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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