MDFA referees’ performance under scrutiny after blunder costs St. Paul’s the game against Miners FC

Miners FC recorded a narrow 1-0 win over St. Paul’s FC under highly controversial fashion in a 1st Division tie of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) on Sunday. The ill-tempered clash saw two red cards and a controversial winner, creating an outrage from the St. Paul’s team officials post the game against 2nd assistant referee Roman Luis.

The game was extremely tight and looked like heading for a draw until Karan Bhujbal struck the winning goal in the 56th minute after both teams were reduced to ten men with Binoy Nambiar seeing a straight red for elbowing a St. Paul’s player, while Benny Monteiro received his marching orders after two bookable offences.

But a major controversial decision by referee Roman Luis, created a stir after the game as he flagged St. Paul’s Marshal Francis off after he pounced on a back pass from a Miners player to score. According to the conditions mentioned under Law No. 11, which explains the offside rule, a player isn’t offside if he receives a pass from the opponent player despite being in an offside position.

But referee Roman Luis’ error didn’t go down too well with St. Paul’s Head Coach Don Lawson, who has issued a written complaint against referee Roman Luis. Lawson who himself is an extremely senior and experienced referee, criticized referee Roman Luis in a statement given to MDFA. “Mr. Roman Luis is very poor with the law of the game. His error caused my team to drop three points. Such refereeing isn’t acceptable at this level”.

It remains to be seen as to what action does MDFA take against referee Roman Luis, but the overall refereeing standards of the newly formed MDFA committee referees lack consistency and the association should offer better training facilities and must help young referees like Roman Luis ease into his job.

After such high profile mistakes, the pressure is high on young referees to perform and the association must take steps to protect their referees much better. It is in interest of everyone that MDFA take up the matter seriously before both young players and referees lose their faith in the competition and eventually the game. MDFA needs to be more responsible in order to handle such a delicate matter.

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