So once again the topic of conversation is not the football match (and thanks goodness for that because there wasn’t a lot to discuss) but is an off the ball, off the pitch incident. Firstly, before anyone gets the wrong end of the stick, Hazard was wrong to kick out and should have been sent off.
The point I want to make is more about perception and reality. I have struggled for a while with how two people can watch an incident on a football field and see it so very differently. To my eye (as a neutral) the ballboy, after tweeting be
|The Separation Between Perception
and Reality Means the Referees
Role Is Almost Impossible
(Image © Scott Ableman)
fore the match that he felt it his duty to waste time, lay on the ball to prevent the Chelsea player from getting it. Indeed the same ball boy had previously hugged the ball to his chest at the start of the half and had a similar tussle with a Chelsea player. Hazard then tried to pull the ball off him and frustratedly (and stupidly) kicked at the ball possibly making contact with the ball boy.
Radio five this morning interviewed a Swansea fan who had by her own admission an excellent view of the incident. She told how the poor lad chased after the ball, slipped and landed on top of it whereupon Mr. Hazard proceeded to give him a bit of a kicking.
Clearly two very different views of the incident. I have no evidence but I would think that had the incident been the other way around (with a Swansea player rather than a Chelsea player) she would have seen it very differently.
What hope does a referee have? A fairly cut and dried incident is seen by a subjective supporter completely differently than by the neutral. I see this at the Dons too. The amount of times I’ve been in a conversation where someone says “Did you see what happened to Lewington?”,with a horrified expression. Generally, this completely misses the fact that our captain has a habit of leaving his foot in or kicking out after a challenge thereby encouraging the reactions that he so often gets. My point is that fans see what they want to see. Which means that referees are seen as having a bad game when they don’t…week in and week out. This happens at all levels. I referee under 10s football. I referee to the best of my ability. If I lean any way at all it would be to favour the opposition rather than my sons team. However, the comments and shouts from parents clearly don’t assume that. Football at all levels works because of referees. Spectators at all levels need to back away a little from the blinding allegiance to their side (even at u10 level) and start looking at incidents with a more objective eye…
Probably slightly more chance of the ball boy making a miraculous recovery…