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Coyne Editorial

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 23/07/2000

Police involvement in football matches is too great

Sunday 27 November

Let the police officiate the match, and not interfere with games.

The ludicrous case with goalkeeper Danny Coyne this week has highlighted once again that there is too much police involvement in football matches these days.

Their duties in recent years have extended to:

  • decreeing what time matches can kick off in an attempt to cut down on alcohol consumption (which usually fails, in my experience).
  • extending the time that cup replays can take place from two to three days to nearly two weeks now.
  • advising that certain games should be for home fans only in an attempt to stop trouble during matches.
  • taking seriously what are usually malicious complaints from fans directed at opposition players (ironic considering all the abuse, racist and otherwise, that players habitually receive from fans of all shapes and sizes).

Not all of these are bad things, and some are clearly for the better.
But it shows how the police have slowly but gradually started to interfere with the game's infrastructure.

But now, in this case, the police are starting to interfere with the refereeing and what was once the FA's sole jurisdiction over the game.

The referee's decision (aided and abetted by his two assistants) is supposed to be final.
Even blatant errors picked up on Sky TV, or even the big screens present at games these days, cannot overrule that decision.

Very occasionally a serious error made by the referee gets rescinded after the game, but only in the case of yellow and red cards, never dodgy offside decisions or goals that shouldn't have been allowed, etc.

Even more occasionally a player is disciplined for something the referee has missed

But in this case we have two police officers abusing their authority and position in the way that no fan ever could.

How the FA could accept this rather dubious and anecdotal evidence weeks after the match is beyond belief, and just shows just how lame they can be.

If the police can abuse their powers to this extent, it will only be a matter of time before one of them is lured into some betting or match-fixing scandal.
The huge range of prices offered now by spread betting firms make it relatively easy to win a lot of money if you can interfere with events on and off the pitch.

Who knows, maybe the officers involved had had such a bet. It is very hard to understood their motivation for pursuing matters this far, other than a perverse joy in inflicting misery on others,

In future the police should keep out of football and stick to what they are supposed to do, which following the various disasters of the past, they do a reasonable job of, by and large.

Rob Sedgwick - Webmaster
The Fishy

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