Football is a game of passion. So much is at stake; your team’s bragging rights, team reputation, match bonuses for a win, etc. Most matches such as cup finals, knockout stages, final qualification rounds are more intense than others. During these high points, things mustn’t go wrong.
Whatever takes place during a match requires the professionalism of the match officials, most especially the referee. The 22 players within that bounded space can together put up 22 different emotional dispositions. The burden of human management on the pitch now falls on the referee – the captain of captains. The match referee is a critical decision-maker who must possess good eyesight and be near-precise in judging.
The referee’s decision is always final. During a match, it is never a surprise to see a player who has been handed a straight red card putting up a little resistance or make a protest. It gets escalated when such a decision comes at a peak period of the game where the depleted team was defending. At such an instance, the teammates of the penalized player will join in the fray and will surround the referee. They will be offering their suggestions which will never cause a change of heart and action of the referee.
I’ve watched football matches for years, and never a time have I seen the referee reverse a red card decision, even when it was a “hasty” one. The only time I’ve seen a reversal was when a red card was given to the wrong player and the decision was corrected by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). But that didn’t stop the decision being handed to the right player. Should that earlier wrong decision had taken place some years ago, it could have stood.
Based on all the above explanation, it will be honorable to watch our superstars take each red card incidence as being part of the game. It can’t be a sport without rules. The referee won’t listen to you no matter how loud the protest. He may even be glad to issue another if threatened.
I love football. Hope you do too!
By Itoro Orok
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