Honestly, see these rugby types complaining about a referee, don’t they know these things even themselves out over the season? What’s that? You mean the maths suggest that random events don’t even themselves out with small sample sizes, such as cup ties (sample of 1) and games against rivals (same of 4)?
The ‘even themselves out’ brigade could do with some remedial maths, it’s statistical hokum.
Within 24 hours of a mistake World Rugby called it so. No ‘referees’ union’ stonewalling, no defending the indefensible, no conspiracy to hide a lie, no tolerance of unacceptable standards, no fans left wondering why their game was misaligned with the rules. Without delay, World Rugby set the record straight, there is literally nothing more to see here.
Compare and contrast with our own sport in Scotland. The ‘referees’ union’ is alive and well, indefensible decisions are excused by a myriad of excuses, unacceptable standards have been tolerated for decades, instead of an explanation, fans are left with a vacuum into which they attempt to construct reason (which is very unhelpful). And although a referee quickly declared his own lie, the culture of the SFA was such that it was not declared beyond the Association until after a whistle-blower made sure it was known. Fifa is not the only football organisation bedevilled by a culture of cronyism.
Scottish football is under no pressure from above to improve. Fifa and Uefa thrive in the culture which has recently been revealed – largely by US prosecutors and journalists, some of whom have been whistling in the wind for 30 years. This percolates down to national associations, who are filled with office holders, appointed by the same patronage culture which allowed Michel Platini pocket 2m Swiss francs from Sep Blatter’s Fifa.
Nor is there sufficient pressure on the SFA from member clubs, apart from Celtic and one or two others, who are viewed as pariahs by some at Hampden, for the persistent flow of DVD-enclosed performance complaints.
It’s not easy being a referee; good ones are invaluable. They will continue to make mistakes at all levels, in all sports, but it should be easy to have an open culture which recognises the interests of the paying spectators. Just as World Rugby does. Protecting referees with a wall of silence is, in fact, not protecting them at all.