Swedish FIFA referee attempted to explain decisions on Facebook

A Swedish FIFA referee has started a Facebook page in an attempt to “create an understanding for our occupation”. Mohammed Al-Hakim, one of the most promising officials in the Swedish top flight, Allsvenskan, launched his page this month with an admission that he should have given a penalty in the game between IFK Norrkoping and AIK and has been praised for his willingness to discuss contentious decisions. “I believe in openness and dialogue,” Al-Hakim told Fotbollskanalen. “The main idea is that I want to create interest [in our occupation] and I think the football family can gain from getting a better insight and understanding of a referee’s situation. I also want the page to inspire more people to become referees, which is an important part of football. I want to show my side of officiating and want to balance the picture [there is of us] in the media. I want to increase the accessibility in the football family.”
The 30-year-old is one of Sweden’s most promising referees and attended an UEFA course in February as he stepped up his efforts to officiate on the international scene. His page received a lot of attention when it was launched with the sentence: “Keep a good tone here and the chances of this page surviving will increase.” He added of the decision he had got wrong: “I should have given a penalty yesterday. Full stop. Now I have seen what you surely have seen already. I’ve seen the replays a few times and looked at stills and different angles. Because what it is about for me, is that I want to learn something and try to understand why I did what I did. I will never be right all the time but it is important to minimise the mistakes and make sure that I am right in the important moments.” He added: “I have got a lot of positive feedback. Of course, there are some negative voices, but the majority has been very positive. The whole idea is just a test, but the Swedish refereeing committee is in on it. They have agreed that I am doing it”. Few days later… "It became huge. Media called from all over the world and I had to tell them about the initiative and why I thought it was good. The problem was that it became too big, too much, too fast. "I don't have time. It was almost a full-time job to maintain quality on the page and interact with all followers, moderate comments and keep watch. I have two jobs, a family and a refereeing career to think of", says Mohammed Al-Hakim, as he continues: "It is really sad. I got a lot of good feedback, but it doesn't work any more, unfortunately".

Source: The Guardian