Nigel Owens is one of the most recognisable officials in world rugby. However, the Welshman also has some strong opinions about the state of modern football.
Owens has a column on the World Cup with Wales Online and unsurprisingly, he has some interesting insights into how he feels the beautiful game should be refereed.
"But just imagine how much even more beautiful the game would be if FIFA stamped out the play-acting, the diving, the conning, the running around to surround referees."
The rugby referee cited incidents such as Thomas Muller’s dive that earned Germany a penalty against Portugal, as an example of decisions that are ruining the sport. Owens offered a radical solution to correct this problem.
"Ban players who have clearly dived for a penalty and you would quickly get them taking a different course of action. In other words, cutting it out."
Owens also implored FIFA to help officials in football for controversial instances where a wrong decision was made by a referee. He suggested the introduction of a retrospective citing system, similar to the one that’s in place in rugby.
Was it really a penalty? Could the offensive player have kept on his feet? Was it a dive?
This is where referees need help and that has to come from FIFA. The result would still stand, but if there is a particularly controversial incident let a citing officer make a judgement.”
After declaring his awe for diving headers, describing how enjoyed goals scored by Robin Van Persie and Oscar Duarte in this way, Owens went on to reveal his annoyance at TV pundits.
If something does annoy me, it’s TV pundits telling viewers the ref has got it wrong, when they haven’t. The pundits, of course, have the benefit of watching an incident three or four times in slow motion.
The referee has to make a snap judgement. Even then, the letter of the law means the referee he has made the correct call. But because a TV pundit tells everyone he has got it wrong, people assume that’s the case.
He ended on a sympathetic note for his football counterparts.
“Let’s give the officials a little more latitude.”
Hat tip: Wales Online