2. Quality of referees and football fields need to improve
Over the past six months, we have been treated to a level of football not before seen in these shores. However, remarkable strides in the quality of football on the pitch must go hand-in-hand with matters outside of the playing field.
Team managers, coaches, players and fans always have differing opinions on many things football. This season however, they have been unanimous on two things: the state of the refereeing and the condition of our football fields.
The job of the referee, it is said, is a thankless job. No one team will think that he is calling the game fairly if the calls are not going in their favour. Contrary to popular belief, UFL referees as human as you and me, prone to the occasional mistake.
But for questionable calls to happen over and over again on a regular basis, to almost every team in the UFL is certainly something to worry about. To compound matters, fans have been witnesses to referees that, after losing control of the game due to early bad calls, triy to stamp their authority by throwing out coaches and players unnecessarily.
The odd mistake, fans should be able to forgive. Not knowing the rules of the game, including the infamously very basic offside rule, is unforgivable in the premier football league in the country.
As one first division coach said in exasperation: “It is not that the referees are corrupt, they really just don’t know the rules!”
Thankfully, improvements on the playing conditions are underway. If everything falls according to plan, the UFL should have a new home next season at the McKinley Hill Football Field in Taguig City. This should be a welcome development to the players indeed.
Another venue, such as University of Makati football field or the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium should similarly be maintained to be used as an alternate field for the football matches. In matches where results would affect the progress of other teams, such as the final match of the group stage of a cup competition, it is best that these games be played simultaneously.