Officiating in Ghana football has come under critical scrutiny by the stakeholders such as the match review panel, coaches, and supporters as any wrong or seemingly wrong decision by a referee is seen as an attempt to favor one club at the expense of the other.
Some referees have been given lengthy bans for one or two wrong decisions made in the course of the game terming those decisions as unpardonable and hence are severely punished.
Some referees have been physically assaulted at match centers for making what supporters and coaches think is a wrong call. Other referees have brought games to an abrupt end after receiving threats from supporters.
The development of referees is not different from that of players as in they make mistakes and learn from their mistakes to improve themselves.
Unfortunately, in Ghana referees are not allowed to develop due to the intimidation and threats from club owners, players, and supporters with the perception that all referees are corrupt and are solely influenced by bribes.
The Ghana Football Association has brought up the concept of ‘Catch them young referees’ to pick and train young persons (mostly teenagers) to be referees.
I have been to Asem park last two Saturdays to watch the juvenile league (colts football) which is being officiated by these catch them young referees and the way the coaches and the supporters are intimidating and threatening to beat these young ones when they make wrong calls it’s very terrible. Similar reports have been gathered from other juvenile league centers. It wasn’t surprising that last week supporters manhandled a young referee for awarding a handball penalty in a game between Asawase Lazio vs Corners at Asem. When the referee resumed you could see that he was not of himself.
Coaches and supporters encourage their players when they make mistakes as they believe they will become perfect one day but when referees make mistakes then they are subject to verbal and physical assaults even at the tender age of officiating.
Someway somehow the quality of players in our premier league mirrors the quality of referees. Most of our players are not technically good and poor in decision-making. Some teams cannot create good chances in the game and the little they create are also squandered. Goalkeepers are also making mistakes week in week out but all of them keep getting encouragement from their coaches and supporters believing better days ahead.
So why can’t the referee also be encouraged and allowed to develop to become the world-class referee we all aspire to.
The banning of referees for many games hurt the development of referees. As one will ask how can one become perfect without constantly practicing the very thing he wants to be perfect in?
A referee will officiate a game for 90 minutes and one or two mistakes that he did which will be about 11 seconds will be used to judge his performance in the entire duration of the game discounting some good calls that were made in the game.
You don’t necessarily need 100% to achieve an *’A’* rated performance as 80% can even give you that despite getting 20% wrong.
Most referees these days officiate in fear as the quest for perfection leads them into making decisions that if they had the opportunity of a review wouldn’t have made those calls.
Ghana football association is taking steps to develop all stakeholders of the very commendable game but the banning of referees from officiating does not only hinder their development but also gives the impression to all the other stakeholders that referees are the weakest link in Ghana football hence their abuse.
Owuraku Nsiah CA