Whether you’re the in the chair, holding the whistle, behind home plate, behind the stumps or at square leg, it can be a thankless task. Players, coaches and fans expectations and frustrations can be centred on the ref/ump and if he or she makes a mistake then it can make or break a game, season or championship for those involved. The pressure in professional sport can be enormous, they stakes high, but in the end they are human and mistakes are made.
The following are 6 examples of the official getting it wrong, and getting it wrong badly. Again, this is not intended to be a definitive list of the worst mistakes made by match officials, so if you have a suggestion for future inclusion then please hit us on the forum and add a comment.
In no particular order…
6 – First Base Umpire Jim Joyce – Detroit Vs Cleveland June 2010
Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was poised to become only the 21st pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game. Cleveland’s Jason Donald steps up to the plate and dinks one to second. Galarraga covering first base clearly beats Donald to the base. Even the commentators reflex call “He’s Out… NO SAFE!!!” in disbelief as first base umpire Jim Joyce gives the runner the base.
Detroit’s veteran coach Jim Leyland chews out Joyce, but to no avail. The mistake made, the record gone…
5 – Umpires MJD Bodenham & IJ Gould – Surrey v Bradford/Leeds University Centre of Cricketing Excellence 2007
There have been plenty of gaffs made by cricketing umpires in many high profile matches. World Cup’s, Test Matches etc but I included this one for its sheer what the… value.
I don’t know much about this clip, I’m not even sure who the umpire is (it’s either Bodenham or Gould) or who is batting, though I kind of hope it’s someone from the “University Centre of Cricketing Excellence”, seriously… what a pompous name for a team. But what amazes me is the batter actually walked without hesitation! I can only assume that the player jogging past the umpire gives a half-hearted appeal?
Yer high fives all round!
4 – Referee Eddie Ward – 1995 ARL Grand Final
Bet you didn’t see this one coming…
Rugby League is possibly the toughest, most physical sport in the world. The 1995 decider was between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canterbury (or were they the “Sydney”?) Bulldogs and the match official was Eddie Ward. Manly captain Geoff Toovey had many run-ins with Ward throughout the season and it always looked to me like Ward had an intense dislike of Toovey (go figure?). Unlike most refs today who calmly wave away captains protests Ward would argue on the spot with Toovey, it seemed like Toovey really got under Ward’s skin on occasion. Ward would be almost frothing at the mouth at Toovey, arms gesticulating, spittle flying, thus my term of (un)affection for Ward was “Crazy Eddie”. Was the 1995 decider payback?
Bulldogs won the ARL Grand Final in 1995 17-4. Ward awarding a try to Bulldogs captain Steven Price that came after a forward pass from Jim Dymock to Simon Gillies (pic), and Glen Hughes scored a try on the seventh tackle. Two massive blunders made in the biggest game of the year. C’mon Eddie count with me… 1,2,3,4,5,6 that’s it! There is no 7th tackle son.
3 – Umpire Unknown – Williams Vs Capriati US Open quarter Final 2004
There seems to be a fair amount of consensus amongst tennis fans that this is one of the worst calls ever made by a chair umpire.
Williams cops a few bad calls here, but the worst was when she hits a backhand down the line perfectly (at about the 40sec mark on the video), the ball is a good 2 inches in, the line judge signals the ball good, but the chair umpire from across the court incredibly over-rules and calls it out! Understandably Williams is unimpressed and lets the lady in the chair know all about it.
2 – Referee Les Mottram – Dundee United Vs Patrick Thistle FC
I was going to include one of those ridiculous dives that socc… I mean football players take that suckers the ref into awarding a penalty shot. But there were so many, perhaps a list for another day “Football Academy Award Dives”.
On to this clip and referee Les Mottram. At about the 1.13 mark in this highlight package Dundee United player Paddy Connelly slams one into the net; Mottram not only misses the goal but incredibly calls play on after a blatant handball. Watch one of the Thistle defenders catch the rebounding ball and hand it to the keeper. The Dundee coach gives the ref a serve at halftime; though they go on to win the match.
1 – Referee Ali Bin Nasser – The HAND OF GOD (nuff said)
The Falklands War may have been over for 4 years, but this kept the intense England V Argentina rivalry burning.
In the 1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final Maradona charges through on a miss-hit clearance from England midfielder Stephen Hodge and momentarily thinking he’s playing volleyball spikes the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton and into the net.
The term “Hand of God” was coined by Maradona during the post match press conference. Argentina went on to win the Cup defeating West Germany 3-2.
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