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Should referees have to give post-game interviews?

By Jeff Maurer

After being thrown out for shaking hands with the opposing coach (yes, you read that right), Ben Olsen suggested that referees should have to give post-match press conferences, just like coaches. Interesting idea, especially in light of referee Koman Coulibaly's non-explanation of Maurice Edu's disallowed goal vs. Slovenia in the World Cup.

I think it could some cases. It might work in MLS; the press corps here is pretty reasonable, and soccer isn't usually what gets our nation's crazy people's blood boiling. I would NOT like to see it in a World Cup; passions are so high at a World Cup that a post-match press conference might stoke national anger to the point that the referee's physical safety might be in jeopardy. I think World Cup referees should have to provide written justifications for controversial decisions, but I'd rather not have a burn-the-witch press session to be played in an endless loop in the losing country. I wouldn't want refs to face the press corps in the Premiership, either, simply because I don't think anyone should be forced to deal with the sensationalist, idiotic, Weekly World News-quality elements of the British press corps (the Mirror, Sun, etc.).

But what might those press conferences look like? I wonder, wonder...wonder (strokes chin, looks towards sky)...


Press: Why did you throw out both coaches for shaking hands?

Fourth Official: First, let me say that I'd like to wrap this up as quickly as we can, because I have to get up early tomorrow to open the Old Country Buffet where I am a part-time manager. Second: do you have any idea how boring it is being a fourth official? Your whole job consists of checking people's cleats and holding up a little board with numbers. It stinks. I want to get involved - I want to spot a headbutt, throw out a coach, something. I can't wait to see what crazy stuff the fifth officials in the Champions League start calling -- they'll start indicting players for crimes against humanity just to break up the boredom of staring at a white line for 90 minutes.

Press: Did you see the replay of the incident?

Fourth Official: Of course. I always see the replay of off-the-ball incidents on the jumbotron or on the screens located on the sidelines some stadiums. Then I pretend like I saw it the first time. Everybody knows that.

At the World Cup:

Press: Can you explain your controversial decision that decided the game?

Referee: (translated from a language spoken by only 200 people in the entire world) No. But I would like to thank Sepp Blatter for having me here, not only to referee this match, but also to see such a beautiful stadium in this magnificent country. Where I come from, the soccer games are usually 50 vs. 50 affairs played by the local school children. The ball is made of a goat's head stuffed with dirt. The only official match I have refereed prior to today was between a group of warlords and a herd of water buffalo. But because FIFA has insisted that referees reflect geographic diversity, my tiny country contributes the same number of referees to the World Cup as Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, England, or France!

Seething Press Corps Member From the Losing Country: When were you approached to become part of the global conspiracy against my glorious country?

Referee: I had never heard of your country prior to kickoff.

In the English Premiere League:

Press: Can you talk about the late penalty you awarded to Manchester United?

Referee: Yeah - do you think Sir Alex Ferguson noticed? Did he say anything about me? Gosh...he's so cool.

British Tabloid Reporter: Any thoughts on Kim Kardashian's mum's nappy?

Referee: Like any self-respecting adult, I am following this story closely and am deeply concerned by its implications. I think the Kardashian girls forcing their mother to wear an adult diaper on a reality show is a completely appropriate story on which to report, as it reflects our society's disconcerting lack of respect for senior citizens. I applaud your publication for upholding the highest standards of journalistic integrity and hope they continue their tenacious pursuit of this story.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 28, 2010; 7:10 AM ET
Categories:  Jeff Maurer, United  | Tags:  referees  
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I don't think refs should be required to give press conferences, but I think they should be allowed to.

Their decisions are going to be micromanaged and second (and third and fourth) guessed anyway so at least this gives them the option of putting their POV out there so that at least there's a CHANCE of context arising.

Posted by: saabrian | September 28, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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