Referees easily have the most thankless job in football.
All they’re trying to do is enforce the laws of the game to the best of their ability, but the amount of abuse they receive can often be quite sickening.
Without match officials, football would be carnage - unplayable and unwatchable - and it’s high time we focused on the good decisions they make and not just the bad.
Our first shout-out goes to Kevin Stott, who refereed the MLS clash between Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon.
The American ref appeared to have made an unbelievably poor decision when Nemanja Nikolic put the home side 1-0 up in the 11th minute at Toyota Park in Illinois.
Even the assistant referee thought it was offside
The assistant referee had flagged for offside when Nikolic received the ball but Stott, to the bemusement of just about everyone inside the stadium and the thousands watching on TV, waved play on.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando stood inside his penalty area with his arm in the air, waiting for the ref to reverse his decision, and subsequently reacted too late when Nikolic fired the ball into the bottom corner.
Always play to the whistle.
Nobody could believe it
Rimando’s teammates and his coach, Jeffrey Cassar, were all incensed.
Why had Stott overruled his assistant when the offside was so blatantly obvious?
Replays showed Stott got it spot on
It was undoubtedly a brave call from Stott, who could have taken the easy option and blown for offside.
But he knew that the touch hadn’t come from Michael de Leeuw. He knew the touch had actually been made by Real Salt Lake midfielder Stephen Sunday. And he knew his fellow match official had made an incorrect decision.
Video: Stott's brilliant call
Watch the video in full here...
Stott praised on social media
Replays showed that Stott had actually made a terrific call - and he was deservedly praised on Twitter as a result.
Kevin Stott, we salute you!
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