Vincent Kompany’s sending off in the Manchester Derby this weekend was correct. I just want to get that out of the way. He dived into a challenge with both sets of his studs raised and was no longer in control of his body. It was reckless and stupid.
What I have a problem with is the massive inconsistencies in how football is refereed, not only on a game by game basis, but on an incident by incident basis. Going back to the FA Cup game in question, around 15 minutes after Chris Foy had so strictly followed the rules of the game and produced a red he allowed a blatant foul by Ryan Giggs to go un-punished. Gigg’s tackle if anything was worse, he made no contact with the ball and cynically took down Aguero from behind. Mr Foy for some reason deemed this not to be worthy of a yellow, despite it being a clear breach of the rules.
Furthermore any football fan will tell you that most of the rules are un-important once the ball is in the penalty box, particularly if it’s a foul on a team attacking a set piece. Watch any game, from anywhere and you’ll see it, defenders grabbing shirts, pulling arms and climbing all over attackers. What you’ll also see is that 9 times out of 10 it goes un-punished or unnoticed and yet the moment an attacker makes any contact with the goalkeeper it’s a free kick. Similarly shoulder to shoulder challenges that are given as fouls outside of the box are hardly ever punished within it. Simply put refereeing inconsistencies are ruining football.
Even more frustrating is the fact that these men aren’t fools. They are highly trained individuals who are well paid to carry out a serious job. It is no understatement to say a poor refereeing decision can cost a man his job and in the worst case an entire team its league survival or promotion chances. Referees are currently wrapped in cotton wool, hidden away from the media and the questions of the paying public. Why is this? A manager must come out and give an interview at the end of a game, as do certain players on behalf of the club. So why are referees still deemed to important to answer one or two serious and unbiased questions from a journalist? It would provide the fans with an insight into the job and provide referee’s a platform to explain their choices.
No-one is perfect, and no member of the public with a brain cell expects a referee to have a game where he does not make a error of judgement. A throw in here or a free kick their are understandable. What we do expect is consistency, if a referee wants to come out and be authoritarian let them be so, I have no problem with a ref who blows for every foul and shows a yellow or red card accordingly. Equally I have no issue with a ref letting the game flow and being more understanding of conditions and pressure. But please can someone from The FA have the guts to stand up and say that at the moment they have the situation horribly wrong.