Sports Officials: Popularity vs. Respect

Discussion in 'Game Management & Communication' started by redumpire, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
    FHF Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    10,634
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    Apologies for a slight overlap with something I posted in the Euro 2008 thread, but there is an interesting piece in today's Guardian about the English football referee Howard Webb, who, for those of you who don't know (or care) about football, has been at the centre of some controversy in the current Euro 2008 competition. The contoversy has arisen because Webb awarded a penalty against Poland in the 2nd minute of "time added on" (for injuries etc.) at the end of their game against Austria, which led to the Austrians equalising, thus jeopardising the Poles' chances of progressing in the competition. The problem being that the award was for the all-too-commonly perpertrated, but all-too-rarely punished, foul of shirt-pulling while the players were jostling for position at a corner. This is an offence that UEFA have asked the referees to be strict about and Webb had warned the Poles several times during the game that they were close to the line in their actions while defending corners.

    The article is interesting in what it has to say about UEFA's high-profile backing for Webb's decision and the fact that he has retained his next appointment (Spain v Greece) despite the clamour from Poland (including their Prime Minister's ridiculous comment that he wanted to "kill" Webb). It's also interesting for what Webb has to say about how he and his assistant referees have reviewed the game and seen what they got right (inlcuding the penalty in their view) and learned from their mistakes (including awarding goal to the Poles that was offside - not many people in Poland seem to have been complaining about that decision...).

    But most importantly from a hockey umpiring perspective is Webb's comment that "[The referees] are here to do a job and we do the job always honestly and to the best of our ability. We don't want to be popular but we want to be respected." I think that's an honest and accurate view of the right frame of mind for any serious sports official. Would others agree?
     
  2. Alexei

    Alexei FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't watch the penalty incident, but I have to admit I am a fan of Howard Webb's refereeing. <sorry Gocu!>

    When we talk about people being serious to be a sports official, yes I agree that's an honest view!

    A sports official is the same like other athlete... Going through various preparation, with ambition to reach the top.

    Being popular or 'popular' is not what it takes to reach that level. It's always the performance, the amount of preparation and sacrifice to be made etc....
    If the official has been consistent enough with good performances with great rapport etc, respect and popularity will come naturally... Have a look at Frisk and Collina. In hockey perhaps can we say Santi Deo or Ray O' Connor?
     
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,189
    Likes Received:
    1
    Respect is gained by a consistant level of performance and an honesty when a mistake is made, having a presence that is heard not seen.That is only becoming the centre of attention for a short period when it is required to settle situations.
    Good understanding of the rules, consistant with the interpretation, knowing the players and being able to relate to them and see their point of view in an instant, and to have a sense of humour plus lastly common sense.
    In fact having good people skills.
    My teams have been umpired by some of those mentioned and they and the other coaches involved have agreed they have had a shocker, but it never caused me to loose respect for them or their abilities, as they had the above.
    When these rare times occured they put their hands up and said sorry and their obvious command and people skills really came to the fore.
     
  4. johnreiss

    johnreiss FHF Top Player

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    teesside
    Agrree 100%. Umpires/referees are not there to be poular - they are there do do a job. I too didn't see the incident, but if tthe Poles had repeatedly been warned that they were sailing @close to the wind@ the Poles should have heeded the warning.

    On a separate issue the Van Nistleroy goal was clearly offisde. The whole offside rule is governed by"being active" and how a DEFENDER can be active by being off the filed of play is beyond me. If it had been an attacker off the field I concede it is different as a defender will (or should) be "aware of his pressence" and is therefore active

    The fact that UEFA have condoned this decision is frankly farcial and a sop - they want to be seen to be supporting refs/linesmen at all costs. Bad decisions and suppor tfor of bad decision only give the sport a bad name. (rant over)
     
  5. Gilly

    Gilly FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    322
    Location:
    Peterborough
    The only factual problem with your rant johnreiss is that the laws of football do not, in any way, recognise the concept that a defender can become 'inactive' with respect to the offside law.

    Attackers, Yes, defenders, No.

    That may seem harsh, or even 'incorrect' but that's the way it is - as a defender you are deemed part of the game unless you have left the pitch with the referee's permission (and then you need permission to rejoin) and if you have left the pitch as part of a 'playing action' you are deemed to be stood on the boundary line nearest where you left the pitch.

    Given that the rules not do currently support your assertion (although common sense does) how would you see the rule reworded to provide the 'right' oiutcome in every instance and not encourage defenders to jump (or fall, feigning injury) off the pitch in order to play a very dubious offside trap?
     
