Why is Turk­ish foot­ball so ob­sessed with ref­er­ees?

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

Atrend­ing topic right now deals with usual scape­goats of Turk­ish foot­ball - and the only ones who are never able to speak up for them­selves: Ref­er­ees. I do not know whether there is any other coun­try where peo­ple dis­cuss ref­er­ees more than they dis­cuss foot­ball it­self. Yes, ev­ery ref­eree is dis­puted from time to time, but in no place other than Tur­key there is such sys­tem­atic stig­ma­tiz­ing of ref­er­ees - at least not to my knowl­edge. Then the ques­tion is why does Turk­ish foot­ball love ha­rass­ing ref­er­ees this much?

To un­der­stand the mat­ter bet­ter, we should talk about the peo­ple who are to blame, not the peo­ple who are be­ing blamed. It is usu­ally not the coaches or play­ers who you usu­ally see in af­ter-game shows, com­plain­ing about the ref­er­ees in other coun­tries. In Tur­key, the usual sus­pects of ref­eree blam­ing are foot­ball ex­ec­u­tives. They are the ones claim­ing that ref­er­ees steal their team’s hard work, or there is a con­spir­acy against their club done by some mys­te­ri­ous forces. What they get in re­turn is a fan base full of ha­tred for the ref­er­ees, while for­get­ting the poor man­age­ment of their team.

The ex­ec­u­tives that run foot­ball clubs in Tur­key are not pro­fes­sion­als, they do not come to the top po­si­tions in clubs with an im­pres­sive back­ground in foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tion. They are sim­ply rich peo­ple who like foot­ball, think­ing that they know foot­ball and the foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tion very well. Do not get me wrong, it is not only in Tur­key that peo­ple with no foot­ball back­ground buy or run clubs, but there are also lots of big clubs like that in Europe as well. But the dif­fer­ence is that in Tur­key, real pro­fes­sion­als who pos­sess the knowl­edge and the skill to run a club are un­der­mined by these ex­ec­u­tives. Thus, most clubs in Tur­key are ad­min­is­tered poorly.

I think you can guess where this poor ad­min­is­tra­tion leads to - a poor fi­nan­cial sta­tus. Hav­ing a poor fi­nan­cial sta­tus was not a big deal for Turk­ish clubs until Fi­nan­cial Fair Play kicked in since reg­u­la­tions in Tur­key do not hold in­di­vid­u­als re­spon­si­ble for a club’s fi­nan­cial sta­tus. For ex­am­ple, if you run a club for four years, spend all the money on trans­fers and leave the club full of debt af­ter­ward, then you are not re­spon­si­ble for the debt. But with Fi­nan­cial Fair Play and wors­en­ing con­di­tions, they can­not make “sen­sa­tional” trans­fers to com­pen­sate for the poor ad­min­is­tra­tion. There­fore, a poor fi­nan­cial sta­tus now di­rectly leads to poor re­sults.

At that point, with no hope in sight, there is but one group of peo­ple ex­ec­u­tives can blame to dis­tract fans: Ref­er­ees. As if a game is not 90 min­utes and there are not many op­por­tu­ni­ties, ex­ec­u­tives se­lect a po­si­tion where the ref­eree of the game made a wrong de­ci­sion and claim that there is a con­spir­acy against them. Why fans so will­ingly ac­cept these claims as valid is an­other topic but since fans agree with the ex­ec­u­tives, the prob­lem is still there. The only so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is to have stricter reg­u­la­tions and more trans­parency so that no one can eas­ily blame ref­er­ees of con­spir­ing against them with­out any proof.

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