For those of you who watch other sports the idea of players arguing with refs may seem foreign.
You have NFL, you have basketball, and while I am not as clued up on those sports, it does look like there is far less frequent arguing and that players tend to just accept the decision the referee makes.
Soccer, on the other hand, is a lot different as arguing is very frequent within the game, which has a result can make being a ref at times very difficult.
As when you have players with huge egos who believe a decision is wrong if it’s not in their favour, it will typically result in plenty of arguing between them and the ref.
However, why do soccer players argue and do they actually gain anything from it?
The aim of this post is to therefore answer these questions for you.
Why Do Soccer Players Argue With Refs?
Soccer players will typically argue with their refs when a decision they believe the referee has made the wrong call on the game.
With the game being full of emotions, a lot of the time, players will react to every decision the ref makes, even if the referee has got it spot on.
Now from my experience from watching and playing soccer, players argue for a multitude of reasons.
You also have the fact that they will moan when something isn’t given to them but also, if the ref doesn’t act on something, they feel they should be off.
As a result, I have settled on three main reasons why soccer players argue with the refs.
1. Yellow Cards/Red Cards
First off, you have yellow cards and red cards.
With these cards, it can work both ways in that a player could argue in frustration of being given a card.
But also, they might feel aggrieved that an opposing player has done something that they believe should have warranted a card too.
To elaborate on both of these, let me go over examples for both instances.
Instance 1: Believing They Shouldn’t Be Carded
Starting with the first instance, if let’s say a player makes a challenge that they believe got the ball.
However, the ref sees it the other way and believes it was poorly timed and therefore warrants a yellow card. Then the player might desperately start arguing in the hope that the referee will change his mind.
The player might either say to the ref that he got to the ball or point to the ball to explain that it was a good challenge.
Almost every player does this. However, in all my experience of watching football, a ref won’t overturn his decision.
Players will know this, but they will plead their innocence anyway.
Instance 2: Believing The Other Player Should Be Carded
In soccer, there are many scenarios where players try to get one over their opposition.
Whether it be playacting or even diving to get to penalties and free kicks.
But the other reason why players argue towards the ref is when they believe an opposing player should be punished.
To switch the example I used above around, if a player is fouled, however the referee only awards a foul and doesn’t give a yellow card or red, then the player might be frustrated that nothing else was given.
They might argue to the ref or do what’s commonly known in the game has the ‘card gesture’ to suggest to the ref that he should card the player.
Now with both examples explained, you can see why when a foul takes place, it’s normal to have players from both teams arguing simultaneously.
As one team wants the other player punished while the other team is trying to get themselves out of trouble.
Soccer players of both teams will also argue when the ref awards Penalties.
Depending on what side you are on, the arguing here is different.
No one likes to concede a penalty, as when they are given, it normally results in a goal.
So what you will see is that no matter how clear the penalty is, players will surround the referring protesting.
They know the chances of them converting the penalty is quite high, and therefore don’t want to give a goal up.
I have also though seen on many occasions players will argue because they believe a penalty should of been given.
While the addition of VAR in previous years, means almost all penalties are checked to some degree.
If a player believes they have been fouled or hit an opponents hand, they will do the VAR signal or just plead to the ref saying that it should of been a penalty.
However, unless a referee receives info from the VAR booth that they should reconsider the decision then the arguing is almost always to no avail.
3. Dissalowed Goals
The last reason why a soccer player will argue with a referee is over disallowed goals.
This doesn’t happen as frequently due to VAR checking every goal over.
However, a lot of players will argue when they believe a goal should or should not have been allowed.
If we look at the defending side first, if let’s say the defenders believe the attacking player was offside in the build-up.
They will then argue with either the ref or the linesman for not putting their flag up.
For the attacking side though, if an offside is given for them, however, the scorer believes he timed his run and therefore believes the goal should stand then arguing will often take place.
However again like with penalties, the arguing around goal decisions has lessened in top-flight football, due to each one being checked not giving players a leg to stand on.
Does Arguing With The Referee Work?
While the automatic reaction for most players is to argue and question a refs decision, it doesn’t actually work as the referee will always stick to his gut or what other members on the officiating team have advised him.
So if a player gives makes a silly challenge that results in a red, or what may look like a clear goal has not been given, then talking to the referee won’t do much and won’t make them change their mind.
Which Soccer Players Love To Argue?
You have some soccer games, where you can have a good guess at who will end up in trouble, because they always caught arguing with the refs.
For these types of players, its definitely a case of them letting their emotions get the best of them, which nine times out of ten leads to them getting booked.
Now while most soccer players have argued with the ref at some point over there careers, its players from certain areas of the map that are known for doing it more.
South America is one of the first regions that come to mind, for having some of the meanest soccer players that always moan and try to get into the refs head as well as the opposing players.
Two players from this region who are known within the game for having a ‘ hot head’ are Diego Costa and Arturo Vidal.
While both are top players in their position, do go over the board from time to time.
Costa while has been without a club for a year now, was once done for abusing a referee in a La Liga game against Barcelona and got a whopping 8 match ban.
As for Vidal, he is a good example too because when even I see him play, he is always talking way too much that it only becomes a matter of time before the referee has enough and pulls a card out.
A situation where he crossed the line though, was in a vital Champions League fixture for Inter Milan against Real Madrid where he got a little too aggressive towards Anthony Taylor.
Check out the video for it below:
Well there you have it, I hope this post gave you a good idea of why soccer players argue with refs and the reasons why.
As you can see, most of the players do out of the emotion of the game, which is why players will react no matter what the ref decides to give.
But the bottom line is that arguing with the ref, is essentially fighting a losing battle, as they always have the final say on all matters within a game.
What do you think to players arguing in soccer? Have you argued in a soccer match with a ref before?
Let me know your thoughts down by using the comment section below 🙂