Source of the manuscript: Lu Xiaojia Independent Review of the Sports Industry
On September 25, in the 13th round of the first stage of the 2020 Chinese Super League, the referee succeeded in stealing the spotlight again and became the protagonist on the court in the 13th round of Beijing Zhonghe Guoan against Shanghai SIPG. The referee on duty, Zhang Lei, missed Guoan’s penalties twice when prompted by VAR. This caused an uproar in public opinion after the game and once rushed to the hot search on Weibo.
The reason why Zhang Lei’s penalty last night caused a strong backlash in public opinion was mainly due to the fact that Guoan player Vieira was kicked down in the opponent's penalty area in the 57th minute of the game. He refused to award a penalty after viewing the video playback. At that time, both CCTV and PP Sports commentators felt incredible about this penalty. Because this ball no longer needs to be put on the word "suspect", but a 100% penalty.
In the presence of a video assistant referee, Zhang Lei still misjudged a 100% penalty. Therefore, whether he is a Guoan fan or not, people who follow Chinese football can't stand it. The first time after the game, Zhang Lei “punished” himself on the hot search on Weibo.
However, today the trend of public opinion still points the finger at Zhang Lei, obviously not paying attention to the nature of the problem. The number of controversial penalties in the Super League this season has surpassed the past. Including Guoan last night, as many as 6 clubs have appealed on refereeing issues. You must know that there are only 16 teams in the Super League.
Many football reporters today attributed last night’s controversial penalty to "Golden Whistle" Zhang Lei's lack of business ability, but if "Golden Whistle"'s business ability is so poor, who trained him? Who rated him as the golden whistle?
Maybe Zhang Lei’s poor business ability can be the reason for the controversy of the penalty last night, but it must not be an excuse for the chaos of the referees in the Super League this season.
Take Zhang Lei yesterday as an example. The conspiracy theory believes that he is either an official post and was instructed to take care of Shanghai SIPG; or that he is personally involved in gambling and takes risks for his own economic interests.
The author does not agree with such conspiracy theories. First of all, Shanghai SIPG leads Guoan by 4 points before yesterday's game. Even if it loses last night's game, there is a high probability that it will still be the top spot in this group. There is no need to protect SIPG in this way. Secondly, not long after the anti-counterfeiting campaign in Chinese football, Zhang Lei's predecessors were still serving their sentences in Tieling, and the referees would not want to make money like this. Finally, in the absence of conclusive evidence, a conspiracy theory is the simplest conclusion, but it is also the most irresponsible.
However, the referees of the Super League headed by the golden whistle Zhang Lei have made various low-level errors many times. The referees collectively made various low-level errors, either systemic problems (conspiracy theories) or systemic problems. As the author said, conspiracy theories have little value, so it must be an institutional issue.
Just like the poor level of Chinese football, one should not only blame a certain player or a certain coach, but should reflect on what is wrong with Chinese football as a whole. Behind the low overall level of Chinese referees, it also reflects a deeper problem-the Chinese Football Association must have major problems in the management of a series of processes such as referee training, selection, evaluation, and supervision.
Fuzzy whistle should of course be criticized, but only criticizing them is obviously a way of avoiding the important and even deliberately diverting the attention of public opinion. If the Chinese Football Association has a complete set of referee management rules and procedures, this season's Super League will not be such a mess. Therefore, the board must be played on the Football Association to really help the improvement of Chinese football and Chinese referees.
As far as I know, the Chinese Football Association is quite confused in terms of referee management. At the organizational structure level, there is both a referee department and a referee committee. The division of labor between the two is not clear, and there is no effective supervision between them. Even a senior referee once told the author that the so-called referee committee is currently just an empty shell, and there are no standing directors and resident experts, and it is basically in a state of temporary "teaming up" reviews when disputes arise.
In fact, letting the referee committee actually play its due role can greatly improve the overall level of Chinese referees. For example, can the list of members of the referee committee be announced? After each dispute and penalty, can the internal voting results of the referee committee and the opinions of the experts be announced anonymously?
These are all part of the system and process that the author said, and building these institutionalized top-level designs is a truly responsible attitude towards Chinese football. But now simply to maintain the so-called dignity of the referee and to maintain the harmony in the referee circle will only make the circle go further and further in an incorrect direction.