The Roar
The Roar


Referees are not superhuman

Roar Guru
23rd April, 2012

Yesterday I settled in to watch the A-League grand final. I’m only a casual fan, and for the most part, I enjoyed the game.

It wasn’t until reading the papers and the litany of feedback here on The Roar and other sites that I realised that the most technically astute person on the pitch didn’t have a purple or orange jersey on. Apparently the bionic man was involved in the action.

I watched balls hit into space with no runner within a postcode. Saw three players encircle an attacker but club footedly pinball the ball off shins so that it popped out into an opportune space for the attack.

I saw air swings at chances, mistimed crosses and communication so poor it was in the “how footy blokes deal with their feelings” handbook.

For 80 odd minutes I watched a plucky Perth side repel attack after attack followed by promising counter topped with meek surrender of possession without a shot. Eventually they broke through and scored off the deft touch of their start striker, oops sorry, it was an error from the Brisbane defender.

The commentators also reminded us at every turn how badly Brisbane were playing, if you were just listening to the commentary you’d have been amazed to find out the score was not actually 10 nil to Perth at the half!

But the only error discussed in the aftermath is that of the referee to award a penalty to the Roar.

So high must the expectations of this god of judgement and analysis that the standards he is held to are stratospheric when juxtaposed along with those of the men we apparently “pay to see”.

Yes it certainly appeared on the replay that Berisha went down from the lunging attempt at the ball rather than any contact from a Glory player.


Now I admit I’m a casual fan of the world game. So I was shocked that so much was expected of a man who wasn’t in the same position as the camera, seemingly viewed the game at real time and had no access to a replay before making a decision.

Therefore the only reason we could be so genuinely outraged by his pathetic performance is that he is indeed the bionic man.

At first it did baffle me that we decided to employ such technology in the refereeing of football games, instead of say wartorn Afghanistan or Kings Cross, but this is the only explanation right?

Surely all this outrage from the true fans of the game is because we expected him to use his super speed to round the pack ahead of each pass and get into a position not a single one of the Perth defenders could, then he should have used the zoom function on his eyes coupled with his brand spanking new slow mo implants to record the vision and which he could then play back from his brand new 1,000,000 gig memory bank.

But assuming he is human – this isn’t the referee’s fault. The real blame here is with the antiquated church of football. In between drowning witches and burning pagans they’ve done everything they can to dismiss the concept of video replay. Be gone demon technology, you are not welcome here!

The referee has less information than you do to make a decision. In a game like football where a single goal makes a huge contribution to the game it surely is baffling.

Tradition seems an awfully convenient way to hide behind stupidity.

I noticed tradition didn’t extend to the banning of technology when it enabled them to make a buck right? First in stadiums, then radio, the TV, then cable and now streaming.


Same with the equipment where technology that goes into the latest boots and balls that is so space age that three Adidas R and D team members were recently abducted by North Korea.

How about the team, who have consistently evolved their training techniques over the centuries? I wouldn’t be shocked if it was revealed that Barca were training against a team of cyborgs programmed to emulate the opposition.

It seems that we do anything we can to help the players and administrators of the game, but provide no assistance to referees. Referees, of course, are superhuman.