Effin’ & Reffin’: Port vs the Men in Black


Following Saturday’s controversial yet ultimately self-inflicted defeat at Sukhothai, during which midfielder Sumanya was sent off for slapping the referee, Port have launched a two-prong attack on T1 officials. Firstly, Port striker Dragan Boskovic posted the following statement on his Instagram feed yesterday:



Secondly, the club also announced yesterday that Chairwoman Pang would be filing an official complaint about Saturday’s ref with the FAT this afternoon.

Whilst it can’t be argued that there is considerable room for improvement in Thai football refereeing and that poor or biased officials are indeed a blight on the game, it’s somewhat curious that Port have chosen the Sukhothai game as their hill to die on. The ref was no worse than others we’ve seen this season, and had no choice other than to send Sumanya off for his utter stupidity. All the talk around our table after the game was not of the ref, but of the players, Sumanya in particular, who let us down. However bad the ref was, had they kept their heads, and eleven men on the field, they would have won that game fairly comfortably. And I didn’t hear too many complaints from Port about the very generous refereeing during our recent 1-0 win at home to Ratchaburi.

Thankfully the voice of reason came from coach Jadet, who yesterday said that some Port players clearly have trouble controlling themselves on the pitch and need to focus more on winning football matches than arguing with refs. Rather than issuing statements and lodging complaints, Port would do better to address this issue and also focus on this week’s two must-win games against Trat and Prachuap. Yes, fostering an us-against-the-world mentality and putting psychological pressure on refs is a proven tactic that may pay off (it worked for Alex Ferguson), but Port don’t need to lower themselves to such mind games and have a good enough squad to beat the likes of Sukhothai every week, regardless of how dodgy the refs are. It wasn’t the ref who stopped us scoring more against PTT. It wasn’t the ref who cost us 3 points at Sukhothai. And it isn’t refs who are making Port play 4-6-0 then wonder why they aren’t winning games. Thai referees are generally poor, we know that, and we’ve known it for years. It hasn’t suddenly become an issue, and players should know how to handle it – physically attacking referees certainly isn’t the answer.


Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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