Sports Bag: Who’d be a referee?


Dear Editor

Having completed one week’s World Cup viewing I feel I need to make a few comments on that which has been televised to date:

a) The stadiums are absolutely brilliant and I should wish to congratulate the Russian Federation for hosting such a, so far, superb World Cup festival.

b) VAR is the only problem I have with the format of the games. The referees are appearing to rely too much on this facility whereas in the past and in my forty years of officiating, I never had anything close to such assistance. Today it would appear that the unwritten Law 18 ‘Common Sense’ has gone out of the window. The referees can rely now upon a review whereas in days gone by, they would rely solely on their judgement and ‘getting it right’ more times than not.

c) GLT (Goal Line Technology) is, however, something that I truly agree with and it is about time FIFA adopted such a facility for important tournaments such as this. My mind still goes back to 1966 and Geoff Hurst’s goal which was awarded based on the linesman’s call (now called assistant referees, quite correctly) in the World Cup final between England and West Germany. I will never accept that the whole of the ball crossed the line, then or now, no matter how many times I have viewed it. Yes I watched the final from the comfort of my armchair in Ashington, Northumberland, close to where Bobby and Jack Charlton were brought up. Great memories!

d) In conclusion I applaud the coverage to date and am waiting patiently for our English refereeing team to appear, they are noticeably absent from any games to date. Ha Ha.

Yours in sport

Rod the Ref