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"WHAT IS WRONG WITH FOOTBALL AT GAN?"
Gan Island Post 12th December 1964
I am deliberately not reporting the matches played this week, despite the two brilliant victories of the Equip/Pol
team by 12-0 and 9-0, to enable me to air my views on the above subject, and let me emphasize that they are
my views alone.

In more than twenty five years of watching and playing football, I've seen schoolboy matches, all grades of
amateur football, professional football from the small league matches to International contests and even on
one occasion the traditional New Year' s day Rangers/Celtic match. I think it's fair to say that I'm a lover of
football, as I'm sure are quite a few other people here at Gun, which is why I am writing this article. Quite frankly
I have reached the stage when, unless things Improve rapidly, I just won't want to watch another football match
while I'm at Gan.

Players and teams warned
Let us look at the record of events during the past week. One player suspended for two league games after
being sent off for swearing at the referee, another player suspended for seven days after being sent off for
adopting a threatening attitude towards a player of the opposing side and yet another still awaiting a hearing
after being sent off for swearing. In addition two Sections on the Station have had to be warned regarding the
behaviour of football spectators, from their ranks, at football matches. I repeat, what is wrong with football
here at Gan?
Referees - Spectators - Dirty Play
I'm sure you've all got your own ideas, in fact talking to players, referees and spectators, as I do, on football
matters, I've probably heard most of them anyway, but let us examine them and see if there is any remedy.
Possibly the most common complaint from the players is the one levelled against the Maldivian teams, alleging
dirty play. One team actually refused to play against them for this reason. Running the Maldivian teams a very
close second as the subjects of complaints are the referees, spectators having quite a lot to say about them too.
The referees themselves get in on the act too, their main complaint being the bad language used by players
and spectators alike. There then are the main complaints, now what about the remedy?
You may have noticed that so far in this article I have refrained from calling football a game, I think this is
the crux of the problem, too many of us here at Gan seem to have forgotten that 'that's what football is, just a
game, nothing more, nothing less, a game to be enjoyed by players and spectators alike.
Complaints Examined
Regarding the complaints levelled against the Maldivian teams, I am convinced that their crime is nothing
more than one of over enthusiasm on one hand and lack of knowledge of the laws of the game on the other.
They cannot be blamed for the former and if blame lies with anyone for the latter surely it is with us for not
teaching them properly. Surely one or two of our more experienced players could spare a little time to show
them what sort of tackle is permitted and what isn't, What constitutes obstruction and what doesn't' t. I know
the Maldivians themselves are only too eager to learn.
More referees needed
Now for the complaints about the referees. We have five people, and five only, willing to referee games; four
of these five are "shiftworkers" two are associated with the Fire/Army team, two with the Commcen and one
with Cat/MCS, so as you can see, appointing a referee who is not associated with one or other of the teams
that are playing and who is also not on duty, is quite a problem. Consequently it is not unusual for a referee to
be appointed to control two, sometimes three, games a week, we do therefore see quite a lot of our referees.
Once again the remedy lies in our own hands.
Personally I should like to see a panel of at least twelve referees, controlling one game each a fortnight. This
means at least seven more volunteers, so how about it? I'm thinking in particular of WO's and NCO's
whose playing days are over. Complaints about the existing referees being biased I regard as being completely
ridiculous. I'll give you a couple of examples. At the end of one game this week a spectator told me he thought
the referee was biased in favour of the Maldivian team, five minutes later yet another spectator complained that
he thought the referee (the same referee) was biased against the Maldivian team. Need I say the opinion I
formed as to who, exactly, was biased? At the end of another match a team captain, who, on this occasion was
just a spectator, told me that he didn't want a certain referee to control his matches, the next day a member
of the same team told me that in his opinion that particular referee was the best on the island. I honestly and
sincerely believe that none of our referees are biased, they control each and every game exactly as they see it.
I won't claim that they are perfect, but then who is, I won't claim they don't make mistakes, but then who
doesn't, I do claim that they do their best at all times and I challenge anyone to do better. If I may be allowed
to make one criticism of the referees, it is that it is far too easy for anyone in their position to become dictatorial,
making it a contest between the referee on one side and the two teams on the other. For the good of the game,
and once again I emphasize the word game, they should try to avoid this. A friendly word in an offender's ear
sometimes has much more effect than sending him off the field.

 

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