Sunday, August 5, 2012

Get a grip

Another card happy Cambodian match official
Match referee Chi Samedy felt he had no choice but to flash his yellow card twice, quickly followed by his red card, at Kingsley Njoku, the Phnom Penh Crown striker on Saturday afternoon. But of course he did have a choice. Both cards were the result of slightly mistimed challenges by the striker, which is up for debate as to whether they were deserving of a yellow card for each. Strikers often get the rough end of the deal, especially the foreign ones, from referees. Defenders can clatter into the back of the forward, clip their heels, lead with their elbow, etc for the whole duration of the match and fail to be cautioned, but if a striker is a millisecond late with his tackle, out comes the card. The outrageous cheating displayed by many opponents in feigning injury obviously doesn't help, with this now becoming a disease throughout the C-League and is totally ignored by referees. Not having played the game themselves to any suitable standard, they are easy to con and the number of times a player has gone down, howling and rolling around clutching his leg and then immediately jumped up after the referee has flashed the card, is reaching record levels without a murmur from match officials.
Whilst I'm on about the officials, Cambodian referees are the only ones on the planet as far as I know that do not allow an incoming substitute to take his place on the field before restarting the game. We regularly see players defending set pieces, leave the field to be replaced, but before the incoming player can sprint the fifty yards to get into position, the referee blows for the restart and the team making the change is penalized. It's a ridiculous situation and one the federation's refereeing officials should put right.
On the subject of the disciplinary system in C-League football, I find the rules surrounding cautions and subsequent suspensions to be particularly harsh. For example, the clubs play just 18 league matches, however, if a player receives four yellow cards, he will miss three matches. It works like this. Once a player receives two separate yellow cards, he is suspended for the next match. If that same player picks up another two yellow cards in future matches, then the next suspension is increased to two matches. So that's three games lost in a season to four yellow cards. The way the C-League referees flash the yellow cards, quite rightly referred to recently as "confetti" by Crown head coach David Booth, then clubs are severely affected by the absence of key players. I believe the number of yellow cards before a 1-match suspension is handed down should be increased to three. At this time, with two matches left to play, there are no less than nine Phnom Penh Crown players, who if they are booked in the next game, will miss the following match through suspension.

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