Breeze calls for increased funding Print E-mail
Written by TheWorldGame   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 16:18

Ex A-League referee Matthew Breeze called on Football Federation Australia (FFA) to increase funding for match officials as whistle blowers come under pressure amid a raft of controversial decisions this season.

The independent Match Review Panel’s (MRP) decision on Monday to rescind the red card shown to Brisbane Roar midfielder Thomas Broich by the inexperienced Brenton Hayward against Newcastle is the latest of a number of incidents that have called into question the standard of officiating.

Two-time Grand Final referee Breeze, who quit the A-League last year to concentrate on a career as a barrister, believes until FFA makes the position of director of referees a full time role it leaves itself open to criticism for not doing enough to improve the performance levels of its officials.

“It says a lot that around two years ago the full-time position of director of referees was made redundant and Gary Power was dispensed with,” said Breeze, a veteran of two Confederations Cup tournaments.

“It’s true that Mark Shield and now Ben Wilson have stepped in on a part-time basis. But this is a full time position and FFA needs to recognise that and give the role the resources it demands.

“You saw with Mark Shield that it all became a bit much and he left after a relatively short time back in August to take up a full time job in the corporate world.

“Referees are a hugely important part of the A-League. If you ask fans what the two or three things they would like to see change about the competition are, the quality of the officiating tends to be up there in their minds.

“It seems as though referees just don’t get the sort of training that they need to continue lifting the standards.

“Are they as good or as bad as they have ever been is not the question. It’s more a case of some of the younger guys being given a go and they need on-going scrutiny and help in their roles, Ben Wilson is doing a good job under difficult circumstances.

“He has a full time job outside football though and that is far from ideal. It’s like having the national team coach watching a few videos a couple of times a week and basing his team selections on them alone.

“I am not necessarily calling for full time professional referees as they have in the English Premier League for example, but there needs to be a professionalisation of referees and they operate.”

Breeze, who came under fire for his dismissal of Adelaide striker Cristiano in the 2009 grand final after Cristiano’s arm made contact with Melbourne Victory defender Roddy Vargas, said education for referees needs to improve.

“I am not saying that standards have slipped but the reality is that after the end of year eight of the A-League myself and Mark Shield sat down with the people in charge and said that we needed better coaching for referees,” he said.

“I understand that there is only a certain amount of money available but when you get fans calling for change on a consistent basis you know something needs to be done.

“Group meetings, individual coaching, one-on-one training, performance review – they all need to be introduced.

“To have good, reliable referees makes for the best spectacle possible, whether at A-League or grassroots level. Crap referees make for crap games and people aren’t happy.

“In Australia we punch above our weight on the world stage in terms of the quality of our referees. But most have full-time jobs and just don’t have the time to reflect on their performances.

“Everybody is looking for consistency with decision-making but unless the whole process if funded to a better level that may be hard to achieve.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 16:32