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Football Managers Blaming Officials

Updated on November 15, 2010


Is anybody else getting completely fed up of football managers blaming officials for their team’s poor result? I know virtually everybody who has been involved in sport in anyway has complained about officials at some point, and in the heat of the moment it can be extremely difficult to keep quiet about any perceived injustice. But to go on and on about it after a match, week after week, is as ridiculous as it is pointless. Of course officials make mistakes, get over it, believe it or not they are human. If I was a referee in the Premier League I would ask for a pay rise, because from a lot of post match interviews with managers it would appear that referees decide the outcome of all games, not the millionaire players or managers. If you analyse any game closely enough I’m confident that every player on the pitch will have made more mistakes than the referee.

            As much as anything else it’s bad leadership from the manager. Blaming the result on an external factor takes the responsibility away from their players, something, in my opinion, they should be giving to players rather than taking away. If one week the manager blames the referee for a defeat and in the next game the team have a big decision go against them, some players are going to start feeling sorry for themselves. It also gives the players an excuse, either subconsciously or consciously, after a bad decision, some players might start thinking along the lines of; ‘doesn’t matter if we lose now, the boss will blame the ref.’ It’s a horrifically bad ‘Attribution Theory’, blaming something out of your control for the outcome. If the only reason you lost one game was because a penalty decision went against you, then the next time a similar decision goes against you, logic dictates that you must lose again. On the other hand if you blame the defeat on something under your control, for example poor passing, then in the next game you have more control of the outcome because you know you can pass better this time. Also you shouldn’t put the emphasis on what happens to you, instead you should put the emphasis on how you respond to it.

            I have first hand experience of how difficult it can be to teach young people to respect officials, when every week they see their ‘heroes’ and the ‘experts’ showing little or no respect. Just like players, no referees make mistakes on purpose, and referees can have a near faultless performance but the only error they make will be the only thing anybody talks about. The media don’t help by making such a big deal about referee’s decisions. Post match analysis, be it on a live match or one highlights show or another, is way too concerned with refereeing decisions. Often they start their review of a match by saying ‘was it a penalty?’ or ‘was he off side?’. Then we are talked through it by ex-players, who I understood were there to offer us insight into the playing of the game, describing the technique used on a certain cross or shot, explaining the tactical plan of both teams or explaining why one team was able to pass it better than the other. Instead we get their opinion on the referee’s decisions, surely if we want to talk about the laws of the game then we should have ex-referees in the studio, not ex-players. Press always talk about decisions being the ‘big talking point’, seemingly blissfully unaware that they can decide what the big talking point is from each game. So often the first question of a post match interview not about a player or a piece of football action, but about a decision the referee has made. Some people say that complaining about the ref after the match is what football is all about, if that really is the case then it doesn’t say much for the sport. Surely we should be talking about how the goals were scored, how well a particular player played, how one midfield completely outplayed the other, how a centre half did an excellent marking job on a top striker, or a great goal, fantastic pass, brilliant tackle or a world class save.

            Back to the managers now, I suggest to give responsibility to your players and stop blaming officials. Control the controllables, how about you teach your over paid bunch of prima donnas to be able to kick with both feet, be able to shoot well enough to not put it in the stand ninety percent of the time and to get them to play every single game with maximum effort that might give the impression they actually care about the club and the fans. Next time your team loses and you’re searching for a reason, have a think whether your players could’ve; tried harder, attacked more, passed better, shot better, defended better etc. I’m sure Brazil ’70 didn’t complain too much about officials.

            In American football they having a saying: ‘On any given Sunday, you’re either going to win or lose, but the question is can you win or lose like a man?’


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    • Lupine Rob profile imageAUTHOR

      Lupine Rob 

      8 years ago from Warrington, England

      Hey guys, thanks for the comments. Donnacha, very well put!

      Fuller, yeah definitely no doubting Stoke's attitude, must be reassuring supporting a team u know are always going to give 100% - all most fans ever really ask of their team.

      I know what you mean about the accountability of the referees, there definitely should be more of a promotion and relegation system that your manager suggested. But as Donna says, that should be done out of the public eye and managers should rate the performances a couple of days after the match so they are calmed down!Of course refs affect the outcome of a game but they are just one of the many things that affect the outcome and when it comes to their decisions, there are two things we can do about it: absolutely nothing and like it!

      Thanks again to you both, glad u enjoyed the hub.

    • Donnacha C profile image

      Donnacha C 

      8 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

      Hi Lupine Rob! great hub and I have to agree with you. I`m also sick of the complaints, the blame-game, the excuses......there are and there always wil be mistakes in any game, however unless it`s a fix, teams should just move on or report their concerns to the relevant authorities not bully and intimidate the refs via tv interviews...chances are in another game they`ll get the decisions going their way. and who will be complaining then?

    • Fuller_legend profile image


      8 years ago from Stoke-On-Trent, England

      Whilst you put your argument across very well i'm going to have to disagree with you to an extent. As a stoke fan i've seen way too many awful decisions so far against us this season (5 in the last 6 matches) and one thing you can always count on from a Tony Pulis side is 100% effort so the player's commitment is never in doubt.

      I have been biased in favour of my team in the past that i will admit but what's gone on just lately is getting beyond a joke. The fact is if a player plays poorly he gets dropped, if a manager can't do the job he gets sacked, but what punishment do referees recieve? Referees affect the outcome of certain games whether we like it or not.

      I completely agree that they have a tough job and i think video technology should be there to help them but some of these incidents are so obvious that they have to take some of the blame, it's there job to spot them. The recent incident when stoke played sunderland was ridiculous. The referee was in such a good position to see what everyone in the ground saw that questions have to be asked. It was the first time Tony Pulis really decided to let loose after several poor refereeing displays that went against us and i'm glad he did. If we were to get relegated due to the points we've lost through bad decisions then we'd lose millions, some clubs might not even survive. There is no room for error when you consider what's at stake. Video technology and stronger punishments for bad decisions i think.

      Anyway i enjoyed your hub as it's raised a really good debatable topic and hope to read more in the future.


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