Referees – Our thoughts on the men in black

Singapore has been to the Fifa World Cup. Yes, you are hearing us right. We have indeed been there, our referees that is.

George Suppiah, Shamsul Maidin and Jeffrey Goh. These are our very own referees who have represented Singapore at the biggest sports competition in the world, the Fifa World Cup. George and Shamsul being the main referees for the 1974 and 2006 editions respectively while Jeffrey served as an assistant referee in 2010. While our football team may not be exactly punching above our weight at the international level this moment, it seems that we are more than capable of producing match officials who have made us proud the highest level. Here’s a shout-out to our football administrators – whatever we are doing right in grooming the referees, let’s try to do the same for Singapore football development!

Singapore Referees - Shamsul Maidin

Shamsul Maidin in action at the 2006 World Cup, Costa Rica vs Poland match.
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On the topic of referees, we think football fans worldwide all can agree that whether you love or hate them, you definitely cannot ignore them. How many times have we seen a referee single-handedly determine the outcome of a match?

Remember Drogba and his outbursts (pardon his language) after Chelsea were knocked out by Barcelona in the 2008-2009 UEFA Champions League semi-finals following a highly controversial performance by referee Tom Henning Øvrebø? Check out the videos below to see Drogba’s reaction to Tom Henning’s shambolic refereeing – denying Chelsea at least 4 clear penalties to  boot them out of the competition. Chelsea fans will remember and so will the Barcelona fans. Chelsea vanquished and Barcelona went on to become Champion League winner.

On a another note, there have been referees who stood out with their outstanding performances, dedication and commitment. Pierluigi Collina, the Italian former football referee comes to mind. Widely considered the best referee of his time, this man in black has been named FIFA’s “Best Referee of the Year” six consecutive times. On the pitch, his wide-eyed glare was often enough to command the respect of the players whose game he was officiating.

Some of you Manchester United fans may also remember him as the the man who deemed three minutes of injury time were required to conclude the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. We all know Manchester United won in the end but perhaps what you guys didn’t see was the image of Collina attempting to comfort distraught Bayern Munich players at the end. A referee with an immense heart.

collina - referees

His best career moments perhaps came in the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Japan which saw him display impeccable refereeing performances in all his matches. To top if off, he also officiated the final between Germany and Brazil in Japan. Definitely a class act who set the standards.

Amidst all our differing views on the referees, one thing is for sure, they remain vital in football ensuring the laws of the game are followed. In this regard, we like to share a link with all you footballers who are playing the game and looking for a referee. Do check out the FootballOPod website if you are considering booking a referee for your game. The rates are reasonable and it’s always a good idea to have a referee to keep things in check.


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