Football is a game of passion, we all know that - for the fans, players and everyone involved in the sport, including the referee. We should never forget that.
Before being a direct influence in a football match, the referee is a person, with all that comes attached to that fact. As football fans, we have a very difficult time in remaining impartial. We often favour our own side, and in the Monday morning conversations we always feel the ref was against us on almost every decision he made.
With that being said, several questions come up: should referees disclose their football allegiances? Should they judge games involving those clubs and their direct opponents? Should the referee work be flawless at all times? Is that even possible? Would technology take the pressure off the referee?
In my personal opinion, the disclosure of which referee supports which club would only bring more controversy to their performance and it would make it even tougher to judge a football game.
In relation to the second question, the Portuguese Primeira Liga president, Mário Figueiredo, recently stated that referees shouldn't judge matches involving their favourite club or their direct opponents. I believe this shouldn't even be a subject of relevance in this sport. Of course a referee has preferences, but he also has a responsibility and a professional duty to do his job in a unbiased fashion.
The problem with football fans and the referees work is that we all believed that it should be flawless. But we all forget that football is not a flawless sport. It's obvious that if the referee's decisions never influenced the game, it would be much fairer than it is now, but that's an utopian idea.
And, sometimes, it's decisions like the phantom Chelsea goal in the FA Cup semi-final last year that fuel and inspire the opposing team and their fans and the romantic idea of "us against the world" that makes a future victory taste sweeter.
Yes, football is a game of passion. Please, let's keep it that way.
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