where does fair comment end?

Davet

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Soccer manager Allardice is charged with suggesting that match officials my be corrupt or biased when he said that it was commonplace for the same offence to be treated differently at Old Trafford, when an away player handling the ball was penalised, but not a home player.

Would it be different if he sympathised with the enormous pressure refs can be subject to by the home crowd, and was worried that this could lead to decision making being affected? Or is the very suggestion that refs could be human enough to respond to pressure be of itself beyond the pale?
 

SimonSmith


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I believe that this type of question is referred to as "rhetorical", no?
 

Davet

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Not really. It is sparked by the feeling that there are unaskable questions, or unstatable opinions. I think it was Cherie Blair that copped lot of grief for suggesting that she wanted to understand more about the motivations and attitudes of terrorists - which was seen as wedge that could lead to excusing their actions.

I would suggest that understanding where an attitude of mind comes from is step 1 on countering those we find appalling.

In this case is there any truth in the notion that a referee can in fact be subtly and sub-conciously influenced by a very vocal and perhaps intimidating atmosphere.

Your immediate response that this is a question that is not open to debate is interesting.
 

Dickie E


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In this case is there any truth in the notion that a referee can in fact be subtly and sub-conciously influenced by a very vocal and perhaps intimidating atmosphere.

Your immediate response that this is a question that is not open to debate is interesting.

Yes it is open to debate and yes refs/umpires are human. The more that sensible technology that can be introduced, the better
 

Dixie


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In this case is there any truth in the notion that a referee can in fact be subtly and sub-conciously influenced by a very vocal and perhaps intimidating atmosphere.

Your immediate response that this is a question that is not open to debate is interesting.
I think there is a difference between on the one hand wondering whether supposedly independent arbiters are influenced by pressure, and on the other alleging bias. I suspect that absolute even-handedness is not within the human condition: we are all influenced - sometimes subtly, sometimes not - by a range of things. How many of us have seen some foul-mouthed footballer screaming into the face of the referee who has just made a decision the player didn't like, and thought that if that were us, every 50:50 decision would go against the little sod thereafter? But I've never seen a referee buckle under that immediate pressure and change the decision moaned about. If a referee is unsure whether Suarez dived, isn't it inevitable that his admission to a Uruguay newspaper that he's quite prepared to dive to win a penaty will be a factor in the ref's decision? Does that make the ref biased? Or merely susceptible to external influence? Is there a difference?

If Big Sam had managed to ask his question without using evocative language, he'd probably have got a better response.
 

Phil E


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According to Managers and commentaters its not about the crowd, its about the size of the club.

New clubs to the Premier League always complain that decisions never go their way, when they play the top clubs, even when the new club is at home.

Lots of managers and fans complain about Man Utd always getting the decision, because of who they are, not because of where they are playing.
 

OB..


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I would suggest that understanding where an attitude of mind comes from is step 1 on countering those we find appalling.
Agreed. I remember trying to discuss discrimination with a friend who claimed that because I was a man, I could not understand the woman's perspective and should stay out of it. I pointed out that the people she needed to persuade to overcome discrimination were men, and she could only do that by trying to understand their perspective.

In this case is there any truth in the notion that a referee can in fact be subtly and sub-conciously influenced by a very vocal and perhaps intimidating atmosphere.
I once analysed the pattern of penalties in a series of S-something games, and found no supporting evidence for a home team bias. I suspect teams play differently at home anyway, so the referee is not the only factor.

Your immediate response that this is a question that is not open to debate is interesting.
[Bernard mode] A rhetorical question is one to which the answer is so obvious that it does not need stating. It does not mean the point must not be debated.
In your case you offered alternative questions, so the term could not be appropriate anyway.[/Bernard mode]
 

The umpire


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[Bernard mode] A rhetorical question is one to which the answer is so obvious that it does not need stating. It does not mean the point must not be debated.
In your case you offered alternative questions, so the term could not be appropriate anyway.[/Bernard mode]
[Sir Humphrey mode] Actually, Bernard, A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point and without the expectation of a reply. e.g. Did you ever see such a rotten bowler as Smith?[/Sir Humphrey mode]
 

Davet

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I said it was not a rhetorical question.
 

OB..


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OB..


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[Sir Humphrey mode] Actually, Bernard, A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point and without the expectation of a reply. e.g. Did you ever see such a rotten bowler as Smith?[/Sir Humphrey mode]
I see no conflct in the definitions.
 

Davet

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OB OK - but question to which no reply is expected, or wanted, is at least not an invitation to debate.
 
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