After looking at recent incidents in the Barclays Premiership over the few weeks since the current 2010/2011 season started. The burning question on many pundits’ lips is. “Are our stars over protected by officials or vice versa and is it becoming a free for all fit for rugby union?”
After listening to Arsene Wenger’s changing views on whether his maturing Arsenal side need molly coddling by referees or as he said they are actually now capable of dishing the tackles with the rest of the Premiership big boys? The question arose again what is fair and unfair in football?
After looking at the horrific injuries suffered by the likes of (Hatem) Ben Arfa, (Bobby) Zamora and closer to home for Mr Wenger Eduardo and (Aaron) Ramsey are officials becoming too lenient to reckless challenges or are they simply not up to the job of deciding what constitutes a bad challenge or not.
Part of the argument towards the officials stems from the fact that most, if not all of top flight referees have never played even semi professional football and are not aware of the tricks of the trade employed by some of the stars and the game is played at such a vigorous pace in the UK that they cant possibly see every little incident that takes place.
Even with the Europa League tested goal line officials that have this season became such a familiar site to our crowds up and down the country, there are still many decisions that go either unnoticed or maybe ignored to prevent referees having to explain themselves, and there actions and to generally make life easier for themselves.
This is not to lay all the blame squarely on the officials shoulders, surely the players themselves have a part to play in what is becoming increasingly a stop start version of football more suited to the Spanish Primera League.
And with Newcastle United’s pursuit of legal action against Manchester City’s De Jong for his potentially career ending lunge on Ben Arfa. This shows that British football will not stand by and watch as, because a player is talented and has the ability to hurt your club in footballing terms he should therefore be a marked man to the existent that we are willing to potentially end his career.
In summary: where are we to draw a line between protection for our star players and the over involved officials that we all spend our Monday mornings at work talking about?
Follow Steve Featherstone on Twitter @Feathersworld