Keeping them honest: Giggs still hot over Nani red card; Is Brighton’s Ashley Barnes ‘trippin?

Our weekly column ‘Keeping them honest’ launches with its first installment. We hope you will come to enjoy this regular feature of news and notes on our beloved, soccer officials, referees and match officials…

Mark Clattenburg





The fallout over Nani’s controversial red card in last Wednesday’s Champions League game continues unabated.

On Sunday, Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs came out slamming the decision by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir in his team’s loss to Spanish giants Real Madrid was the biggest “shock” of his footballing career.

The incident took the soccer world by storm and also helped RedCardTheRef set a traffic record earlier this week with over 100 visitors in a 24 hour period.

It might be worth pointing out that  UEFA has come out in support of Cakir’s decision, leading to speculation that we may soon see him officiating in the semi-final round of the European club championship.

After all that Champions League drama there is nothing like a fresh refereeing controversy to sate our appetites!

From the I fought the law and the law won files: Brighton forward Ashley Barnes is facing a lengthy ban from the English FA after appearing to deliberately trip referee Nigel Miller during a English Champions League match against Brighton at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium.

This referee vigilante earned a straight red card for his actions and a reputation among referees that no player would want to have.

When his suspension is completed – likely sometime slightly before the FIFA executive’s buffet table freezes over - Barnes should be looking to play somewhere outside of England.

Out of Scotland in Saturday’s Edinburgh derby between Hearts and Hibernian – a disallowed goal has re-ignited the debate about goal-line technology and exposed yet another bad refereeing decision.

Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths’ brilliantly struck long-distance free kick struck the underside of the Hearts crossbar and bounced down well over the line, but the goal was not given.

The ball’s landed well inside the goal and Hibs players and coaching staff were stunned by the decision.

Griffiths approached the referee several times to enquire about the decision.

Hibs manager Pat Fenlon, clearly upset that the decision cost his team a valuable point in the SPL, emphasized his support for the technology telling The Guardian it was one area he would like to see change.

If that doesn’t grab your attention and convince you soccer match officials need constant scrutiny, a weekend blunder in Bundesliga action had an opposing coach, whose team benefited from a bad call, calling out the referee.

Mainz 05 skipper Thomas Tuchel said he no longer understood the interpretation of the handball rule after his side capitalized on a horrible hand ball call and resulting penalty in his team’s 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Some frightening news out of Lebanon earlier in the week where a second division referee is brutally attacked during a match. These incidents seem to pop up quite frequently on Youtube and other social media sites and expose the horror of the mob rule mentality when it really gets into gear.

This incident happened in a match between Al-Nahda and Al-Salam Zgharta but the blogger here rightly points out that as the mob begins to chase the referee, he outran them all.

In the following days referee Bachir Awasa announced admitted he “did not expect to geto out of [the situation] allive,” and he has decided to quit the game of soccer following his horrifying ordeal.

We hope all of this news hasn’t left you in a state of rage, shock or bewilderment! It is always nice to finish on a lighter note.

From the funny but true side of the game, there is good blog post by Jarrad Peters of Sportsnet on former Italian international Gennaro Gatuso and his appointment to the manager’s post at Swiss club FC Sion.  Apparently club owner Christian Constantin made the decision to hire Gatusso after the temperamental defensive midfielder grabbed the yellow card from the referees’ hand and presented it to another player during a match last year.

Without a doubt we will be back again soon to share some more special moments from the world of soccer in pursuit of our goal to keep ‘them’ honest.

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