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Hull V Southampton Showed The Refereeing Standards In England Are At An All Time Low
Monday, 23rd Oct 2023 07:45

Refereeing standards have been in the media lately with poor decisions both on the pitch and also by those who are administering VAR, but the performance of Geoff Eltringham at Hull City V Saints on Saturday provided evidence as to why the level of officiating is poor.

I can make this complaint against the referee at the MKM stadium on Saturday from a position of strength, we won the game and therefore I have no complaints that he cost us the game or for that matter any real controversial decisions for either side.

But Geoff Eltringham the referee in question showed that he was not in charge of the game, by two incidents that quite frankly shocked me and made me wonder who is referreing games these days.

As I say I have no gripes to air about his overall performance but Mr Eltringham let the crowd sway him.

It might have been trivial moments, but they put into question the refs control and the way he was making his decision.

It was innocuous but had deeper ramifications, Saints had a corner, but as they were about to take it, the Hull fans roared that the ball wasn't in the semi circle, the linesman was nowhere near so Mr Eltringham took the crowds word and ran over to check, the ball was within the regulations and he waved Saints on to take the corner.

But this happened a second time, again we had a corner and the crowd roared, again the ref ran over to check and again it was proved to be within the rules.

On this second occasion the crowd were toying with him, they had got him to check a first time so they were winding him up and he fell for it and let them control him.

So this might seem trivial, but the reality was that the crowd were influencing the referee, they were getting him to stop the game and check the ball and it wasted time.

Why did he do it, after all even if it was just outside the line, we are talking inches here and perhaps two at most, yet the ref pandered to the crowd.

If he was going to do that for something as trivial as this, then what would happen if he had been called upon for a truly controversial decision, with no VAR there was no comeback, would he be swayed by a crowd on a big decision.

It's the broken windows policy, if a referee can't have the mental strength to make a simple decision and trust his own judgement, then how can he be trusted to make big ones.

It wasn't the triviality of it that truly shocked me, it was the first time in over half a century of watching professional football that I have actually seen a referee controlled by a crowd like this.

Of course referee's are swayed by the crowd at times as fans of clubs other than Manchester United & Liverpool would claim over the years, but never have I seen a referee meekly listen to the crowd for something like this.

I would say this has not gone down well with the assessor on the day, an official can't check everything just because a small section of the crowd shouts and it was a small section, a couple of hundred fans near the corner flag, to do it once was bad enough, he was made to look a fool, but to do it a second time only minutes after was inexcusable.

Once we had the best referee's in the World and I truly have respect for those that take the whistle, especially in local leagues etc, but there is something wrong with refereeing at the moment and I think it stems from the way that VAR is implemented.

I do think that VAR when used correctly can be a good thing, but it isn't being used correctly and that has led to insecurity amongst officials at a professional level, they are scared of making mistakes.

Geoff Eltringham was not a bad ref on Saturday, I have no real complaints about how he handled the game and i can't say that about other games this season, but his running over to the corner flag has sinister connotations, referee's are getting scared to make mistakes, so much so they are worried that on this occasion if Saints had scored from a corner and the ball had been shown to be outside the line then he would be called to task.

But we can't have referee's swayed by the crowd and more to the point at a time when the stop start nature of games these days is being called into question, there are some things that the law can't be enforced strictly and that is at corners, so what if the ball is an inch or two over the line, it is clear to the eye if it was two feet in front of the line etc and that is enough.

Photo: Action Images

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stmichael added 09:02 - Oct 23
No problem with that ..
It’s the rules..
2 inches is the difference between a goal or a penalty…
If he refereed the game reasonably well then that’s what counts…

SaintNick added 09:18 - Oct 23
st michael- so you are quite happy that a referee ran 30 yards or so over to the corner flag to check that the ball was in the semi circle, purely because a small section of the crowd were shouting at him that it wasn't in the line ?

And having been made to look a fool once, when the ball was perfectly fine, that he went back a minute or so later because the crowd were again shouting, this time perhaps just as much because they had him in the palm of their hand already and again he was made to look foolish

This was a question of the referee doing something just because the crowd shouted, who is to say what else he might give if the crowd shouted.

A corner is not the difference between a goal or a penalty, an inch or two makes no different, all it does is hold up the game, it would suggest that if he was willing to run 30 yards to check something that he might change his mind at a penalty, because the crowd shouted

JoeEgg added 10:20 - Oct 23
I understand the point Nick is making but lets also be grateful that we haven't had to sit through dozens of crazy VAR moments this season. If a referee makes a controversial decision - and okay you can exclude corner kick positioning from this one - one set of fans will inevitably cheer and the other one will boo. What I would like to see is referees, their bosses, fans and players all wanting to LEARN from incidents such as the one Nick descirbes. Where we have good refereeing lets be just as forward and quick to highlight the fact and name these excellent referees. I haven't seen too much to be disappointed with so far this season as far refereeing standards are concerned - in fact, some have been very good- lets not forget that. Its just a pity that neither the referee nor the FA will read Nick's comment or want to comment on the issue themselves. There will always be idiots in any group of fans supposedly supporting their teams, but the vast majority of fans want standards of refereeing improved and good refereeing publicly appreciated. If we really want to learn from these reported incidents then we need to improve the channels for communicating these issues and thenwe can all move on.

felly1 added 10:26 - Oct 23
I think the Refs and lino's do a good job.
I certainly don't think the standard is any worse or any better than than some glorified past.
For some reason fans seems to focus in on the Referee's performances much more than they used to.

I'd much rather live with their mistakes than endure VAR ruining the Championship.

IanRC added 10:57 - Oct 23
Of more concern is the fact he missed at least two penalties in the scramble around the Hull goal towards the end of the game. Fortunately, it didn’t matter and otherwise he was fine.

SFC_Referee added 11:06 - Oct 23
Look I myself didn’t see this game so can’t comment too much on how good/bad the ref was, but seeing how I’d heard nothing whatsoever around him before this, I’d of certainly of thought he couldn’t of been that bad on Saturday.

As your right that refs are becoming more and more scared to make mistakes, but that’s because the media are highlighting the tiniest of mistakes more and more (and sometimes will even highlight things they get correct, saying they got it wrong), therefore raising the expectation of quality of officiating from the refs, where if there’s anything much controversial then it’s the refs fault.
And due to the media highlighting so much more, refs are now being punished even more for making mistakes, which has only made their job even more pressurised (which was already hard enough as it was), and will lead to even less referees, so therefore a lower quality.

As this ref was probably just scared that if we’d scored from the corner and he’d not even of checked, then he’d of been the main talking point from the game and could’ve been at risk of being punished for something that nobody complained about a few decades ago and would've been called pathetic for blaming it on the ref if you had back then.

Whatsforpud added 14:45 - Oct 23
Surprised they had a semi-circle there, rather than a quarter-circle or quadrant!

Bowlercow added 20:20 - Oct 23
Firstly it's a quadrant not a semi circle and it used to be that the whole ball had to be inside it Much easier for everyone
The ref and assistants could see much better if, as they used to, they were on the dead ball line for corners They could also see and control the wrestling in the six yard area
I would do away with VAR and put up an odd gaff How many offside flags have been wrong and how many goals have been chalked of because of an unflagged offside I would suggest very few

DF_20032017 added 07:56 - Oct 24
The first one you could almost forgive, the second time he did it was surreal. He even looked like he was thinking of coming to check when the saints fans were doing it to their own players as a joke.

It made him look pretty weak and as you say he wasn’t a terrible ref.

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