Article by: Abhi Kottamasu

In the world of sports reign some of the most talented, criticized, misunderstood, intelligent, and most trusted people, the referees. As a volunteer game official, a referee must undergo a multitude of trials toward a formal certification prior to engage in the most challenging endeavor, which is to manage players and game situations. Before being indoctrinated, training is imperative. Referee’s preparation is demanding and very important, especially when familiarizing candidates with the psychology of the game and sophisticated strategies which includes the detailed tactics of the teams. However, the decisions they make are not always the best ones and many times have ISM students seen referees make controversial calls that affect their results in the play, game or even tournament.

Just last week, JV touch girls were playing a game with a controversial referee. Candice Hodges, JV touch athlete says “The ref was just extremely unfair”. As she recalls, her teammates would touch the other teams “half”, which is a penalty and usually results in a turnover of possession; however, the referee would dismiss the action and simply say “play on”. These calls truly affected their game as it even cost them a couple of tries (point in rugby). The girls were baffled by the referees decisions as he failed to call plays that are quite basic violations in the game of touch rugby. Furthermore, this was the peak of the controversy as although the ISM Bears JV team had won more games than any other team in the tournament they ended up getting third place. However, thankfully the ISM JV Cats team claimed first place.

This year, IASAS Football 2014 in Kuala Lumpur had its fair share of controversial referees. As Malaika Jamal recalls, a call in one of their last tournaments hindered their performance in the rest of the tournament. The ISM girl’s teams goalkeeper was one on one with the opposing team’s striker and rushed to put pressure on the player. Then, while the goalkeeper was out of the box, the player shot at her arms, which caused the referee blow his whistle. The referee claimed she deliberately hand balled the ball to prevent the goal; however, it was evident that the handball was totally unintentional. The referee then showed her a straight red card. This surprised everyone there for two reasons: first, this was the first time in Girl’s Football history that someone has ever received a straight red card and second because in most cases even in professional football such a foul would only merit a yellow card. Consequently ISM’s goalkeeper was banned for their big game against SAS.

Although there is nothing that can be done about unfair referee calls, teams can only hope for fair referees that maintain the spirit of the game. True champions are able to overcome all obstacles, whether it be a referee’s unfair calls or his blatant disregard for the rules. With IASAS coming up this week, ISM Bearcats are sure to weather any challenge that may come their way.

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