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,189
    Likes Received:
    1
    This again is again about is a player active or in active, i like the old rules better no matter what if in front of the ball OFF SIDE clear and simple no room for misinterpretation.
    I am old fashioned and like it clear and simple. Every player is active in some way
     
  7. nerd_is_the_word

    nerd_is_the_word FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,232
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    Queensland, AUS
    redumpire i think you have to walk a very tight line with popularity. The big thing is obviously that you dont want to deliberately make a wrong call because it will be easier to sell in order to be popular, but on the flipside an umpire who goes out and calls every single little nook and cranny of a rule is definitely not going to be respected. not having seen the incident (and not really knowing the details of current umpiring in football) i would be unable to say whether it was the right call but the big thing is that he had the guts to stand up and make the call.

    Lets face it though in a high profile match like that whichever way it was called was going to piss one side off. Remember watching a high profile footy game on TV a while ago where the video replays didnt have the right angle to see whether it was a try or not, It got sent back to the umpire on the field who called a try and one of the commentators was saying that 'it was a shocking call and that umpire was definitely wrong' until one of his commentators reminded him that on none of the angles they had seen could they have any clue at all what had happened, so saying the call was wrong was just plain stupid
     
  8. philthy

    philthy FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,956
    Likes Received:
    417
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    Can't remember who said it... but "if he's not active, then what's he doing on the pitch?"
     
  9. johnreiss

    johnreiss FHF Top Player

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    teesside
    It was Bill Shankly ex manager of liverpool.
     
  10. keely

    keely FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    10,403
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    The fact of the matter is the best we can hope for is respect, but even that requires that those judging us - players, coaches, executive-types and especially fans - have more than a passing knowledge of what rules we're trying to enforce to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, that's extremely rare - just look at johnreiss' misunderstanding of the laws of football or pop2cas' misunderstanding of the rules of ice hockey.

    Unlike players who receive accolades for their successful plays as well as getting called out for their blunders, no one reports on the hundreds of fantastic calls officials make during their games - only our far more rare mistakes which often aren't even mistakes. How can we build respect in that environment?
     
  11. philthy

    philthy FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,956
    Likes Received:
    417
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    Thing is, that if an umpire or ref makes a mistake, it usually has a major effect - incorrectly allowing or disallowing a goal is obviously the biggie. There's so much more scope for the official to become a scape-goat if they've made a call that's impinged on the result.

    Umpires are human. They make mistakes. Probably every other person on the pitch made at least one mistake - be it scuffing a shot or missing a tackle that led to a goal being scored or not scored, thus affecting the result - but it's the person with the whistle who's the easiest to blame.

    The game goes on for a long time - you can't always put the entire result down to one call.
     
  12. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,101
    Likes Received:
    1
    How Not to Gain Respect.
    I observed some of the most bizarre umpiring ever, from a colleague at the Milton Keynes HC festival on Saturday.

    The guy ran purposefully on the pitch looking every inch the image of a 'professional' umpire ...... smart, black gear, on a very fit, confident-looking guy. (An RAF sergeant, I was later told, who only came to umpire...he wasn't a 'coerced' player).

    Just about his first decision was to insist on giving a PC after a foul by the keeper didn't prevent a goal's being scored...he didn't blow until well after the ball was in the net.

    Then, when a stray ball came on the pitch, the player in possession stopped play and picked-up our match ball....my colleague gave a FH against him (this was a festival, remember) then a green card, then a yellow card, after the player had subbed himself off, suggesting that the umpire's reaction was rather excessive :eek:
    When the 'offending' team refused to take a player off and told him not to be a prat, he walked-off in a huff, refusing to lend his whistle to a watcher who'd volunteered to take over.

    In the meantime, I'm making 'calm-down'/'it's only a game' noises, which were, fortunately heeded...
    I got another colleague and we got on with the remaining 5 mins of a 10-min game!
     
  13. Twister

    Twister FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    21
    Sounds like an interesting game!

    The only good thing about these types of umpires is that it highlights to the players all the things an umpire shouldn't be, and they appreciate your umpiring more as a result.
     
  14. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
    FHF Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    4,215
    Likes Received:
    945
    Location:
    Hampshire (South Coast of England)
    I was at MK but missed that game, and it's worth noting this was one of more than 300 such games.
    Otherwise just about every umpire, from very occasional whistleblower to regional graded, seemed prepared to give the 'unpopular' decision if that's how they saw it, and just about every player showed respect for that.

    A great weekend, thanks to everyone involved. :yes:
     
  15. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,101
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, the players were, generally very 'good-natured', and the umpires prepared to be a bit flexible..... what else can you do when you get some players in bare feet and others in Wellies? lol

    I did get told "That was a terrible decision", but it wasn't said aggressively, just an expression of opinion :)
    (I saw it as a quite subtle bit of 'backing-in'...he clearly didn't).

    And in the game I described previously, the team involved apologised to me afterwards....quite unnecessarily, I thought.... for the antics of an umpire who wasn't even 'one of theirs'!
     

Share This Page