Despite not being in the lineup of either of the sides, the refs have the ability to influence a game as much as the best player on the pitch. 1 decision can change the outcome of the game and this is precisely why nobody tends to like them.
Like players, referees have their own peculiar style as well. Some chose to stick to the law, some make use of their common sense. Both have their set of advantages and disadvantages.
The job of the referee is to control the game and have a set of rules to guide them. A lot of the refs treat this rule book as their bible and stick to it under every circumstance. Especially in UEFA competitions, Italy and Spain 3 minutes time added is 3minutes. Not a second extra. Pretty much every mistimed challenge is a yellow and anything inside the box is a penalty. (Is that why most attackers prefer Spain? Perhaps an argument for another day)
Which is in stark contrast to what you would see in England. The referees let the play flow, don’t book players as much and generally add more stoppage time than in other leagues. They try and use their “common sense” a lot more than in other leagues. A lot of times you’ll see a ref giving a yellow for a challenge that elsewhere would’ve earned the player a red, simply because it was very early on in a big game and perhaps the ref doesn’t wanna ruin the occasion.
The problem with “sticking to the law” kind of refs is that some of their sending offs seem pointless. Like this past week Barry was given a second yellow 40 seconds before the full time whistle for a lazy challenge.
But cmon ref. The contest is over and he’s been chasing the game for 90 minutes, you’ve got to excuse him for a lazy challenge when his sending off is obviously not going to affect the outcome of the game in any way. I don’t think anybody would’ve complained if he hadn’t sent him off.
I want the referees to officiate the game based on their logic and experience and not just the book. Because every game is different and has different emotions, you cannot possibly put it all down in words and fit it in 1 book. As important as rules and laws are to football, I don’t think you should entirely ignore the occasion and uniqueness of every situation.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that a perfectly valid argument can be made for the refs that stick to the rule book. You could have an entirely opposite view of big occasions and say “Every game should be treat equally and a red card is a red card. Whether it’s the 1st minute or the last, it shouldn’t matter” and you’d be perfectly right. I’ll have no valid counter argument except for “I feel this way.”
But then every human is different and will perceive the game differently. Everybody’s ‘common sense’ works differently. That will lead to inconsistency and that again is a problem. In an ideal world every ref would officiate in an identical manner, make the same decisions precisely, use their common sense in the same way.
But because that isn’t possible, referees will continue to make mistakes and be the centre of attention. In its own way it makes the game more interesting and gives us more things to talk about.
What would football be without “bar-room” debates right?