Officiating a sporting event has never been a task for the faint of heart. One, two, three, four or five men (or women* – Andy Gray take note) left to control professional sporting fixtures featuring anything from two (Tennis) to 30 (Rugby Union) highly tuned, adrenalised athletes precariously treading the line of achievement and failure in their endeavour for success. Tempers flare, fouls are committed, rules are flexed to shattering point and all the while, the referee is expected to maintain control, interpret the laws, apply them judiciously and ensure the sport in question is allowed to flourish, within these confines. Somewhat controversially given the seemingly endless editorial lines in place in today’s press, here at H&V we say ’RESPECT’ where respect is due – on the whole they do a bloody good job.
How can Ashley Cole shoot someone with an air rifle on Chelsea property and get away with it? How did Wayne Rooney elbow Wigan’s James McCarthy in the side of the head and never come close to official admonishment? Press and fans alike called for Cole to be sacked, for Rooney to be banned. Nothing materialised. Chelsea informed us that that matter had been dealt with internally. Manchester United denied Rooney had done anything wrong. Is there a systemic problem which allows the top players from the best teams, to commit the crime, then shirk the time?