Markus Babbel Criticises A-League Referees – Right or Wrong?

Sacked Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel had seemingly left the game in Australia on good terms.

The below tweet is a five minute message from the German as he thanks everyone who helped him during his time at the club.

He was universally praised for his class at a time when many would understandably be frustrated and angered at losing their job.

However, in the immediate aftermath of his departure, he has taken aim at the A-League and described it as a ‘slow’ and ‘weak’.

The spotlight was well and truly on the officials in his interview with German newspaper Bild.

“I was stolen eight points this season, it is incredible how bad the referees are doing”, he said.

“If you know our referees and see what’s going on here, that’s blatant. My mistake was that I publicly denounced it early on and then became the focus.

“But honestly, I did not understand until the end what they are whistling.”

It is safe to say that the A-League is a far cry from the likes of the European leagues; competitions Babbel once competed in as a player for German powerhouses Bayern Munich and English giants Liverpool.

Having never represented a professional side outside of his home continent, perhaps Babbel’s opinion could be seen as a fresh take on a league that needs serious adjusting.

Or, it’s a naïve and misguided take from someone who doesn’t properly comprehend the current state of the game in Australia.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at Babbel’s time at the Wanderers.

The Wanderers had been only two points off the finals in the season before Babbel joined, managing two draws against runners up Newcastle and a win over semi finalist Melbourne City during the regular season.

33 points from 27 games is hardly a success, but it was anything but a disastrous season.

After being named head coach in May of 2018, Babbel struggled to deliver consistent results.

The Wanderers only managed 24 points from the 27 regular season fixtures, conceding the third most amount of goals and falling 16 points short of a finals berth.

After the previous season gave many fans hope of a potential return to finals, Babbel and the Wanderers fell further down the pecking order.

In a 2-0 loss to fierce rivals Sydney FC, Babbel was sent off after an outburst following a disallowed goal from Roly Bonevacia.

Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo was deemed to have been impeded by Jaushua Sotirio in the lead up to the goal. There was a distinct lack of protest from Sydney players and coaches, with many conceding that they had, well, conceded.

Referee Chris Beath disallowed the goal after a VAR check, sent off Babbel after he let his frustrations be known and the German’s first impression of A-League refereeing was hardly a good one.

Many sympathised with Babbel, claiming it was an error from the officials.

Babbel also expressed frustrations at the referees following a 4-3 loss to Perth Glory.

Babbel isn’t afraid of letting his feeling be known and many warmed to him during his tenure at the Wanderers, mainly for how upfront and honest he was.

However, his targeted attacks at referees can be seen as either one of two things.

On one side of the coin, they were excuses for when his team lost or didn’t perform to the level that he desired.

On the flip side, he was saying it how it was and calling out the referees for the poor calls they made.

One would not envy the job of a referee during a professional game. They have one of the toughest jobs in sports.

They know their decisions will never go down as universally praised and the split-second decisions they do make can sometimes be criticised to the nth degree.

There will never be a game that is ‘perfectly officiated’, but at the same time, we’d be fools to ever believe something like that could eventuate.

Perhaps refereeing does need a touch-up in this country. Maybe more training is needed for some of the most commonly criticised members of the Australian soccer community.

But maybe, just maybe, Babbel failed to understand that the Australian game is significantly different to that of the European leagues, where he had spent his entire life.

It’s a fascinating issue and we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on Twitter @Soccersceneau

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

World-class speakers set for Australian Coaching Conference this weekend

The Australian Coaching Conference will take place this Saturday November 28, with a range of big-name football figures set to speak at the event.

Topping the list is legendary football coach Arsene Wenger who will present at the online conference alongside other notable speakers such as Mile Jedinak, Graham Arnold and Julie Foudy.

The event will be run by Football NSW, in conjunction with the FFA, Football Coaches Australia and a number of other Member Federations including Football Victoria, Football West, Northern NSW Football and Football South Australia.

Well-known football personalities Stephanie Brantz and Adam Peacock will co-host the conference this weekend.

“It is extremely pleasing to see that this conference has received such a positive response and that we will be going out to more than 1800 participants across the state, throughout the country and indeed around the world,” Football NSW Head of Football, Peter Hugg stated.

