The Local Game: Quyết is taking his medicine, so should Hà Nội

April 25, 2023 - 08:48
In football leagues the world over, players and coaches are treating the men and women in the middle with more and more disdain.
Nguyễn Văn Quyết receives his marching orders post-match. — Photo

Peter Cowan

At the risk of sounding like (God forbid) a rugby fan, what happened to respect for referees?

In football leagues the world over, players and coaches are treating the men and women in the middle with more and more disdain.

Whether it’s ganging up on a referee to shout at him or even physically touching the official, it seems like there’s a new incident every week.

What’s worse for me though is it doesn’t feel like fans or the media are united in condemning such behaviour.

When Fulham FC striker Aleksandar Mitrovic was suspended for eight matches for pushing a referee, the guests on one of my favourite football podcasts actually debated if the suspension was too harsh!

This pandemic of petulance has also made its way to Việt Nam and sadly one of the country’s best players has disgraced himself.

Hà Nội FC captain and reigning Golden Ball award-winner Nguyễn Văn Quyết has also been slapped with an eight-match ban after allegedly elbowing an assistant referee in the chest.

Hà Nội lost 3-1 to Bình Định FC last week and it seems Quyết had a heated exchange with the official in question after the final whistle and received a red card.

Unfortunately, the TV cameras failed to capture the incident so we’re only left to go on the refereeing team’s word as to what happened.

While I am skeptical about whether the linesman in question suffered “breathing difficulties” as some reports have said, on the whole it seems like a pretty cut and dry incident.

You lay hands on an official in anything even approaching an aggressive manner and a hefty suspension is justified in my book.

The games can’t be played without referees and they can’t be played if referees are in danger, so strong punishments as a deterrent make sense.

Quyết himself has reportedly called the official to apologise and also posted an apology on social media.

Which makes the fact that Hà Nội FC have appealed the suspension all the more disheartening.

Of course Quyết is an important player and losing him for so long will hit the capital side hard, but appealing the ban sends a pretty bad message, especially seeing as the player has already admitted his guilt.

Hà Nội should follow Quyết’s example and take their medicine here. Withdrawing the appeal would set a great example of how important it is to show respect to officials.

Referees have an awful job and, admittedly, some don’t do it well. But they deserve to be treated with decency. — VNS