The Week Column - Chairman steps up but won't be heard

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed unveils a statue in tribute to Michael Jackson prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Blackpool at Craven Cottage on April 3, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The world of English football is a strange one. It's full of complexities and convoluted rules and yet, despite these, it is portrayed as a somewhat shoddy establishment, incapable of sensible judgement and, at times, sensible refereeing. The problem has always been, however, that when these illogical judgments are made and when illogical referees are witnessed, there is no means for complaint. If you do, you contravene the rules.

As such, from where do we source progression? Where and when do these mistakes get, if not punished, but at a minimum, recognised? The media do a fine job but the F.A have the uncanny ability to swipe them away, like a mere fly on their shoulder. Managers often try, but rather than having the other side listen, perhaps even take notice, they fine, condemn and bemoan. How irritating.

Maybe someone eccentric is needed to step forward. Maybe someone who likes the odd outlandish shirt, and, just in passing, places a Michael Jackson statue at the ground of his favourite football club. Yes, Mohamed Al Fayed. And he already has.

His statement was quite succinct and, in quite palpable parts, blatantly bias, but it didn't fail to hide his most agreeable point. Refereeing in the Premier League has always been casually concerning but over the past few weeks the phenomenon of unsanctioned mistakes has blown out of all comprehensible proportion and something, we all have to admit, must be done.

On Fulham's part, there is the penalty that never was at home to Manchester United under a month ago. United midfielder Michael Carrick undoubtedly caught Danny Murphy on his penetrating run into the box but nothing was given. It was therefore a point not won, as the game was lost 1-0, and while the consequences were not great for Martin Jol's side, the story is different for the likes of Wigan Athletic, who deserved a point, if not three, against Chelsea after two poor offside decisions. They are fighting relegation, doggedly, but while they do everything within their will to avoid demotion, nothing can be done about poor refereeing. The money they will lose were they to go down is impossible to authentically predict, but it usually stretches beyond £50 million. £50 million, lost, because there is no way to correct errors? Stupidly unfair.

Some say that the bad decisions average out over a campaign and that, come season's end, you've had your advantages and your disadvantages and we're all the same for it. Even so - and I, to no extent, believe that idea is true - need it be necessary? Why can't it be right first time? Why must English football, one of the most heavily funded, supported and followed leagues in all of sport, rely on the law of averages to dish out the fairness? The men in suits, often so keen to promote equality, should be doing that.

Al Fayed, though, will not be heard. "We need brave pioneers," he said, but we have none of those. "It is time for the Premier League to wake up," he said, but they'll just keep snoozing. "Advanced technology is available," he suggested, but it seems only he, and everyone else outside of football, knows of this.

As such, the clock will just keep ticking and nothing will be changed. His statement will pass, perhaps with an intangible amount of hype to surround it, but no-one worthy will react. Clubs will be relegated and they could rightfully blame some trivial refereeing decisions, but they won't, because the scenario just worsens.

At least our chairman has stepped up, though, because it had to be done. All we can hope now is that Fulham FC won't be fined for his actions. Yet I wouldn't put it past them.

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