Sunday, August 2, 2009

Referees take note

Phnom Penh's Ousmanou Mohamadou (blue, 99) can't believe the referee's decision - neither could I. pic - Nick Sells
In the same incident, referee Duong Socheth brandishes the red card to Kun Kuon (orange, 6) with everyone looking bemused by the decision. pic - Nick Sells
The three dismissals on Saturday afternoon at Olympic during the CPL games left me seething. Well, perhaps that's too strong a word for it. They left me bemused and disappointed that both games, played in an open and entertaining style with goals aplenty, should end on such a sour note because of the over-reactions of the man in the middle. Take the Phnom Penh v Post Tel game for starters. We saw five goals, the game was played in a good spirit and referee Duong Socheth had only felt the need to brandish two yellow cards in the 90 minutes. However, with his final decision in the match in time he'd added on, Socheth decided to send off two players, 1 per side, for what looked like an innocuous tussle 25 yards from goal. Two-goal Crown striker Ousmanou Mohamadou and Post Tel's skipper Kun Kuon were shown yellow and then red cards for bugger all in my opinion. Okay, I was sat in the stand and didn't hear if the players reacted to the initial yellow card but for his part Mohamadou had walked away and the referee rushed after him to hold the red card aloft with a flourish. Why? The game was virtually over, the result settled, the initial tussle between the two players was essentially handbags at ten paces, there was simply no obvious need for the referee to react in such a dramatic fashion. Common sense should've prevailed. Instead both players will now miss their next games. Maybe the referee was hoping to send a signal to the CPL teams that he won't stand for any messing - its a close-knit community of match officials and teams - but instead he sends a message that he's officious and overzealous and is happy to spend the rest of the next day writing his match report. In the second game, Khemara versus BBU, the referee, Thong Chankethya, dismissed Khemara's Sophal Udom for what he deemed a second bookable offence in time added on at the end of the game. Why? In my opinion the challenge was not even worthy of a yellow card let alone the over-reaction of the man in the middle who has now cost Khemara the services of one of their players for the next game. He blew the final whistle immediately after he sent the player off, so why couldn't he have just ticked him off with a wagging finger and let it go. I like match referees that sail through a match without you knowing they're even there. I detest referees who want to make statements by their decisions, and both officials on Saturday appeared to be of that ilk. Very disappointing.

The match officials for the Khemara v BBU match, Thong Chankethya is 2nd from left. Come on guys, more common sense please!

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