It is easy to harp on about how bad the standard of officials are in the A league and the state league, but the question is how do we improve the situation?
I was at the Perth Glory v the Gold Coast game at the weekend, and with the penalty decision when Kristian Rees tugged Branko Jelic, the referee’s assistant bottled it even though the crowd was only 4509, so how is going to cope in a bigger more intimidating atmosphere?
With the goal by Jelic that he ruled offside I will put that down to being a genuine mistake, however having been seated exactly in line and looking at how slow he was to put his flag up I would say the gentleman is not up to the task.
When questioned about it by a member of the Perth Glory playing staff he allegedly answered along the lines of ‘I get some right and some wrong but I am doing my best.’ That is not good enough especially when there could be a coach’s livelihood depending on a finals berth or a top four finish, and that point could see them out of work.
Currently if you are on the Referees list for the A league you are given a base some of money and then a set fee per game. This was obviously an incentive to have more people take up refereeing or aspire to be an A league referee.
Then there is the issue – being parochial here for a second – that not one referee from WA is on the A league list. The explanation I am lead to believe being one of cost. In that the FFA cannot afford to fly a WA official over East each week, hence the reason we get a referee from South Australia officiate in Perth so often. That is no way to run your refereeing program, and is bound to cause the resentment that exists around the country.
My suggestion would be to do away with the retainer, but increase the number of referees on the A league list, and increase the fee they are paid per game. Make this around $3,000 per game, (Which incidentally would equate to close to a current season’s earnings with the present structure) but if they are deemed to have had a bad game they can see themselves replaced by another official. Obviously if that official has a good game it may be a while before the demoted official works themselves back onto the active list.
A similar structure would be applied to the referee’s assistants.
Apart from ensuring a higher level of performance from the officials, this system would also expose more officials to the A league, and hopefully see more talented officials make it to the top level. It will also prevent any familiarity that may currently exist between players, coaches and referees.
A similar system should apply at state level with the coaches being requested to grade the officials every Monday after the game, so that points are not awarded in the heat of a defeat. This will ensure that those officials who are good remain referees and are rewarded for their professionalism.
Surely this has to be worth a try in order to bring the A league referees up to standard?