By Kevin Koczwara
I don’t believe in arguing with referees on the field when I play soccer. The referees don’t make enough money at my level of play, they are usually alone, and how can I make them reverse the call if there isn’t even instant replay in the professional ranks, nevermind my adult recreational league? And even if there was a chance to change a referee’s mind, even the slightest chance, than I would be doing my team a disfavor if I spent too long arguing a call and didn’t get back and defend. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think a team captain of a professional team shouldn’t appeal to a referee every once and a while.
Referees need to answer to someone and explain their calls because they don’t have to face the media or the fans. They are protected by fair play rules set up by most major soccer leagues around the world.
After reading Jeff Maurer’s story from the Washington Post, I got to thinking about how referees are treated in soccer and how professional referees should have to face the backlash of coaches and players without fines being levied for opinions being spoken, and how fans should get the chance to hear from the referees on why a certain call was made and why one player got a red card or didn’t get a red card. If you are a professional than you must be treated like one, and that means you need to be ready to answer questions about your actions.
I want to know why a referee decided to disallow a goal. Why he decided to ignore a beach ball on the field? Why are the MLS and WPS referees trained to miss punches to the face, dirty tackles and award more penalty kicks than any other leagues in the world (I am guessing they do because I see at least two PK’s in a weekend round of games)? Sometimes I just want to ask a referee about the last time he read the rules, studied them and discussed them.
But this is all a big dream because the busy bodies in soccer leagues around the world tend to protect the officials as they run away from a pack of reporters with their questions and recorders.
Kevin Koczwara is a contributing editor and writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.