Referees suck everywhere

The quality (or lack thereof) of MLS referees is always a hot topic and frequently leads to amusing column or blog titles (like this one). But after watching the Chelsea/Arsenal game today I'm reminded that referees suck everywhere, not just in MLS.

After calling Chelsea forward Solomon Kalou wrongly offsides twice in the first half, the same linesman allows Robin Van Persie's first goal to stand after he was clearly a couple yards offsides on the goal. The referee, Mike Riley, bizarrely points to Chelsea defender Jose Bosingwa, who was yards ahead of Van Persie, as somehow playing Van Persie on. The match commentators speculated that perhaps a Chelsea defender had deflected the ball, as there would be no other possible reason to allow the goal to stand (if the ball came off a Chelsea player, Van Persie couldn't be offsides). However all the replays showed obviously that there was no deflection. The wrong call totally changed the momentum of the game, and Chelsea lost, 2-1 (Chelsea had been winning 1-0, Arsenal's goal came out of nowhere). So refs in England can be awful too.

They can also be awful in Germany, where they fixed games in exchange for being paid off by the Croatian mafia. They can also be awful in Italy, where Juventus appoints which refs referee their games. They can be awful in Spain, where they are apparently fooled by every player that falls down as if shot. They're every bad in sports other than soccer, like the NBA or any NFL game involving a Manning brother (just the personal opinion of this Patriots fan).

So lets cut MLS referees a bit of slack. Nobody's perfect, and in fact the refereeing situation could be a lot worse.


Mike said...

Was going to point out (as you did) that at least the MLS has not been rocked by a fixing scandal like some of our more enlightened European brethren or the NBA.

Of course, that's probably due in large part to the fact that the MLS isn't really big money so it isn't worth anyone's time to bribe the refs.

Adrian said...

On the other hand, MLS refs have terrible salaries (only 3 are full-time) so you could probably bribe them with a gift certificate to IHOP.

Pat said...

terrible pay, everyone hates you, its a wonder there are any refs at all. its practically community service work.

Marcelo de PC said...

Ehrm, did it ever occur to you that referees must satisfy their employers (and make everything they can so that the national football association, that pays their salaries, gets more money (memorabilia, TV commercials, etc.)) I've seen that happen in many leagues.

Adrian said...

Then it's a question of the employer's short-term vs. long-term interests. Short-term interest = "get the correct result", long-term interest = preserve the integrity of the league so people keep spending money to see the product.