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Top-flight referee starts Facebook page to explain decisions

Is this the future of refereeing?

Could more referees take to social media to explain their decisions?
Could more referees take to social media to explain their decisions?

SPORTS FANS ARE always looking for more accountability from referees and, while that generally involves a call for officials to answer questions in the wake of controversial decisions, one Swedish referee has decided that Facebook is a good way of getting his message out.

Mohammed Al-Hakim is a referee in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top flight, and launched his new initiative with the admission he should have given a penalty in a recent game between IFK Norrkoping and AIK.

Al-Hakim told Swedish football site Fotbollskanalen: “I believe in openness and dialogue.

“The main idea is that I want to create interest [in what we do] and I think the football family can gain from getting a better insight and understanding of a referee’s situation.

“I also want the page to inspire more people to become referees, which is an important part of football.”

Of the contentious decision that helped launch his page, Al-Hakim said:

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“I should have given a penalty yesterday. Period. Now I have seen what you surely have seen already. I’ve seen the replays a few times and looked at stills and different angles.

“Because what it is about for me, is I want to learn something and try to understand why I did what I did.

“I will never be right all the time but it is important to minimise the mistakes and make sure that I am right in the important moments.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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