chelsea were two men down–saw Javier Hernandez tap in from an offside position. Javier Hernandez was inside the net before he rushed back to pile the ball into the net. Despite Chicharito’s fortunes, there was no call and United wrapped up the three points.
Chelsea later filed a complaint to the Football Association that Clattenberg directed a racial epithet toward John Obi Mikel, an accusation which is taken extremely serious in world football.
Everton Vs. Liverpool
On Merseyside, diving was again the topic of conversation when Everton manager David Moyes called out Liverpool’s Luis Suarez as a frequent offender before their derby match. In response, the defiant Suarez rushed toward the Everton bench after scoring a goal in the 14th minute, flinging himself into the air in a simulated dive:
Toward the end of the match with the score tied at two goals a piece, Suarez appeared to score the game-winning goal, but controversy ensued when the referee called offside. Yet another botched call, with Liverpool paying the price.
No matter the sport, the refs will never be loved, but simple replay would go a long way in helping them appropriately do their jobs. In the case of international soccer and this weekend’s displays of refereeing, why not give in and finally include it?