Leave Halsey alone and place blame where it belongs

If you are like many other Reds fans, then last Sunday you were screaming the name Mark Halsey along with a few other colorful words. Oddly, none of the other words were actually of colors. Not sure where that saying comes from. Anyways, I digress. Some fans went as far as to wish cancer on poor referee Mark Halsey after a controversial red card decision on Jonjo Shelvey and giving a penalty to United after an obvious dive by Valencia.

This is one of the few times that I was not totally embarrassed of having to watch the match on Fox Soccer Channel and put up with Eric Wynalda’s shtick because he did have some good things to say. I won’t quote it word for word, but the basis was that going by the laws of the game, both Shelvey and Evans should have received red cards. However, they did not, only one did and then you have the game decided by a dive which is just an outright embarrassment. Who is really to blame though?

You would probably like to blame Halsey since he is the one who made the call. It is his job to make the call and when someone obviously fails at his job, it is natural to be angry and wish for some sort of reprimand, though cancer seems to be a bit far. My problem with the whole situation is that even though I have grown to detest EPL referees, I really do not feel they have the tools they need. If you think the officiating in English football is atrocious, just ask yourself this: who would want the f*cking job?

The eyes of the world are on you, especially in big matches like Liverpool vs United, and all you have are four officials trying to get it right. Actually, scratch the fourth official, all he does is listen to the managers complain and occasionally hold up his Lite-Brite toy. So, now you’re down to the referee and two linesmen. In reality, however, it is the referee and one linesman because the linesmen are only responsible for half of the pitch. Now you have a situation where the referee is running around somewhere in the center of the pitch with the only other official a full 30-40 yards away from anything happening in front of goal. Oh, and let’s not forget the 20 or so players on the pitch blocking the view of the two officials. Those players also happen to play at a phenomenal pace. We shouldn’t ask how did they get it wrong? We should be asking how the hell do they ever get it right?

This system of officiating is absolutely archaic along with many rules of the beautiful game. While training methods, tactics, and even the uniforms worn by players have been enhanced by technology, one thing remains the same: the referee is always at a disadvantage. How many seasons has it been since goal line technology was first mentioned? Something so simple as making sure the ball crosses the line can’t even get instituted because FIFA, UEFA, and the other governing bodies fear change. The governing bodies of this game make loads of cash so there is absolutely no incentive for them to change anything for the betterment of the game when to them it does not seem broken. If something was wrong, their revenue would take a tumble, right?

Will anything ever be done? Probably not. Every winter it turns cold and the summers are hot and we all sit around and act surprised. I just can’t believe how cold or hot it is, yet it happens every year. Bad calls have also arrived on schedule and it is time for us to yet again stand around and pretend to be surprised. We will continue to watch and FIFA, UEFA, the FA, and all the other nitwit governing bodies will continue to fill their purses with our hard earned cash in spite of this cold reality.

One change that would be nice to see and is actually doable is if the match officials were to wake up and demand the tools they need. I understand good referees are in short supply. What if you guys got together and demanded the help you need to do your jobs more accurately? Instead of demanding respect, demand something that will actually matter and respect will follow.

Just a crazy idea from some no-name blogger.

-CSD

  • Jamie

    Halsey was inept, inconsistent and generally poor during last weekends game. Liverpool fans have every right to blame him for the loss although the twitter stories are concerning – no one should be subjected to that.
    Thoughts on the match – Shelvey should not have been sent off and if you argue it was a red then so was van persie’s, like wise Liverpool should have been given at least one penalty maybe two yet the weakest of all penalty shouts was given to valencia who certainly has mastered the art of diving since his high profile switch from Wigan. Halsey was to blame for each and everyone of those poor decisions – the buck stops with him.

    Everyone rants on about goal-line technology – the issue runs much much deeper with a large number of referees clearly in need of training and re-educating. Likewise Slur Alex getting involved in the Shelvey decision was an absolute disgrace…its clearly bringing the game into disrepute and inciting an already pressurable decision the referee has to make. Nothing will happen to Ferguson though – it never does.

  • theres no excuses on that decison to give man united a penalty you look at the footage and hes right there not 10 yards from the so called foul ,no one blocking his view its clear as day there was no contact made and , even his linesman is directly in line with the play so you tell me how it is not the referee decision in that instance , to solve the problem of decisions like this and goal line technology is easy , and its used in australian rules football and rugby , its called a video referee , where is an official monitors the game from the side lines with video footage and if he sees something deemed wrong made by the official on the park he can speak to the official through a head set and can tell the referre its a goal if its obvious it has gone over the line , football is supposed to be the beautifull game and its made ugly by decisions that can be easily solved , then fans wouldnt have to get on websites and vent their angers because they know the right decisions have been made it is happening to often and it needs to be fixed

  • suarez was discriminated against by the fa now victimised by refs when are liverpool going to step in if this was a man u player give fergie his due he would of sorted it long ago,john henry and werner there not worth a carrot

  • The premeditated crime which was orchestrated
    by the FA and executed by Mark Halsey on the 23rd of September 2012 was
    confirmed to me last night by a very good friend of mine who used to be an
    international referee in the past and now he is arbitration’s professor. The analysis was mainly focused on six
    specific infringements:

    1. On the 32nd
    minute of the game a foul was committed on Raheem Sterling by ManU’s number 3
    player. The professor said it should
    have been a red card on the number 3 player!

