Where is the Bosman of the referees?

Why referees are the only non-international element left in the elite football level?

It was pretty obvious Manchester United enjoyed the continental style refereeing in both their Champions League victories over Chelsea. A few weeks earlier, United took a half time lead in a league match at Stamford Bridge, but were bullied into defeat in the second half. Alex Ferguson, United’s manager, even bemoaned the “soft” refereeing and ended up suspended.

Premiership rules and the rules of football are apparently two very different animals. Statistics show that the number of fouls given in the English top division is around 25% lower than in any other major European league, and the number of cards is considerably lower too. In England they have a cute tradition: the first clear bookable offense is not treated with a yellow card but by lengthy lecture, in Shakespearean English, to a Bolivian butcher signed a week earlier from a Russian club.

Which brings up the question: following the influx of foreign players and foreign managers and foreign owners and foreign fans to England, where are the foreign referees. The Premier League pays the highest referee salaries in the world – over 70,000 pounds in many cases. So where is the Bosman of the referees? Demanding the chance to officiate in the Premier League, either for the professional challenge or simply for the money. Clearly a European court would grant any top European referee such a wish.

It may bring about more of the annoying time wasting we see in Europe. On the other hand English football would benefit in the international arena.


  1. YB added these pithy words on April 19, 2011 | Permalink

    I really realy don’t want to see continental referees in the British game. Although the officiating in the PL is far from perfect it is still the best, specially in terms of implementing the rules. I find the British soccer officiating to be parallel to the officiating in American sports. Let the players play.
    However, I do agree that British refs are sometimes not harsh enough in giving yellow cards.
    But it sure doesn’t mean that even some of them should be replaced by continental referees.

  2. ronen dorfan added these pithy words on April 21, 2011 | Permalink

    i tend to agree – i like their approach to fouls and time wasting. they should use their cards more often.

  3. YB added these pithy words on April 21, 2011 | Permalink

    I also like how they place the wall 10 yards (and not an inch less) from the ball in free kicks. When in Europe, and especially in Israel, it is mostly 7-8 meters, which basically ruins so many free kicks.

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