Premier League referee condemns the shocking ISL refereeing in an Exclusive conversation with Jersey

Rohit Ganguly  |  Controversy  |  3 Months Ago

It was 55 minutes in the clock. North East United was slowly growing in the game against a high-soaring FC Goa. Just when it looked like that the Highlanders were in for an exploit, the referee clearly robbed them of an opportunity as he went on to deny a definite penalty to Northeast United. It was a corner for the visitors. The curler came in and was going straight to the heads of a flying Grgic and Leudo. However, just when they were about to nut the ball home, a magical hand arrived out of nowhere and pushed the ball away. 


Later it was seen to be Carlos Pena, who made an intentional use of his arm in the box and saved his team from the blushes. However, this was just a poor refereeing and Northeast United was at the receiving end for the second time. They were also denied a clear penalty against Bengaluru FC.


Poor officiating in the game by referees is compounding itself exponentially and it is not just dragging down the level of the game, but also impacting the results of it. Kerala Blasters fan club, Manjappada, recently sparked vehement protests when Kerala suffered a similar fate at the hands of the referee.


#TeamJersey spoke to the erstwhile Premier League referee, Keith Hackett, who is currently busy in promoting his book called, “You Are the Ref”. He is counted as one of the best referees of the century and features in FIFA’s list of top 100 referees across the entire world. Also labelled as one of the best Premier League referees, this is what Hackett had to say about the decision by the referee:


“It is a clear deliberate handball, the player's hand is in an unnatural position and there is a movement towards the ball”, he said.

"The reason I am an advocate of the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is for game-changing incidents of this nature. It is an incident that can easily be missed by the match officials because their positioning does not give them the optimum viewing angle to see clearly the offender’s actions.”

“One might also have expected the Assistant Referee to be able to see the incident and to inform his colleague.
Incidents of this type missed by the referee can have an impact on the mentality of the players who often do not have the ability to park the incident and remain motivated. It can also impact in the respect they have for the match official.

When I introduced Professional Referees in England helping to set up and manage the PGMOL it gave me the opportunity to thoroughly examine with the referees these types of errors and how they can be avoided. Fitness and positioning on the field in incidents would be examined.

Was the movement of the referee flexible enough to ensure that incidents of this nature are seen? Finally, I would inform the referee that because of a major error I would not be appointing him to a game the following week.”


The quality of Refereeing has been a major headache for ISL authorities in the past two years. Not only did the fans raised questions time and again, clubs like Bengaluru FC and Delhi Dynamos have also come out all guns blazing against the poor decisions that cost them important points. While there’ve been committees setup by ISL in order to curb this afoot issue, it’s imperative to see how it’s dealt with, that too at an emergency level.  


“It is very important that referees are accountable for major errors of this type. I would also make use of the Sports Psychologist to improve the concentration of our match officials ensuring that they officiated without been under stress.


It is highly imperative that Stress coping methods are introduced to match officials. Each referee would be examined by a Vision Scientist to have their eyesight and peripheral vision checked.


So yes missing key decisions or incorrect key decision can have a major impact on the game.”


Owned by Turtle Media and Communication, Jersey football magazine is a monthly that covers the wide spectrum of modern football from around the world. We are a team of football journos spread across the globe dedicated to offer insights and opinions of the world football as a key ingredient of sports journalism.

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