    2. On the 39th
    minute of the game both players – Shelvey and Evans – tried to win the ball by
    extending their feet sideways with no intention to hurt each other. The professor said no card should have been
    given to each player. On the specific
    infringement Shelvey was sent off with a red card!

    3. On the 48th
    minute of the game a foul was committed on Steven Gerrard by ManU’s number 7
    player. The professor said it should
    have been a yellow card on the number 7 player.

    4. On the 57th
    minute of the game Luis Suarez was not allowed to move on in the penalty area
    of ManU as Evans’ leg remained extended.
    The professor emphasized that a penalty should have been awarded!

    5. On the 76th
    minute of the game Valencia was found on the grass and Mark Halsey awarded a
    penalty for ManU. The professor
    emphasized that a penalty should have never been awarded!

    6. When Shelvey
    was punished with a red card on the 39th minute and while he was
    walking away, MANU’S MANAGER TURNED AND
    SCOFFED SHELVEY WITH LAUGHTER!

    7. The FA is
    accountable and must further investigate the specific incident. Managers who behave in this unacceptable
    manner then they should not be allowed to be coaching a team! If the managers do not foster the motto RESPECT and are not behaving in an
    ethical way how do they expect the players to do so?

    8. Mark Halsey
    immediately and with no further hesitation must take fully responsibility of
    his “criminal” arbitration and retire.

    9. LFC’s hierarchy
    must take immediate actions and declare Phil Dowd, Andre Marriner, Howard Webb,
    and Mark Halsey as undesirables
    to be hissing LFC’s game.

    10. The LFC’s
    fans should not allow further “criminal” arbitrations from referees and send
    clear and loud messages to both FA and referees that they must RESPECT LFC’s history in English
    Football!

  • GazLFC

    I thought every one of our players on sunday gave there all and im proud of every single one of them. As for the ref he was a joke. Not just inconaistancy with the big calls but the little ones too. wot will be the next step five-a-side rules, cant go to ground. I dont blame suarez for going down trying to earn penaltys. He doesn’t seem to get anywhere with ligitimate fouls. it seems most other team league gets these calls. man utd have earned 2 pens in so many games with dives. where as luis is booked, they are just left without punishment and earned there team a goal.

  • Steve

    If Halsey simply had a ‘bad day at the office’ shouldn’t both teams have suffered during the game? I can count 5 major decisions he got wrong IMO (Agger, Suarez pens, only sending off Shelvey, No red for Van Persie, Valencia ‘pen’), all against Liverpool and several other minor decisions which infuriated the fans. I think he only booked Van Persie because of the outrage from the fans, despite the 2 footed challenge. Liverpool played great on the day, shame we don’t have a couple of goalscorers. Letting Carroll go was a big mistake. We needed to keep him and sign at least one more striker.

  • Mark

    One relatively simple thing (compared to football associations reluctance to bring technology into the matches) to do is to have more post game reviews.

    The FA (or an independent body – yeah right!) could do the following after the match:
    1)Make diving to win penalties a red card offense if a penalty was given (keep it a yellow in the match as a penalty is not given if the ref thinks it is a dive).
    2)Review every red/yellow card and rescind them or confirm them.
    3)Review the entire match and make sure that all the cards that should have been given were given.
    4)Review all major decisions and confirm them or let the clubs know they were wrong.

    You could say that this will take away the authority of referees in the matches, but it has not proven that in American football (I am going to base the rest of this on prior years in the NFL, not this year with replacement refs). I know that American football has replay which would not work in the PL in the current setup, but the post game referee analysis is amazing and the league is very clear about what should and should not have happened. Off the ball infractions are much less now than in the past. It doesn’t change the result of games, but it does change the behavior which leads to some of the controversial situations.

    This would massively cut down on diving and clean up the matches.

    Evans would be banned for 3 matches (I think that they both probably deserved reds based on the current interpretation of the rules – if anything Shelvey went in one footed and could have received a yellow). Van Persie would probably never had made that tackle as he would also be banned or 3 matches. Valencia probably would not have made that dive as he would be banned for a match (and if he did, he would get the ban and the FA would have to say that the ref made a mistake). The FA report would say that Suarez did/did not deserve a penalty (I think it is not clear). The FA would also have to say whether Agger deserved a penalty.

    The referees would actually have to make the right decisions knowing that the entire match will be reviewed officially and corrections made.

    Beyond this, I do think there are ways to have video replay during the match without disrupting the match much, if at all. Goal line technology or video replay of the goal line is a must and video replay could happen throughout the match.

  • CSD

    ” If Halsey simply had a ‘bad day at the office’ shouldn’t both teams have suffered during the game?”

    Who are you quoting there?

  • mojoo

    Mandatory video review of penalty decisions. It’s as easy as that. Every dive would be punished and every foul given – at the mere cost of some 30 seconds (which would have gone wasted in useless discussions on the pitch anyway). Other sports have shown that decisions after video reviews are very very rarely wrong – let’s ignore Sunday’s packers vs. seahawks game here ;-).