Considered to be one of the toughest jobs in any profession, the man in the middle has an arduous task in keeping everyone happy. Whether they are called arbitre or a Schiedsrichter in German, a referee has to take a number of different factors into consideration.

In the first instance, they have to take into account the fact that they are certainly not going to please everyone. It is simply impossible due to the nature of the game. However, a ref has to be wary of both coaches who may not be happy at certain decisions during the match. This is all the more so as it could be the difference between a goal as well as a penalty and even a controversial offside decision.

In fact, in some cases, it can make or break a team’s season which all boils down to the man in the black or sometimes yellow jersey. It is a symbol of trust as like a conductor the referee has to guide the teams through the full 90 minutes plus over time. Yet, this does not detract from the fact that some refs just get it wrong. They can be the bane of many a coach not to mention supporter as it falls to an individual to make a crucial decision.

Unfortunately for some, this goes horribly wrong due to pressure or a simple catastrophic error beyond measure. One prime example involved a European tie between Liverpool and AS Roma. Taking place at Anfield, it was one of the most ridiculous decisions that the Merseysiders have probably see. Jose Maria-Garcia-Aranda awarded to Roma a penalty after German defender Marcus Babbel was adjudged to have handled in the penalty box. A penalty was awarded but he then decided to change his mind and award a corner. But what are some of the other worst refereeing decisions of all time?

10. Leeds United

At the end of the day, a dreadful decision can cost a team, even the league title. At the time when Leeds United were in their heyday they were also going for a title challenge. That is until referee Ray Tinkler stepped in with a most outrageous decision that would play a significant role in ensuring they lost the game. The game was contested between Leeds and West Bromwich Albion. After the linesman waves play on to West Brom player Colin Suggett everyone stops as he is clearly in an offside position. Everyone including the Leeds defense can clearly see that the referee should blow up for a free kick. However, Tinkler continues to play despite the protests and everyone remaining stationary. He plays iconic West Brom striker Jeff Astle in for a tap in at the far post. Consequently Leeds ended up losing out in the title race to Arsenal.

9. Kieran Gibbs

via bbc.co.uk

via bbc.co.uk

Over to Stamford Bridge and one of the most highly anticipated of any Premier League games. This particular match pitted the might of Chelsea versus Arsenal and it became renowned for a host of reasons. This was because not only did the Blues run out winners by six goals to nil but Arsene Wenger has still never beaten Mourinho. The Frenchman has still not found a way to beat the Portuguese manager in a dozen matches. After a handball on the goal line involving what looked like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the referee decided to send off Kieran Gibbs instead. In a case of mistaken identity the referee was left with plenty of egg on his face after the full time whistle.

8. Graham Poll

One of the most iconic refereeing gaffes goes to former Premier League referee Graham Poll. Although this time, it took place during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The match was running as smoothly as possible until Poll brandished the yellow card to Croatian player Josip Simunic. Yet what was so unique in this case was the fact that Poll dished out the card on three separate occasions to exactly the same player.

7. Stuart Attwell

Better known as the ghost goal, Stuart Atwell was at the centre of attention for an incredible howler involving Watford and Reading. The youngest Premier League referee at the time, Attwell awarded a goal to Reading when the ball had clearly gone nowhere near the net. This off target strike which was after less than 15 minutes will go down in history for all the wrong reasons. As the ball was hooked back from the byline and bobbled out, he awarded the goal. However, as a result of this phantom strike, Attwell was dropped by the powers that be for a series of games.

6. Rivaldo

Even world famous stars can be embroiled in refereeing fiascos. This is precisely what happened to former Barcelona and AC Milan forward Rivaldo. The ex-Brazilian international was playing in the World Cup when Turkish player Hakan Unsal kicked the ball against him on the legs. Yet this is not how Rivaldo reacted as he clutched his face and was sent sprawling to the ground as if someone has shot him. Neither the referee nor linesman who was metres away did not see this act of simulation. Subsequently, Rivaldo was punished by the authorities and had to pay in excess of $10,000 worth of costs for his actions.

5. Thierry Henry

Another referee who failed to spot an obvious blunder was in the game between France and the Republic of Ireland. There was a lot riding on this specific match as it was a playoff  to see who would go through to the World Cup in 2010. The first game not to mention the second game ended up one nil with Robbie Keane taking the tie into extra time.

With France on the attack, as the ball was crossed in, it fell to Thierry Henry who handled the ball, passed it across to his teammate, who got the ball into the back of the Irish net. Many Republic hearts were broken that night as Henry quite literally struck. France went on to qualify and despite protests to have the match replayed, it never came to fruition.

4. Harald Schumacher

There is only one Harald Schumacher and low and behold, the German keeper makes it on to the list. This is largely in part thanks to the ineptitude of the referee who should have sent him off. This occurred during the 1982 World Cup where France were defeated on penalties by the Germans. Yet, Schumacher should not have even been on the pitch after his horrific tackle on France’s Patrick Battiston. The former launched himself on the latter and clattered Battiston, whilst knocking him out and breaking several teeth in the process. The upshot was that referee instead awarded a goal kick.

3. Chris Foy

Without question, the worst refereeing error this season in the Premier League goes to none other than Chris Foy. Taking place at White Hart Lane just a few months ago, Tottenham Hotspur were up against Sunderland. With the Black Cats in the relegation mire, every point counts but as goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went up for a corner in the last few minutes, everything kicked off. With a gaping goal, Spurs managed to win the ball and with the goalie languishing the ball was passed to Jan Vertonghen to slot into an empty net from the halfway line. However, Chris Foy thought otherwise and the goal was ruled out for offside despite the ball being passed well inside the Tottenham defender’s half.

2. Pedro Mendes

A goal being ruled out can be extremely aggravating but when the ball is so far over the line, it becomes comical. This is exactly what transpired at Old Trafford where Manchester United faced Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs forward Pedro Mendes launched the ball from near the halfway line in what was an audacious shot. As it looped into Roy Carroll’s hands the former Reds keeper had the misfortune of the ball slipping out of his hands and into the net. The ball was a good yard or possibly two over the line as Carroll attempted to scoop it out with his hands. The goal was never given in what was a catastrophic error.

1. Ball Boy Scores

A tale which is barely believable took place in South America where Santacruzense were playing against Atletico Sorocaba. A bizarre decision of the highest order occurred when the referee decided to award a goal when a ballboy came on to the pitch and placed the ball in the opposition’s net. The initial shot was disappointing and went wide of the posts. But as the players as well as the referee made their way back to the halfway line, the ball boy struck and put a ball over the line. Despite the lack of appeals, the goal stood and the Brazilian in charge was duly suspended.

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