Poor refereeing marred the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys U-14 Div I semi-final between St Stanislaus (Bandra) and Navy Children (Colaba) at Azad Maidan yesterday. Stanislaus lost the tie 1-2 and blamed referee Tapan Ghosh for it.
Abhishek Badalia opened the scoring for the Colaba outfit in the 12th minute before Stanislaus’ Raul D’Silva equalised via a solo effort in the 23rd minute. Abhishek then added a second for Navy in the 38th minute.
However, as many as four Stanislaus players were hurt following some aggressive tackles by the Navy lads even as referee Ghosh found nothing wrong with the same. The game took an ugly turn when Ghosh turned a blind eye towards a rough tackle on one of the Stanislaus players and instead yellow-carded the Bandra lad for arguing. Thereafter, a blatant hand-ball inside the Navy box was missed by the referee, and even as the Stanislaus players protested, Ghosh showed one of the Bandra players a red card.
A Stanislaus player on condition of anonymity said: “The referee had told one of our players that he will not give any decisions in our favour and that’s what he did.”
St Stanislaus coach Joshua Lewis too felt the referee had erred. “The referee has made a lot of mistakes today, but these things happen,” he said.
In fact, MSSA football secretary Anslem Alphonso, who witnessed the match, also felt Ghosh had got it all wrong. “The referee seemed biased towards Navy Children. But we can’t reverse his decision now. Besides, children should be disciplined too,” said Alphonso.
Don Bosco (Matunga) coach Leslie Machado said refereeing has been sub-standard at MSSA of late. “Before the start of the season, MSSA had assured us at a coaches clinic that their officials would be present to supervise the refereeing at Div I matches, but that has not happened, and consequently the refereeing has been very poor,” said Machado.
Referee Ghosh however felt he had done no wrong. “A player as no right to argue with the referee. He is nobody to tell me if I am right or wrong,” he said.
Navy Children coach Randheer Singh said: “When they (Stanislaus) win, they never complain, but now that they have lost, they are blaming the referee.”