AFCON 2021African FootballOpinion

AFCON2021: Are the Referees Killing the Excitement?

Football the greatest sports on Earth is known and followed by 80% of the worlds population for the thrill, excitement and drama it generates.

From the World cup to the games in the remote villages, the game is governed by a Unique set of rules formulated, reviewed and managed by IFAB (International Football Association Board) and interpreted by Referees who are charged to at all times remain ‘FAIR’ ‘FRIENDLY’ and ‘ FIRM’.

Referees at ongoing African Cup of Nations in Cameroon have come in for criticism by fans and pundits.

Aside the regrettable incident in the Tunisia vs Mali group stage clash another major concern for the fans is the random use of red cards by the Match Officials with the aid of the VAR.

According to a Cape Verde Supporter, the moment the referee visits the monitor to review a tackle he returns with a red card.

According to this group of fans and pundits the players are forced into their shelves thereby reducing the excitement that comes with a Competitive game.

ARE THE REFEREES KILLING THE EXCITEMENT? Expect a Chorus YES response from the Fans zone who want certain tackles overlooked, so teams can face each other 11VS11 so the game can be competitive and balanced a necessary criteria for Excitement.

Based on the understanding of the position of the Laws of the game in determining What comes first between Entertainment and Safety, this writer will beg to differ and rather stand in defense of the Referees with the backing of the Laws of the game.

Fairness tops the ranking of considerations handed to match Officials followed by Integrity, respect, safety before Entertainment. We will place particular focus on Safety and Entertainment.

The Red Cards in the first set Round of 16 matches were indications that the Players were playing with excessive force and it is the responsibility of match Officials to ensure the safety of the players and the recommended tool for taming excessive force is the red Cards.

Overlook the Alex Iwobi ankle challenge to allow fans enjoy the Nigeria vs Tunisia match and watch same fans cry and blame the referees for not taking decisive action when a Tunisian retaliates and injures a Nigerian player.

The Referees in the eyes of the law were messiah’s. The tag ” AFCON of RED CARDS” is better when compared to an ” AFCON of Career ending INJURIES”.

Nobody enjoys watching players being stretchered off. The effects of the send offs came good in the latter part of the Round of 16 matches as players avoided the use of excess force and respected each other’s safety.

That is what the Law preaches, a game where all participants are Safe to display their skills to entertain and generate sufficient excitement for the teeming supporters.

What do you think?

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Arnold Nhlanhla Sacolo
Arnold Nhlanhla Sacolo
2 years ago

Healthy Safety First

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