Enough contact for a penalty to be awarded Print E-mail
Written by Mark Shield, FFA   
Monday, 23 April 2012 16:47

The referee’s job is not meant to be a popular one. The referees are there to make sure the game is played within the laws. I can assure you that the last thing the referee wants to be is the centre of attention.

However, sometimes the game does not allow that and the truly great referees are the ones who have the courage to take the big decisions.

Jarred Gillett has had an outstanding season in the Hyundai A-League. He was appointed to the game’s showpiece because he consistently performed at a high level throughout the year. The Grand Final deserves to have the best performing official in charge.

Jarred and his referee team were impressive in their professional preparation and approach to the match.

On Sunday Jarred’s performance showed why he deserved to be appointed to the Grand Final. His general decision making, player management and game control were exemplary and provided a great example for aspiring referees.

The referee did not choose for such a big decision to present itself at the end of the match when the scores were locked at 1-1.

When confronted with a split-second decision, Jarred instinctively made it without fear or favour. It takes courage and conviction to make such a call.

I, along with thousands of others, watched countless video replays from many angles.

To some people, the replays proved it was a valid penalty decision, others say the video showed the contact was minimal. Jarred did not have the benefit of a video replay.

We should be applauding every referee who is willing to make the tough calls on big occasions.

Referees don’t mind criticism of individual decisions, but linking that debate to previous matches, the state in which the referee resides or matters to do with his personal life are way out of order.

Controversial decisions polarise public opinion and just about everyone will have an opinion on this decision either way.

For the record, in my opinion there appeared to be enough contact for a penalty to be awarded.

I send my congratulations to both the Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory for making the Hyundai A-League 2012 Grand Final such a spectacular showpiece.

Mark Shield
National Referees Director
Football Federation Australia