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Ronaldo’s red was right

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The recent red card handed out to Christiano Ronaldo was, in my opinion, correct.

The Real Madrid superstar was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card in their game against archrivals Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. After scoring a brilliant goal he went on to take off his shirt in celebration, which is punishable by a yellow card. Correct decision.

Later on he took what the referee considered to be a dive in attempting to win a penalty, for which he was also cautioned. Simple mathematics says that two yellows equals one red and so he had to go.

Normally he would have received a one-match ban for the two yellows but such was his frustration and anger at being dismissed that he pushed, albeit lightly, the referee in the back. Now that’s a definite no-no.

At the time of writing this article it’s been revealed that he will now serve an additional four games for the push, making a total of five, and all this when he only came on as a substitute.

For too long referees have had their personal space on the field invaded by unruly, ill-mannered thugs masquerading as football players who think they have a divine right to ease their annoyance at refereeing decisions by abusing and sometimes physically assaulting the match official.

In the past referees have died as a result of such unacceptable behaviour and referees have to know and believe that they are safe when turning up to officiate a game.

There were other arguments that the referee on the night was not fair. That other incidents occurred which merited sanction but went unpunished. All of that is, of course, conjecture and a matter of opinion.

The only opinion on the field of play as stated under Law 5 of the Fifa Laws of the Game is that of the man or woman in the middle.

Law V – The Referee (Fifa Laws of the Game)

“Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed.”

“The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.”

Now you may want to disagree with that if you like, but those are the words from the “bible” of Association Football (soccer).

I’ve heard others say that Suarez dived for a penalty in the same game and so on. That may be so, but the referee didn’t think so and that is all that matters.

Referees and their assistants today go through rigorous training and fitness regimes to ensure that they are fully au fait with the up-to-date changes and interpretations of the laws so that mistakes are kept to an absolute minimum.

Now referees are only human and will make mistakes, of that there is no doubt. However, with the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system beginning to take hold, those mistakes will be even fewer in the future hopefully.

In the meantime, the referees have to be allowed to do their job without the fear of intimidation or assault, however minor that assault may be.

Remember there are also “hot heads” in the stands who can easily be motivated to attack match officials because of the bad behaviour of their idols on the field.

Players have a huge social responsibility to act and behave in such a way that neither the spectators or anyone connected with the game can be endangered in any way whatsoever, and that includes match officials.

By the way, doesn’t it make the shake hands at the start of the game all the more of a nonsense and a waste of time? You could argue that Ronaldo didn’t shake hands with the ref as he only came on as a substitute, but I know you wouldn’t be thinking like that – would you?

Happy whistling
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter – dr_errol

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