EARLY VISIT: Santa Claus with Chelsea mascots Stamford the Lion and Bridget the Lioness at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
EARLY VISIT: Santa Claus with Chelsea mascots Stamford the Lion and Bridget the Lioness at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

A-League's great barrier ref leaves us all frustrated

NOT HAPPY: Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold feels he’s been gagged by the FFA when it comes to making comment on refereeing decisions such as those by Stebre Delovski.
NOT HAPPY: Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold feels he’s been gagged by the FFA when it comes to making comment on refereeing decisions such as those by Stebre Delovski.

I DON'T know about anyone else, but I love a good rant from a coach or a manager. In fact, the bigger the rant the better.

If a coach vents his spleen after a loss or a poor refereeing decision, then I say good on him because to me as a fan that shows he cares about what happens to his team.

Refereeing decisions can cost sides games and in some cases can end up getting managers or coaches the sack.

That's why I believe people like Graham Arnold or Jose Mourinho, who some would say are the two biggest whingers in Australian and English football, should have the right to complain if they believe referees have got decisions wrong.

At the end of the day, coaches would not be doing their job if they did not question why officials made certain decisions.

Now, obviously I would not and do not condone personal attacks on referees, but with the game played for such high stakes these day, I do think officials should be made more accountable.

I am not saying press conferences should become a moan fest. Far from it, but why shouldn't Arnold have the right to question why a referee has made a certain call during a game without the fear of getting reprimanded or even fined by Football Federation Australia.

Let's not forget in Australia we now have three professional referees in Chris Beath, Jarred Gillett and Ben Williams.

And while Stebre Delovski is not a full-time official, he should be made accountable for his decisions and Arnold, or any coach for that matter, should be allowed to question those without fear of reprisal.

I have looked at the penalty Delovski awarded in Sydney FC's loss to Adelaide on Friday night a few times and I still cannot see a foul.

Others might think differently, and that's fine.

But football is a game of opinions and that is why Arnold should be allowed to voice his.

He should not be forced into only making a statement before walking out of a press conference as he did following the loss to the Reds.

And this is not the first time this has happened. Last month Arnold sent assistant coach Steve Corica to a post-match press conference following a foul-laden goalless draw against Wellington Phoenix.

"It's better that I don't say anything because last year when I said something I copped (a) $5000 (fine)," Arnold said in a statement on Friday, before walking out of the press conference.

"You're not allowed to have an opinion in this game."

Arnold, and any other A-League coach for that matter, should be allowed to voice that opinion as long as they don't overstep the mark when it comes to referees.



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