Though the 2013/14 A-League season has been marred by numerous negatives, there is one constant that has continued throughout the year and arguably for the nine seasons in the competition’s history.

This really is one of those rants that could have come at various different times throughout the season. Thankfully we have a week where supporters aren’t peeved with their club to a dramatic level or a manager hasn’t been sacked or under fire so that this can finally be covered, though a complaint about racial abuse towards Sydney FC’s Ali Abbas from an unconfirmed Western Sydney Wanderers player has been made.

Respect also to the Newcastle Jets’ Taylor Regan and Mark Birighitti for making a late run at being the focus of this week’s column after a punch on at training. Condolences, boys.

The clash between Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United provided an unfortunate reminder of just how far we still have to go in this competition. Unlike other instances pointed out recently, it has nothing to do with the players or the supporters, but the men that are entrusted with controlling the game.

Through nine seasons of football, it is embarrassing that we still don’t have referees capable of calling the game at even a par level. We’re not talking about a couple of incorrect free kicks, offside calls, penalty decisions or cards – mistakes that happen by all referees around the world, they’re only human – but constantly the same problems coupled with a number of absolute howlers.

The latest facepalm moment was provided when Brisbane’s Thomas Broich unleashed a belter of a shot from way out that struck the crossbar and clearly bounced over the goal line before coming back into play. However, play was incorrectly allowed to continue by referee Shaun Evans, denying Broich of a clear goal of the season candidate and the Roar a 2-0 lead.

The 2-1 Roar win could have been a different story had Besart Berisha not converted for his brace early in the second half and had he not, there would be a much more dramatic uproar.

As mentioned, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a horrible decision during a game just this season. Stupid cards, offside calls and penalty decisions aside – which can be granted as genuine mistakes despite the frequency – we even saw an offside call from a throw in. An offside call from a throw in. This isn’t even amateur league stuff, it’s trainee primary school physical education teacher stuff.

It’s at the point where the referees have become an extra task for teams to overcome, unsure when the dreaded refs will strike with their seemingly-random boneheadedness.

Australia and Japan recently begun an exchange program that sees Japanese refs take control of A-League games while Australian refs officiated Japan’s international against New Zealand.

Sadly, Takuto Okabe, the first Japanese referee to take control of an A-League game, was just as bad at officiating the match between Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets as those to take control of Australian games before him. So yeah, that didn’t work.

With Broich being denied his goal, calls for goal-line technology in the A-League have again surfaced. Although Broich himself stated that he was against the technology, there are obvious merits for investing in it, the main one being the reduction of cringe-worthy referee decisions.

However nice it would be, the reality is that goal-line technology is simply not viable in this competition. Given that it cost £250,000 to install the Hawkeye system at 20 English Premier League grounds and at Wembley Stadium, feel free to do the currency conversion and math to see whether it’s a worthy investment. Spoiler alert: it’s not cheap.

It has never actually made sense why the refs don’t have the authority to have a decision reviewed just from the cameras at the ground, which generally manage to capture the ball crossing the goal line easily enough.

If the ball isn’t believed to have crossed the line, let the game continue and when the ball next goes out of play, have the refs congregate and make a decision. Surely that’s not spoiling the history of the game or whatever argument traditionalists use.

Whatever happens, something has to be done about incorrect non-goal decisions and general refereeing in the A-League. It has reached a point where refs become highlights during games for the wrong reasons. An old saying is that if you hardly noticed the officials during the game, they did a good job and for the most part, it reigns supreme.

Instead of investing a butt load of money into goal-line technology, continue to invest in growing and educating the men and women with the whistles and flags while exploring alternate ways to review questionable decisions. Having some consistently good refereeing surely couldn’t hurt the competition.

Be sure to vote for The Football Sack in the 2014 FFDU Fan Awards.

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