Game 45, 2016-17
Last season I refereed a game where the home team’s captain was a hypnotist. The first few times I gave decisions against his team he walked up to me and commanded, “Look into my eyes, referee. Look into my eyes.” I resisted this invitation on the grounds that if he really was a hypnotist, I might spend the rest of the game ceding to his will every time he said, “Mister Referee, you will now award my team another penalty kick. And the score is already 67-0.”
|How to control a referee|
who will not see reason
Of course the captain didn’t want to hypnotise me. He wanted to talk. There’s a certain type of player who just loves to talk. Not about the weather, or what you had for dinner last night, or the worrying rise of right-wing populism across the European Union. No, they want to talk about your decisions. These players are not necessarily the moaners and dissenters. Rather they think that, through a calm and rational discussion, they can persuade you that the foul you just awarded against their team was, in fact, not a foul at all.
It’s nice to imagine calling a halt in play while league officials rush on to the field with a table, two chairs, two glasses and a jug of water. The player and I sit down to review my decision at length. First, I give my point of view. The home team’s number 6, due to a combination of slowness, ineptitude and stupidity, had hacked down the opposition’s speedy, nimble winger. My garrulous friend sees it differently. His heavy, hulking, dead-eyed number 6 would never do such a thing. The winger clearly dived.
Unable to agree, and in the absence of video cameras at amateur grounds, we invite other players to