I'm still seething from yesterday. Ok - they're not all twats. It's a difficult job
But - they are regarded in a different way from their equivalents in other team sports. Cricket umpires and rugby referees make mistakes but are not generally seen, by players and fans, as incompetent (or worse) like most football refs are
Technology is only partly a factor - top level cricket and rugby officials have a lot more help from TV etc (it's only FIFA that thinks this shouldn't happen in football) - but they are also more respected to begin with
I was chatting to a bloke at work who's a rugby fan, and, as a change from the 'all footballers are soft' argument (I have some sympathy here re footballers feigning injury) he was asking why hulking great rugby forwards can just accept decisions against them while footballers surround the ref. I said that yes, things like that famous picture of Roy Keane shouting in the refs face doesn't show the sport in a good light, and players should respect refs more than they do - but it's hard to respect them when they're such utter twats!
So what do we think?
Is football inherently more difficult to referee?
Is the background of referees a factor? - none to my knowledge have been players at any significant level. Cricket umpires are virtually all ex-county players
Some would say that it matters that cricket and rugby are mainly played by the middle classes. (rugby's a working class game in Wales and pockets of England - the South West and East Midlands) Is this a factor?