Transparency is a word that is being used with increasing frequency latelyfrom the politicians of Great Britain to the organisers and teams of the Formula One World Championship.
Every institution, no matter what its role in the world, needs to be transparent in everything it does. Because whether it be a government, regulatory body, or a company offering a product, it is responsible to only one person, the consumer.
UEFA is probably the best current example of a football organisation not honouring this commitment.
Chelsea have decided to appeal against the lengthy bans served upon striker Didier Drogba and defender Jose Bosingwa, as well as a fine imposed on the club, following the fallout from last season’s Champions League Semifinal defeat to Barcelona, in which the referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, failed to give several blatant Chelsea penalties.
Well done to Chelsea for coming to this decision. It is only hoped that they may be successful in correcting such an injusticealthough it doesn’t seem likely that the bans will be rescinded or that the fine will be dropped.
While the behaviour of Drogba and Bosingwa and many of the other Chelsea players toward the referee at the full time whistle must not be condoned, it is also very understandable.
Referees are given far too much protection by football’s governing bodies—how else could the players or team management make their views clear?
They can’t chastise the match officials in the media because that would be considered to bring the game into disrepute.
The only other option is to write a letter of complaint to UEFA, but what would be the chance that it would be read, let alone responded too.
Players and managers are being punished for remarks made about poor refereeing performances, but the men-in-the-middle are never punished severely, nor do they have to explain their actions to anyone apart from their bosses, who will just give them a slap on the wrist and say they are doing a good job in a hard profession.
In an age when communication is almost instantaneous, it would be easy for a referee to explain his or her actions and, if necessary, hold their hands up to making a mistake; after all, they are only human like the rest of us and people would probably be more understanding.
Basically, the rules governing the ability for managers or players to comment on the performance of match officials is far too strict.
While the average fan can say pretty much whatever they like, and the media can cry fair comment, those who work in professional football have less human rights than the rest of us.
If UEFA is to properly represent the needs of the federations in Europe it must be seen to be more transparent, the bedrock of all justice systems is that justice must be done and seen to be done.
Everyone in footballfrom UEFA President Michel Platini to the referee at Stamford Bridge that night have a responsibility to one people: the fans.
It is up to them to ensure that the beautiful game remains just thatnot the cloak and dagger affair it currently is.