Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Fair refereeing is essential to hold a successful football event, however, the Pakistan Premier Football League has always been found lacking in this regard.
There are several reasons afflicting this vital faculty. Ask former FIFA referee Ahmed Jan and he will tell you what is wrong with the standard of football referees in Pakistan.
“Majority of our referees are not aware of the technicalities of refereeing. We have seen them dishing out numerous yellow and red cards in the Premier League matches. A referee should have good control over the match and he is the man responsible for keeping the smooth flow in the game,” Ahmed Jan told ‘The News’ in an interview here on Monday.
“The fitness levels of the referees should be of a high standard. In Pakistan, these days, unfit referees, after passing through a light physical test, are given clearance to supervise top league games. Instead, there should be a comprehensive physical test along with the medical test and unless a referee does fulfill the criteria of fitness, he should not be given a clearance,” he pointed out.
“When Hafiz Salman Butt was serving as the PFF secretary, he used to hold a camp of referees for about two to three months and only physically fit referees in the end were given the chance to supervise the matches in any national event,” he recalled.
“When a referee is not physically fit, he makes blunders during the match.
“Majority of our national referees don’t have the decisive power which is a vital element for a successful football referee.
“Low salaries are also badly affecting the performance of our referees. They should not only be paid smartly but the out-station referees should also be given separate accommodation along with food facilities. In case any referee avails of the accommodation of a team featuring in the event, he will definitely be influenced and will support the same team which provides him accommodation.
“Security is another issue. A referee will only be able to give good decisions if he is sure that he is safe. If he makes a controversial decision, he will feel safe if he is provided proper security. But here a venue is normally cleared for a Premier League match while sidelining the security arrangements which is wrong.
“If the PFF wants to make the season productive it should properly look into all these aspects which normally affect the standard of refereeing.”
But the PFF Manager Referees Qazi Asif does not think so and is optimistic that this time the refereeing standard will be much better.
“As I am now working as PFF Manager Referees, I am trying my level best to get the best out of my referees. We plan to conduct a physical fitness test for referees on July 4 in Karachi which will be attended by around 18 referees. Only fully-fit referees will be given clearance for the prime league. And if any one was found guilty of poor refereeing in any match, he will be punished,” Qazi Asif told ‘The News’ on Monday.
The first phase of the 240-match Premier League will start simultaneously at Quetta and Karachi on July 5.