Former FIFA assistant referee Dave Meier conveys his views on two contentious issues which occurred in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division recently.
Over the years, it has amused me as to how football matters get dealt with in the media. I know reporters have their jobs to do, but sometimes it can become farcical, and the need for a story can get in the way of the truth. The amount of times I have heard so-called top football pundits calling things wrong beggars belief.
I would like to focus on two issues that have happened in the past few weeks in the SSE Airtricity League, and try to bring a bit of clarity to what I see as terrible reporting. The two incidents I am talking about are the ones involving a pitch inspection in Richmond Park, and a photograph of a Drogheda player’s stomach after the game against Cork in Turner’s Cross. Let me lay out my observations below.
The first issue I have to address is the postponement of the recent St. Pat’s versus Shamrock Rovers game in Richmond Park. The photographs I have seen showing the condition of the playing surface on the night would have led you to believe the ground should have been called Richmond Pool instead.
Anybody who was in the ground that night could quite clearly see that the pitch was unplayable. What amazed and annoyed me was the reporting of the whole issue. Tony O’Donoghue took great effort to make a story where there was none. His main complaint was that referee David McKeon left it very late to call the game off.
Well let me clear something up for RTÉ. When there is adverse weather about, it is up to the home club to call in the officials if there is a need for a pitch inspection. On the night in question, Pat’s made no contact with the official and he arrived at his usual time.
The allotted time is one and a half hours before kick-off. So on the night, the officials were spot on and carried out their job in a professional manner – calling off the match once they had carried out a pitch inspection.
As I always say, refereeing is a very, very hard job to do, and sometimes the media not knowing the facts and protocol can cause the men in the middle huge issues. It is about time that if there is no story to report, then just turn off your microphone and do not try and make a story to suit your needs.
Issue two is one that really got me chuckling. A photograph has appeared on social media of Drogheda manager John McDonnell rolling out one of his players in front of the media to show them a so-called ball mark on the lad’s torso. The player in question was Alan Byrne, who had been sent off for handling the ball in the game against Cork in Turner’s Cross.
Now, I’m not defending a refereeing decision as I was not at the game, but it was desperate to see the Drogheda manager take this action. I saw the photograph, and to be honest, I do agree that the lad had a red mark on his body, but that could have happened at anytime before, during or after the game. It smells of desperation when a manager makes these decisions, in my opinion.
Life in the league is tough for everyone, including managers, coaches, players and, yes, the media, but would it not be a lot better if we all got moving in the one direction and stopped the one-upmanship?
So until the next time, enjoy your football and best of luck to your team and, I hope, my team, the third one on the pitch.
Dave Meier, Pundit Arena