I promised myself I would
never write about officials, but hey, rules are made to be broken
and it’s blistering in the hot seat this summer - and I am not
talking about squash.
Who would like to be in the shoes of Ted Watts, the umpire in
charge of Venus Williams' last match at Wimbledon this year?
The poor guy made a mistake; yip a hanging offence, an official got
it wrong. The whole world got to hear about it on the television
that night and in the tabloids the next day.
I don’t envy him. He added a point to Karolina Sprem's score during
the second set tie breaker, which the Williams girl lost, and the
match with it.
A moment of summer madness, perhaps the heat of the British summer
got to him. Did Venus lose because of that one point?
I DON’T THINK SO.
Dare I mention football? Do I hear “we was robbed” ???
Ok I am not of pure English blood (red, blue and white),
but I did support the Team (in an untypical Scottish fashion).
You must have heard of Urs Meier from Switzerland, the
referee in the England v Portugal quarter-final.
Did he make a mistake? He disallowed what appeared at the time, to
all English supporters, to be a goal by Sol Campbell.
The referee was there, on the spot, made his decision and stuck by
This is a guy at the pinnacle of his career and we the spectator /
viewer can, with televised replays, form
and give opinions.
It has to make you laugh.
Both sets of officials, tennis and football, are professionals and
earn decent money. They work hard at their trade and normally
perform to exceptionally high standards.
Why do we, the public, with hindsight, have all the answers,
have all the correct decisions at our fingertips or at the end of
big mouths with lashing tongues?
But I guess I cannot put all the blame on the poor spectators.
It has been known for managers to lose their cool…
You don’t believe me, shall I whisper Sir Clive Woodward?
Yes you have it now; it was only last month, when the Rugby World
Champions faced the All Blacks down under in the second
Everyone is entitled to their opinion of Simon Shaw’s dismissal,
which effectively decided the contest thereafter, but there are only
two facts: his brain-dead kneeing of the prone Robinson put him in a
position to be judged; the decision by touch judge Stuart
Dickinson was to remove him from the match.
OK, Woodward had perceived the decision to be a poor one, but it so
jaundiced his view on everything that he "rambled on in the press
conference like a madman".
He clearly wasn't happy with Dickinson's competency, and he was sure
the official had been influenced both by the crowd and the TV replay
And we have the audacity to wonder why we are called winging Poms.
Perhaps we take our sport too seriously ...
At this point I could move over to cricket.
But to be honest,
I don’t have the nerve.
Ok it has to be done.
Let’s wander over to the squash referee.
He/she has to cope with difficult situations which occur in small
areas, the occurrence happens within the blinking of an eye, and
normally the referee is anything up to 60 feet away!
I have no idea of the speed of a football, but I am aware that some
tennis balls fly around at speeds in the 150mph mark.
Look at John White; a few of the guys were messing around on court
at Canary Wharf and check out the speedometer … 172 mph. Even Ong is
Another matter which should be taken into account; most referees are
situated next to Mr. Know-It-All. You all know him/her, the one with
the loudest voice in a crowd or the one with a few beers in the
belly. It’s a tough enough job without the shenanigans going on
around you as well.
At least the other referees I have mentioned have distance between
them and the paying public.
I have no intention of getting into a debate over squash referees.
Neither do I wish to appear to be playing the worn out violin. I
guess the point is to draw your attention to some of the other
details which, during the heat of the season, somehow slip unnoticed
or are never considered.
Although most matches are now played in the spirit of the game, all
referees have officiated in at least one match that we would wish to
Squash referees are human and from this we have to assume that
discrepancies may and do arise. However, we assess each situation
and handle it to the best of our ability.
I would like to hear from the player (non qualified referee of
course) who has refereed many matches and got every decision
His award is waiting; the throne is vacant at present.
Linda was a long-time
member of the Board of England Squash, a National Grade
referee, and has been Tournament Referee at many of the UK's
top tournaments in recent years.
She is also heavily involved with the junior circuit,
at home and abroad.
"I am one of the many thousand of volunteers
in this game.
Asking no favours just
enjoying my sport where
and when I can."
not a matter
of life or death. It is much
more serious than that.”
We want to see the ball