PRO’s aim is reduce dissent on the field -- a yellow-card offense – and persistent infringement, also a yellow-card offense.
“Minimal fouls that are isolated are often suitably dealt with by the awarding of the free-kick, but in cases where these fouls are committed frequently, a yellow card is deemed a suitable punishment to the player,” reads the PRPO statement.
“These two areas are ones that we highlighted to our officials and reminded them of their duties within the law,” said PRO general manager Peter Walton. “We will continue our focus on holding and pushing in the penalty area at the taking of free-kicks and corner kicks and also enforce sanctions on time-wasting tactics that are sometimes employed during games.”
The main initiatives for PRO in 2014 were to “make the games flow better and looking at the holding, shoving, pushing and blocking that happens in the penalty area.”
2015 PRO Referee Roster
Jose Carlos Rivero
2015 PRO Assistant Referee Roster
This all sounds promising, but let's see what this looks like during the first two weeks of the season. Is this just talk, or will there be teams with 9 players on the pitch in the 12th minute? My guess is that PRO will neuter itself by the 3rd week, being unable to uniformly implement this new refereeing vector in the face a whiny coaches and owners.
God forbid they should just call the games consistently, week after week, and enforce all the rules ... even if it means carding star players. Even if it means giving penalties again and again. And no matter what it means to the teams off the field.
I agree that dissent should be tolerated only to a point, but I don't like it when tolerance of fouls leads to dissent and the dissent gets punished instead of the fouls. I would much rather they focus on getting fouls in the box right--and abandoning the witch hunt for diving.
The problem with dissent starts at about age 11 when kids are called by the ref and turn there back and walk away. By age 14 they not only walk but start to argue. At 17 they start to help the ref make the calls and clearly realize that "minor" cheating (ie. holding an advancing players jersey, cheap hits behind the back of the ref, pulling players down from behind in the box, etc) is an accepted part of the game. Want to make the game run faster? its gonna take 15 years, starting with the 10 year olds. Get called for instruction by a ref or a yellow card and walk away while he's talking? Automatic red. Get caught in the box with a deliberate attempt to illegally obstruct ANY player? Automatic penalty kick and yellow to the obstructor. At higher levels (age 16) any player caught on film with an illegal "hit" behind the refs back? Submit to refs, automatic red, out next game, permanent mark on players record - 5 deliberate hits behind refs back, banned from competition. Or something like these ideas. Problem is that this "bad" behavior starts at a young age and is considered part of the game. Always disturbing to me. Very sad.
How about enforcing encroachment and making sure the refs step off the right distance on free kicks; not the usual 7 or 8 steps. Also, when there is a free kick inside the box and the ball is at the 10 yard mark, what prevents the refs from making sure the wall is on the goal line and mot in front of it.