Former International Football Federation (FIFA) referee Amir Sharifuddin Wong considers the bad perception of the Malaysian League (M-League) referees as part and parcel in the world of football but insists that the notion is utterly unfair to an important figure on the field.
The FA Cup final match between Kedah and Perak last season saw the organizers, the Malaysian Football League (MFL), selected three match officials from Japan led by Takuto Okabe and their performance in controlling the game was showered with praises.
“We never expected people to say a match was well run but when it happened when the players shook hands with us after the match ended, it was an infinite satisfaction.
“We as employees do it because of Allah without wanting (any) praise but it is the responsibility of the employer, namely the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) to appreciate its subordinates.
“When subordinates have done a good job, FAM should appreciate it by giving something that should be a motivation for them to be better,” he told Nadi Arena reporter Zulhelmi Zainal Azam.
He added that referees are not immune but mistakes can be avoided if they take the time to do their homework as the mistakes of this era can easily become contagious on social media despite more good things behind the shortcomings.
“So far, when (showing performance) is good, there was nothing (praise) but when not good, the referee is criticised.
“It’s a bit unfair while teams should also be aware that if their own game is not good, they have to take responsibility.
“The referee is not spared from making mistakes but can try to reduce it.
“So, they can make initial preparations in terms of mental and physical, do a study on each team and the attitude of the players so that (the knowledge) of the referees is more complete while on the field.”