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In soccer, why don't we have the central referee just……check that the game is played correctly?


I’m always positively surprised by the ability of soccer referees to handle multiple situations. The referees:

-Follow the game actions by running back and forth at the speed of the players.
-Make fundamental decisions, in the blink of an eye, which will determine the final score.
-Monitor the clock.
-Monitor the substitutions or permit the players injured to come back to the field.
-Decide how much extra time, often handling 2 watches.
-Monitor the yellow and red cards, by writing down the numbers of the players carded and the situations that provoked it.

And this is just the main topics that they manage without almost any extra help!

Do you ever see how it works in a basketball game?

There are 2 field referees, 1 on each side of the field (which is 10 times smaller than a soccer field!!!!) just to judge the correct evolution of the action! They don’t count the fouls, they don’t time the game, they don’t authorize the substitutions and on and on…… they are just in charge of the fact that the game is played correctly!

I find this on the Internet about basketball:

The game officials shall be a crew chief and two referees. They will be assisted by an official scorer and two trained timers. One timer will operate the game clock and the other will operate the 24-second clock.

This is great, in my opinion! In American Football, I also thinks their system works great:

(from Wikipedia)

-The game is officiated by a crew of three to seven officials.
-Every crew will consist of a referee, who is generally in charge of the game and watches action on the quarterback and in the offensive backfield;
an umpire, who handles spotting the ball and watches action on the offensive line; and a head linesman, who supervises placement of the down box and line-to-gain chains.
-The crew may also consist of a line judge, back judge, field judge and side judge, in the order listed: i.e. a crew of five officials has a referee, umpire, head linesman, line judge and back judge.
-During the game, the officials are assisted in the administration of the game by other persons, including: a clock operator to start and stop the game clock (and possibly also the play clock); a chain crew who hold the down indicator and the line-to-gain chains on the sideline.

This also seems really great! Why in soccer - the most followed sport in the world- and the hardest to judge (Ball in goal or not????? Off-sides or not????? Hand ball or not???) is all the responsibility still in the shoulders of the central referee, with a little help of the 2 line-men… while in other sports are, CORRECTLY, given to other people????

This is really a mystery to me and, honestly, I don’t have an answer!

But, I can express my point of view.

-There is no reason that the central referee has to time the game, give extra time and take away attention to the game. This could be done by the fourth official or someone else.
-There is no reason for the central referee to write down the numbers and the motivations of the players carded! (s/he takes out the pen, writes, puts it away, etc..) The time passes and the game is stopped without reason. So, he/she can show the card, clearly indicate the number to the fourth official (like is done in basketball) and let's keep going!
-There is no reason that he/she has to authorize a player that was out for injury to come back in the field. Why all the people of a team have to yell at him/her to make him/her aware that a player is ready to come back in? The fourth official is there so, he/she can send the player back!

There are other aspects but these are the fundamentals. Let the Central Referee…………………. REFEREE THE GAME …..and let's give the ‘paper-work’ and timing the game, to the people outside!

And notice that I didn’t even mention, ‘Effective time’, ’Unlimited substitutions’ and ‘Instant replay’, that will enormously simplify the job of the Central Referee, plus making the game of soccer much more in line with logic and good sense!

‘Effective time’. It is proven that the games are ‘effectively’ played for 23-25 minutes per half. It wouldn’t be great to play 2 halves of 25 minutes, stopping the clock when the ball is not in play? No more wasting time, no more injury time, no more substitutions in the last few minutes (while players that instead of running, or at least jogging, just walk in slow-motion!!!), no more unsportsmanlike behaviors that constantly ruin soccer games! (Remember the players who fought in the net to collect the ball after the scoring? One wants to gain time and the other want to lose it!)

’Unlimited substitutions’. Why have just a few substitutions and spend 30 seconds/1 minute when this happens with such a slow procedure? Wouldn't it be great do it like in basketball? In-out, let's go…..let's play!!!!

‘Instant replay’. Why award a goal that wasn’t and give a goal when the ball didn’t enter completely in the net? And the goals given in off-side? And the goals scored with the hands? And the dubious penalties??? Why not spend a few seconds, with the clock stopped, and check in a monitor what millions of TV spectators have already seen, besides the only person that has to decide if it is goal or not, and if it is a penalty or not????

Did you notice that in the Premiere League there are monitors in the team boxes? So, all the coaching staff at the border of the field, KNOWS IF IT WAS OFF-SIDE OR NOT, SCORED WITH THE HANDS, PENALTY OR NOT and if THE BALL WAS IN OR NOT!

Why the fourth official can’t just turn the head 90 degrees, check the monitor and say at the Central Referee, via radio, what happened for real???

Why do we continue to do something so absurd????

Why should the next European Cup and World Cup, or the Champions League, be decided by a goal that doesn’t exist or wasn‘t given?

We are not perfect and we can make mistakes. But why do we continue to make the same mistakes when there are simple and elementary ways for eliminating them?

These aspects, plus the correct use of the Central Referee, have (almost) eliminated all the reasons to argue in Basketball and American Football. Could this bring soccer to a level much more in line with the actual performances of the modern players?

Modern players = Modern soccer.
Modern soccer = Modern rules and modern technology!

Maybe it’s time for Modern People in FIFA!

It could be?

Coach Gianni
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Posted on 03 Jul 2008 by coachgianni
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