A match day referee has multiple responsibilities; the referee must ensure the pitch is safe and fully fit for purpose before the match commences. He or she must ensure all of the match day equipment is legal and fits within the regulations. They must know the rules fully and implement them throughout the game.
It is arguably a tough job, and referees are often held to account for the slightest error, with little or no recourse.
A case can be made that at any one point a referee, despite rigorous training, can feel overwhelmed, thus affecting their performance.
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Possibly one of the main gripes held against the referee is the amount of added time at the end of a match.
Fans and managers alike often highlight the disproportionate amount of time that is added due to various reasons, including injuries to players and substitutions. There is often disagreement on the amount of time that should have been given against the time that was actually given.
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The inconsistency of time keeping has often raised questions of objectiveness. A case in point is when Manchester United scored a 96th minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday ensuring they kept their premier league title challenge alive.
A major talking point especially since the fourth official on the day decided just four minutes (and not seven) of injury time need to be played. This was in 1993, and, despite multiple controversies surrounding added time since, little has been done to rectify or even address the situation. Surely now is the time to thoroughly discuss the issue of time keeping.
One arguably logical and simple solution to this issue could be that the referee has no say about how much time is added, none at all. Instead, another match day official, a designated time keeper, is given total responsibility of time.
The time keeper decides how much time is added on at the end of either half. They decide all aspects of added on time during the match. They judge if a player is deemed to be wasting time either when taking too long leaving the field of play, when being substituted or taking too long when awarded a goal kick.
This would arguably ease the burden on the referee and ensure they can concentrate and focus more on their primary role, the match itself.
This rule has worked well in both futsal and rugby, with both sports both sports experiencing an advancement in quality. The rule can be integrated into professional football with a similar result.
It can be argued that times have changed, perhaps it is unwise to give one person so much responsibility.
Surely it's time it became a serious consideration.
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