We will never know what the outcomes would have been if the decisions made were correct. But there is no denying things could have been totally different. If small changes ripple into massive consequences in our chaotic world, then the standing of football, as we know it today would be different.
Referees of the modern game have to go through a lot. From pressurizing press statements from cunning managers, to complete chastising to even death threats.
So where do referees go on from here? The biggest problem is the principle of Omerta applied to them by footballing bodies. Referees are no jesters of the public court. They are like anybody on the pitch-side or television side, someone with a personality, and someone with a passion for what they do. So do they have to be protected and chastised, get hidden from microphones and deflected from conspiracy theories by gaffer taping their mouths.
No. Give them back their personality. Give them back their humanity. So when Drogba shouts it’s a fu*&ing disgrace on T.V. they at least have the right to respond, ‘Yeah, look the house of cards talks now!’ Or when Mourinho is on about the UEFA/UNICEF mafioso links they can reply, ‘I think Mourinho is trying to advertise a mental institution’.
If to err is human, and all the governing bodies talk of the human element as an attraction, then humanize them and let them speak. Do not slide them into the shadows, so that people can slur and throw their wild imaginations at them. Let them explain their decisions to the world, because if football is a global game, then the least they can let the world know is why they blew air through the whistle. If they have erred let them accept their mistakes with dignity, and move on, rather than being subject to the dubious glance. And if they have made a correct decision, let them be applauded, and let there be a positive feedback so that they can do the same, over and over again, so that we stay in love with the game that has us waiting for the weekend like it was a prom night with the prettiest girl.
If the campaign is to respect the referees, give them the voice as a tool for that, or if they can’t defend themselves, well it’s time they took their day jobs full time with no footballing interruptions.