Former referee, Kenny Clark, spoke to the BBC on the subject of bias in referees last night: “For anyone to suggest that a referee would work for 10 or 15 years to get to the top level of refereeing in Scotland and would then cheat the fans simply in order to give ‘his team’ an advantage is just nonsensical.”
Putting aside for one moment all recent issues in our game, everyone is prone to bias, conscious or otherwise. It is part of the human condition. If referees insist they are immune, they are contributing to the problem. Instead, they should be aware of the potential. Former referees should encourage them to be vigilant.
Clark explains how much work goes into getting to the top in refereeing and that it would ridiculous to jeopardise a career to help your football team, but he is missing the point. No wonder refereeing is in such a mess if they go around telling each other they are not affected by the human condition. They are human, they make mistakes and are as subject to bias as any other group of professionals.
Clark was happy to cite the new SFA procedures as being sourced from English football, but omitted the add that English football addresses this very question of unintended bias by asking referees which team they support.
Celtic Charity Football Talk, Xavier Centre, Carfin
Saturday 19 January, 8pm
I am joining Tom Boyd and George McCluskey for a question and answer in Carfin this Saturday. There will be plenty to talk about, as always, while Tom and George will add the wisdom from their years of experience in and around the game.
Tickets are £7 each, call Mick on 07827 975271 to book. Beneficiary is Vision of a Blind Golfer. See you there.