League standards are going up, not referees': Cuadrat

Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat

Serious questions have been asked about the standards of refereeing in this edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). While some of the decisions have been poor, some have been downright absurd. Lambasting the poor quality of officiating on Thursday was Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat, who urged the ISL CEO Martin Bain to look into the issue, adding that the poor refereeing is downgrading the league.

The Spaniard was unhappy with some of the decisions made by referee John Crystal against FC Goa. The referee blew the final whistle with 30 seconds still left in the game. Although realising his mistake, he recalled the players including Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan, who had already left the pitch. Furthermore, as pointed out by the BFC coach, the match should have resumed with BFC on a corner kick as the last shot was deflected off a Goa player, instead of a goal kick to Sergio Lobera’s side.

“We see situations, for example, offside, the ball is coming from an opponent and the linesman flags that as offside. There are penalties given for situations that you cannot understand,” said Cuadrat at a pre-match press conference here. “If you try to be impartial, you cannot understand what is going on in the mind of the referee and the linesman. It is a very big problem because the standards (of the league) are going up but not the standards of referees. We see incredible situations that you cannot have in the top-level football,” he added.

“I don’t know if there is a budget to give them (referees) courses or if there is an opportunity to bring referees from abroad. It’s a big problem and it is affecting the competition. You have to be clinical. You cannot make such a decision. It lowers the standard of the Super League. This is something ISL CEO Martin (Bain) should look at and try to improve”

This is not the only instance. Previously, Chennaiyn FC coach John Gregory had lashed out at referee Pranjal Banerjee after their loss against Goa. Gregory was displeased with the referee’s decision to let the play go on instead of awarding a penalty to his side after Goa’s Seriton Fernandes had brought down Dragos Firtulesco inside the box.

On Sunday, BFC, who have yet to score a win, will face a new-looking Jamshedpur FC, who under coach Antonio Iriondo, have secured back-to-back victories. Cuadrat is expecting a tough battle at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. “They’ve been winning. They have a nice atmosphere in the stadium over there and their coach is very tactical. I have a lot of respect for him. He has been working for more than 20 years in different age categories in Spain. He’s successful in getting humble teams to top professional leagues.”

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