Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fair Play: A blackeye for Cebu referees

FOOTBALL referees, because of the nature of their job, need protection from the CFA, and incidents of violence in the past shouldn't be ignored by the new CFA board.

It wasn't near the same level of violence reported a couple of years ago--when a center referee—was punched, but that case involving Archie Reyes and Lito Ramos is an unfortunate one that deserves a probe.  Reyes was the assistant referee for the next game, while Lito, a match assessor who supervises Reyes, was there as a fan and supporter of UC, coached by his brother.

I think Lito's statement, "Nabata-an siguro sya (Archie) nako," speaks volumes.  Lito was already a veteran center referee when I first covered football in 1997, while Archie is one of the newest batch of officials who get also assigned to PFF events.

Referees in Cebu are a fractured bunch, there has always been a faction between the current CFA refs, or those overlooked by the CFA--which was true in previous admins.

The current admin is doing away with that, ignoring factions and inviting all refs to be aligned with the CFA.

I’ve talked with Engr. Rodney Orale a few times, and the referees’ committee chairman has a lot of plans for the CFA pool of referees.  I hope this won’t derail that.

Now, doing everything to protect their own, of course, doesn't include overlooking botched calls, which is what led to the incident in the first place, when Luis Arriesgado bungled a penalty call between UC and USJ-R.

It is unfortunate that the assistant ref and the fourth official in that match weren't able to correct Luis, who Archie told me, admitted his mistake.

His mistake now means USPF, which is last in the Cesafi with one point in three matches, now has a chance to sneak in to the final four and dislodged UC.  USPF needs to beat USC by four goals next Sunday, to finish with four points and take fourth place by just one goal over UC, which has four points and an even goal difference.

That’s how crucial that call was.

Because it’s now played at the CCSC anew, Cesafi football has attracted quite a following this season, instead of sparse crowd of previous years at the Aboitiz Sports Field.

It is unfortunate that an incident involving officials—not players, coaches—will foil it.

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