Saturday 17 March 2018

Colm O'Rourke: Fussy referees are a blight on the football landscape

The frustrating lack of consistency in refereeing is of crisis proportions, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

L ast weekend I saw football from not just different worlds but different universes. The reason was the style of refereeing.

On Saturday night, I was in Belfast to see Meath lose to Antrim, and deservedly so. Later I watched the full tape of Kerry and Dublin. On Sunday, I watched the club semi-final between Crossmaglen and Kilmacud and also the tape of Down and Armagh from Saturday night.

The difference in the style and standard of refereeing in the various games was quite amazing. On Saturday night in Belfast, the constant whistling after every contest for possession was an irritant for spectators and caused huge frustration for players and management. There was absolutely no physical contact worth talking about yet a sackful of yellow cards were handed out and inevitably a couple of reds, even if no player seemed to have any idea of what one of the red cards was actually for. Any type of contact led to a yellow card and the consequent hold-ups drove me and everybody else daft.

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