Who should be blamed if a referee is deceived?
The phenomenon of Twitter seems to have become an addiction with many professional footballers; I suppose they have plenty of spare time. National newspapers therefore are able to gain access and publish their thoughts. I’m not sure what you call people who spread their views by twitter? I know they are said to tweet but does this make them a tweeter or should it be a twitterer. One of the most prolific footballers is QPRs Joey Barton, who is usually keen to let his followers and anyone at large learn about his sometimes controversial thoughts on a wide range of subjects. What was occupying his mind recently was his sending off against Norwich, which if anyone hasn’t seen it, occurred when it appeared to the referee, (aided by his assistant referee), that Barton had head butted Norwich’s Bradley Johnson. The two players had a running altercation and after Barton had been brought down, he squared up to Johnson, eyeball to eyeball. Johnson pulled away holding his face but Barton claims that he never touched his opponent and this has led him to suggest that it is only a matter of time before a referee is sued for making a mistake. The television replays seemed to be somewhat inconclusive to me but they must have been clearer to the video review board as they refused to allow Barton’s appeal for his suspension to be squashed. Ignoring the fact that if players could sue referees when they made mistakes, you very soon wouldn’t have any referees, it always surprises me that in such instances anyone should think the blame lies with the referee. Surely, if a referee is conned into making a bad decision, the blame should be attributed to player who perpetrated the con. It is he who has committed the offence not the referee. One thing I would agree with Joey Barton is that these ever increasing instances of players pretending to be injured or worse, seriously injured, is to be regretted. How often we see players after a tackle writhing about in agony when they have only received a slight knock. In most cases it’s for one reason only, which is to dupe the referee into imposing a greater penalty against the opponent than he might otherwise have done. Most people understand that diving is an offence but so is this behaviour. In the Laws of the Game, it lists amongst the circumstances for which a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, ‘attempt to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled – simulation’. But I think that it is not only unsporting but also dishonest and unfair to the referee. By the way, isn’t this the same Joey Barton, who earlier in the season when still playing for Newcastle United was involved in a similar controversy? This was in the match against Arsenal when he accused Gervinho of diving in the penalty area. The referee was obviously not convinced that contact had been made and had allowed play to continue but Barton took matters into his own hands and hauled Gevinho up by the scruff of the neck. As the referee came back to sort it out, Barton threw himself on the ground holding his face and when he got up he made gestures to indicate that he had been elbowed in the jaw. Although the television replay showed that no such blow had been struck, Gevinho received a red card. I asked what you call people who tweet; well I understand that the Oxford Dictionaries are all in favour today of people making up new combined words. So I think I’ve invented the perfect name for users like Joey Barton who show themselves to be hypocrites on twitter, let’s call them – hypotwitts.