It is only fair to say from the outset that if you are not interested in the way we fans are involved in the running of our favourite sport, and the idiosyncrasies of referees — do not read on!
We have from time to time on AA discussed refereeing inconsistencies with heated debate frequently ensuing and the antics of the officials this week end should make them hang their heads in shame.
For the most part, reasoned and mature debate is the default setting on this venerable blog site and all manner of opinion is tolerated and aired to prove or disprove points of view.
But why do we depend on expressing our opinions to justify our individual views, or to prove a point, however dubious, and what is the value of an opinion anyway?
Well opinions do have substantial value, in the right context, but let’s be candid, we are only really interested in those opinions that please us, by which we mean agrees with our own views, and sod the ‘value’.
Does that mean we do not value the potential worth of constructive criticism? Not necessarily, because opinions can have a much wider impact and importance.
It is important to note here that not all fans have the same value judgments, and that some fans can treat opposing opinions rather more roughly than is really necessary.
It is a truism that some of us may struggle with what value to attach to an opinion that contradicts our own biased stance. This notion is important to resolve, but in any event it should be a matter of pride that our opinions are essentially the bedrock of civilisation in ways we do not always immediately recognise.
Take statute Law. In the UK this is Law passed by the elected members of Parliament and this, together with Laws passed in other Countries are a fundamental necessity for the smooth running of this and every other civilised society.
This form of Law is normally committed to writing, to avoid misunderstanding , and in and of itself is pure, in so far as language can make it so.
Unfortunately, problems can still arise because of verbal or written ambiguity which is endemic in all languages, not least English, especially where it involves definitions governing the practical application of Law upon society.
Ambiguity inevitably leads to hypocrisy as an inevitable consequence of allowing an opportunity for ‘interpretation’ of meaning by those in a position of power.
As a result, the Law can be seen to bend itself to those in power like the branches of a tree flinch in a high wind, and precisely how the law is interpreted and applied depends on the whims of those in power which, in turn, results in the Law becoming twisted and perverse.
Now that leads us back to an inevitable conclusion that laws are, at base, just a set of formalised opinions, approved by the electorate.
This means that the Law should be formalised as the result of the informed opinions of the electorate for the proper and ‘peaceful’ governance of society, or, for that matter, of any other institution which implements laws or rules to ensure strong and impartial governance of its members.
There are those who will contest the use of the word ‘peaceful’ in this context, as many will view the imposition of the Law as having, at its core, the subjugation of those without power who are unable to introduce or amend the Laws which govern them except through the offices of those in authority.
Others will say this is not so, and that the introduction or maintenance of Laws, or rules, are necessary for the mitigation of damages or the decreeing and enforcement of punishments for anti-social behaviour.
OK, let us stop for a moment and consider what we have discussed, so far.
Opinions do have intrinsic value in arriving at a system of Law that helps govern society, and also the rules for the administration of institutions. These Laws then impose the rules that govern acceptable behaviour in society at large, or the judicial operation of institutions and other authoritative bodies.
As a natural fallout from this, there is an implied need to protect every individual within society, and the members of institutions, from harm, both physical and mental.
My personal concerns over this whole subject is that, in practise, Laws can sometimes be seen to decide which forms of oppression are allowed, and because man made laws are subject to those in power, and oppression then becomes a right for them over those who have little or no power.
That might seem to be an overtly political point of view, but it has a direct correlation to football, and how it is run, and that is the only matter under discussion here.
The governance of football, whether from its highest authority, FIFA, or its application by one of its incumbent bodies, UEFA or the Premier League, and through them the referees body PGMOL, is in effect a form of oppressive authoritarianism, and its intent is to protect their own dominance by manipulating the power of member clubs and to impose rules on the game and on the conduct of the players, all of which, in the final analysis, directly affects us, the fans, and we have no say whatsoever in this process, other than to voice our concerns in forums such as this.
To keep this state of affairs in a sustainably stable and rigidly enforceable grip, one of the first tasks of FIFA and the other authorities has been to belittle the views or opinions of those, like you, who disagree with their manipulation of the beautiful game, (take the award of the World Cup venues for example) and they have succeeded to a great degree in doing so because those of us who seek another way to run the game are usually either unwilling or unable to articulate those views for fear of being mocked for expressing them.
That then is the rub.
For those few who do stand up to be counted often take umbrage at being ridiculed for lacking in perspicacity or acumen only gives an excuse for the massed ranks of the authorities to descend en masse to ritually and publicly humiliate and annihilate the disaffected ‘fools’ as we are seen, and thereby re-establish their control and authority, which, of course, is intended to protect their own vested interests, of which the primary one is the powerful assertion of absolute oppression, by the application of their laws and the elimination of any dissension.
None the less, the expression of our opinions on public forums such as AA is a necessary first step to ensure that the footballing authorities in this country, and elsewhere, are made aware of our concerns and the need for what we see as the beneficial and transparent application of just rules.
Keep blogging, keep your opinions forthright, keep on keeping on!
Written by RA (Red Arse)