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Football: “The denigration of the referee passed to the industrial stage when the televisions made it a business”


On gives him “Monsieur” as if to better despise him. Unless we consider wrestling as a sport, we will not find a discipline in which the referee is as little respected as in football, with such normalized disrespect. Football is not played with the arms, but the gestures are part of the body language of the players when they gather around the central referee, raise their forelimbs by reflex or principle to claim an offside or a throw-in, dismiss them to claim a foul after several rolls on the ground.

A remarkable lack of shame manifests itself each time one of them, perfectly aware of having committed a fault, however gross, plays the great pantomime of miscarriage of justice. The general indiscipline extends to the bench of substitutes and staff, and to coaches, unable to respect the technical area inside which they are supposed to stand, who scream, play semaphores and attack the fourth official.

A striking sign of the collective intoxication, the referees are even held responsible for the disrespect of which they are victims: they are said to be universally bad and, moreover, lack “psychology” with the players. They should rather learn about psychiatry, faced with such madmen.

Demagogy and facility

When video refereeing (VAR) revealed its failings and limitations, it was again their fault: they are misusing an excellent tool. Among the promises of the VAR, however, was that of the end of disputes and controversies. Footballers, however, only act in accordance with the broad consensus that makes referees universal scapegoats, accountable for all evils, starting with defeats.

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The old folklore of umpire-bashing escalated into an industrial stage when television broadcasters made re-officiating even the smallest of their decisions – with replays, offside “revealers” and commentator counter-verdicts – a major editorial content, a goodwill.

That this amounts to adopting the point of view of the most obtuse of supporters, out of demagoguery and convenience, does not however lead to being moved by this lowering of the discourse on the part of journalists, consultants and other specialists. For the most followed niche accounts on social networks, a free review is the guarantee of obtaining a broad approval. “Mr. Machin sucks” : jackpot of thousands of likes.

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