load_file(“/includes/top.html”);load_file(“/includes/navmenu.html”);HOMESPORTSRefs under fire equals watershed moment for EPL officialsBy Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/12 23:13:40load_file(“/includes/article_shareup.html”);Its ironic that when it comes to views on the man in the middle, there is no middle ground. Soccers problem with referees comes into sharp focus in almost every time they blow their whistle and this weekend was no exception. Mark Clattenburg – the man named best referee in the world last year – was in charge for ­Arsenals game against Hull City and involved in more than his fair share of divisive decisions. First, he allowed Alexis Sanchezs opener even though the ball came off the forwards arm – a decision that Hull defender Andrew Robertson said Clattenburg apologized for at halftime – and then he did not send Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs off for a foul. Fair play to Clattenburg if he did hold his hands up for a mistake – although questions may be asked of how he could be sure given that he is not allowed to see video of the game in the interval. And also fair play for him not trying to level things up by making decisions deliberately in Hulls favor. But the best ref in soccer making mistakes that cost teams points does officials no favors. Referees have a tough time. Its always been the loneliest position on a soccer pitch and it seems to be getting lonelier. It seems that in the Premier League more and more managers are being sent off for ­problems with the officials: ­Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watched his sides victory from the stands as part of a suspension, while Slaven Bilic and assistant Nikola Jurcevic were sent off at West Hams game this weekend. It goes all the way down the divisions and around the world. In the last few weeks, Inter Milan manager Stefano Pioli said his side “paid dearly” for refereeing decisions while losing to Juve. Brisbane Roars game against Melbourne City on Friday was remarkable for two soft penalty decisions, just a week after Citys Tim Cahill was sent off before even coming on as a sub for complaining about the refereeing in the Melbourne derby. And then theres Spain. Every club in Spain seems to think the refs are out to get them right now, none more so than Barcelona.Sadly, this is the example that soccer is setting for the generation that follows. There is talk of a strike by Englands grass-roots referees next month, sick as they are of the way they are treated by fans, players and, in the case of youth soccer, parents. Its about time something was done about it.This behavior starts at the top. Refs are an easy scapegoat for losing managers and an easy target for frustrated fans and players, but soccers equivalent of kicking the dog needs to stop. Sure, some current Premier League refs dont help themselves in their need to impose their personality on a game, but for all the money and pressure in soccer, it remains just a game and one that cant be played without refs. Soccer needs to protect its refs or run the risk of a generation who refuse to be stuck in the middle.The author is a Shanghai-based writer. jmawhite@gmail.comPosted in: SOCCER,EXTRA TIME/* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */var disqus_shortname = globaltimes; // required: replace example with your forum shortnamevar disqus_identifier = 1032611;/* * * DONT EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */(function () {var dsq = document.createElement(script); dsq.type = text/javascript; dsq.async = true;dsq.src = https:// + disqus_shortname +;(document.getElementsByTagName(head)[0] || document.getElementsByTagName(body)[0]).appendChild(dsq);})();Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by comments powered by Disqusload_file(“/includes/channel_right.html”);load_file(“/includes/footer.html”);$(document).ready(function($){$(“#channel-list .row-content”).each(function(){  if($(this).children().length==1){$(this).children().css(width,100%);}

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