"You cannot be serious!" - Lecce's Juan Cuadrado

Too often we see players go down easily in the box. It’s pointless to wring our hands in disgust when it happens, the practice is widely taught at most of the finest football school’s in the world. Rather than scold the players, which is pretty useless in the grand scheme of things, our vitriol should be directed towards the officials who reward the actors for their shameless antics.

Being a football referee is not easy. I was terrified during and after my one and only appearance as the future Howard Webb. And the players were 10 years old. However, too often match officials make their jobs more difficult than needed. For your latest example we take you to Norway’s fifth division and a game between Sandved and Ild.

Reuters Phillip O’Connor has the bizarre details:

A player in the Norwegian fifth division has been sent off for protesting against being awarded a penalty.
Talat Abunima was playing for Sandved against Ild when he went down in the box.”I went past an Ild player and then tripped over my own feet. It was unbelievably clumsy of me and when the referee pointed to the spot I felt I had to speak out,” Abunima told local newspaper Sandnesposten. Referee Nedzad Munjic disagreed, telling news website VG Nett (www.vg.no): “It was a clear penalty. The player got it all wrong – I don’t think the players know the rules properly. And when I’ve blown the whistle, I can’t change my mind.” Munjic first gave Abunima a yellow card for protesting and when the 36-year-old continued to argue against the decision to award him a spot kick, he was sent off.

It seems Mr. Munjic didn’t know the rules either. The head of the Norwegian Referees’ Association said he could have changed his mind. Unfortunately the rest of his actions, including that post match rant, screamed of pettiness. Talat Abunima tried to do the right thing and it resulted in his banishment from the match. It makes zero sense.

Up 3-1, Sandved’s player-coach Oyvind Svenning missed the penalty on purpose. Ild then took a player off to even the sides at 10 for each team – a truly heartwarming gesture. What followed reminds us that doing good things is a terrible idea. Embrace your inner Murdoch.

During the closing moments of the match Munjic awarded two penalties to Ild. They converted both and tied the game. Unsurprisingly, the referee drew heated criticism from Sandved’s players. Criticism that he couldn’t fathom:

“I don’t really understand that. First he shoots wide on purpose, then he complains when the other team scores. It’s hopeless.”

They aren’t the hopeless one’s, Nedzad.

Comments (6)

  1. Even if it blows up in their faces, it’s nice to see that there are decent footballers in the world with dignity.

  2. This incident is so crazy I’m surprised it didn’t happen in the Serie A first.

  3. At least sport spirit is still existing on Earth.

  4. the ref is 100% right here.i’m sorry.

    your playing football!
    all you have to do is obey and respect the ref.

    bad calls happen.thats part of the game.

    from my own experience as a player i can tell you that shit always hits the fan when you start insulting the ref.

    just stay calm,tell him why he is wrong,but accept his decision .
    the next time he’s gonna be more sympathetic to you and your team.

    i always try to tell that to my teamates but they just don’t get it.

    first,why are you arguing to cancel a penalty??
    second why are complaining to the point of getting 2 yellow cards!just shut up after the first one!!
    finally all of this ridiculous theatrics of missing the shot and taking off a player.
    thats you trying to stick it to the ref.hes not gonna like that.
    thats just human nature

    refs are guys who love this sport,wanna get paid while working in the field they like ,and they get abused day in and day out like police officers!!
    i’m sick of hearing analysts in EVERY sport nowadays ,come out the next day afer a game and spend half time yapping about how the refs are awfull and need to get lynched!

    football today started doing that for a while too
    they even had old ref(dermott or mcdermott something) come weekly to defend or explain the refs behaviour!

    • I don’t know if the Ref was 100% in the right, but I do agree to some extent with you.

      If you feel that you don’t deserve the penalty you’ve been given then just miss it. I mean, that’s what eventually happened, they purposely missed the penalty. Maybe complain a bit, if the ref doesn’t change his mind then make sure you miss. Then it’s done and over, ref can’t really force you to score afterall, and you can move on with 11men.

    • the player took a stand. the player was right. he was doing the honourable thing. and the ref disrespected him (and also falsely said he couldn’t change his mind about the penalty). if i were the player i’d do the same thing.

      far too often you see arrogant refs who refuse to use common sense, partly because they’re naturally arrogant and partly because if you show indecision or weakness the rest of the players will abuse you. but there are some decisions that need to be thought through before making the final decision, and that’s where common sense comes in. he failed to use common sense this time.

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