“More significantly, it is great that we have been able to explore various technology platforms that have come to the fore during the COVID19 pandemic, and introduce both online learning and a means by which we can upload content, both now for this weekend, but also for future reference over the next 12 months or so – I can only envisage that this will increase as we develop this concept more and more.

“I think the success of this weekend’s Conference demonstrates a certain ‘build it and they will come’ approach. That is, we have been fortunate to have some of the best football people in Australia and throughout the world present across a range of relevant key areas, and as we have packaged and priced the day accordingly, pleasingly the coaching fraternity have responded.” 

Hugg explained that with the calibre of names on show, the conference is set to be a must-see event.

“To think that we have names like Arsene Wenger, two former world champions in former US players, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, national team coaches Graham Arnold and Tom Sermanni, former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, Matildas Heather Garriock and Lisa DeVanna, Xavier Closas from the FC Barcelona Futsal program, representatives from FIFA’s Technical Department, and many more…it’s just a quality line up and augers well for a great day.”


La Liga and University of Canberra sign agreement

The La Liga Business School and the University of Canberra will sign an agreement this week to work on educational projects together.

The La Liga Business School and the University of Canberra will sign of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week to work on educational projects together.

The collaboration agreement is being finalised and will focus on the formation and education of professional football.

La Liga and the University of Canberra said that they aim to use their knowledge and networks to “help to improve the professionalism of professional sport and football.”

An online seminar this Thursday will be the first event held by La Liga and the University of Canberra under the collaboration agreement.

La Liga’s delegate in Australia and New Zealand, Glen Rolls, will be speaking at the webinar alongside Capital Football CEO Phil Brown and Villarreal C.F Business Development Manager Mar Llaneza.

‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ will be hosted and moderated by University of Canberra Academic and former FIFA Assistant Referee Allyson Flynn.

The representatives will discuss strategy, business expansion, international development and commercial risks for sporting organisations. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.

“We are very happy to have the opportunity to share the La Liga’s experience in Australia,” Director of La Liga Business School Jose Moya said.

“This agreement reaffirms the commitment of our organization to professionalise the sports sector and, in line with our slogan, ‘it’s not football, it’s La Liga,’ this positions us at the forefront of the industry, not only in terms of sports but also in educational standards.”

The La Liga Business School is the educational department of the Spanish league, it focuses on sport management and aims to professionalise the sports industry.

“The University of Canberra is a leader in Australian sport education and research,” University of Canberra’s, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Michelle Lincoln said.

“We are very excited to further our commitment to sport through collaborations with La Liga on this webinar and future events.”

‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ takes place on Thursday 26th November at 6pm. Registrations for the event are open via the University of Canberra website.

Football Queensland awards four teams with FQ Club Shields

Football Queensland have issued their first FQ Club Shields to four teams across the sunshine state.

The clubs to receive the accolade are Brisbane City, Brisbane Strikers, Lions FC and Gold Coast United.

The FQ Club Shield initiative was announced in June, serving as a visual representation of how clubs are performing based on a number of factors including extensive technical assessments.

“The FQ Club Shield initiative has been developed to improve accountability, transparency and visibility across a club’s technical performance and achievements while giving them a platform to celebrate success and growth in a meaningful way,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

“We congratulate Brisbane City, Brisbane Strikers, Lions FC and Gold Coast United on completing their assessments in partnership with our FQ Club Development Unit and becoming the first clubs to receive their FQ Club Shields, with the remainder of National Premier Leagues Queensland Men’s, Women’s and Football Queensland Premier League clubs to receive theirs in the coming weeks,” he continued.

“FQ will continue to roll this initiative out across clubs as we support them in building capacity and improving technical development standards.

“Assessments are undertaken continually with star ratings provided annually. Up-to-date FQ Club Shields will be displayed on the Football Queensland website where players and parents can view them.”

The Club Development Unit critiques clubs on their planning, delivery and development outcome measures.

It also takes into account factors such as training and game observations, as well as an assessment of coaching standards.

“It is important to note that achieving any of the Gold, Silver or Bronze rating categories demonstrates considerable effort and consistent work and quality delivery by clubs’ administrators and technical staff,” FQ State Technical Director Gabor Ganczer said.

“The FQ Club Development Unit is continuing to ensure that both the players involved in these programs and the clubs themselves are well supported in their development.

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