Picture: The Guardian

Every picture tells a story.

Jamie Vardy was clearly not asking referee Jon Moss for his autograph following his second-half dismissal against West Ham United on Sunday 17 April 2016. The tv replays suggest that among the finger pointing and pulsing veins Mr. Vardy called Mr. Moss a f***ing c**t.

Mr. Vardy has now been charged with improper conduct for his behavior.

Leicester have also been charged for failing to control their players following the awarding of an 83rd-minute penalty to West Ham.

It is an old and over-used argument but you would never get that sort of abuse of officials in a rugby match.

But the pressure on football referees is huge.

Mr. Moss got many of the big decisions wrong; but the vilification that he got online and on the tv and other media from former referees, fans and officials was excessive.

In the end football’s rules are often about interpretation. Many officials are still debating Mr. Moss’ decisions two days later. My take on the big decisions:

Vardy’s first booking = not a booking.
Vardy sending off = good decision – that was a dive.
West Ham penalty = Poor decision – that was also a dive but the players had been warned and were still tugging/impeding.
Leicester penalty claim for foul on Huth = not given but that was a penalty.
Leicester penalty with a minute to go for a foul by Carroll = never a penalty.

The Guardian helped to put this into perspective: “Perhaps the greatest support given to Moss came from an unlikely source, Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager, who through his obvious bafflement at the injustice afforded his team in the closing stages came out with perhaps one of the most honest appraisals of a referee’s job there has been from a football manager in the immediate aftermath of a controversial game. “It’s hard for him. Here you have 32,000 people screaming at every contact in the box, every long ball in the box. If it’s for the home side it’s a penalty or handball. If it’s in the other box it’s cheat or dive or whatever,” said Bilic. “It’s hard, it’s extremely hard for him and the game went like crazy and they were losing. It’s easy now to say the refs shouldn’t get influenced by the fans. On paper it is easy to say that. Actually it’s real life.””

In the end 2-2 was probably a fair result. Vardy’s behavior was unacceptable and he should get an extra game ban. And Mr Moss, not intentionally, gave us all much to talk about afterwards, and there is little that football fans like more than dissecting every contentious item of a game.

The other relevant point – video refereeing; stopping the game to determine whether or not there was an offense – would never have truly resolved every issue in yesterday’s game.

After countless reviews and slow motion replays there are still many disagreements.

A final thought – who would ever want to be a referee?



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