A top-flight referee in Sweden has created a Facebook page to explain his refereeing decisions to fans.
Mohammed al-Hakim, who officiates in the Swedish Allsvenskan, will also give online viewers more of an insight and understanding of refereeing – and hopefully inspire a new generation of young referees.
Upon introducing his new page online, the 30-year-old referee led with an admission of guilt, acknowledging he should have given a penalty in a match between IFK Norrkoping and AIK.
“I believe in openness and dialogue,” said the FIFA-trained Al-Hakim. “The main idea is that I want to create interest and I think the football family can gain from getting a better insight and understanding of a referee’s situation.”
Despite some expected negative comments, Al-Hakim’s idea has been largely met with positive feedback. The idea is certainly an interesting one, and one that has been debated before, albeit not necessarily through social media.
Following Simon Hooper’s decision to disallow Cameron Jerome’s goal on the opening day of the Premier League season, the Norwich City striker tweeted his belief that officials should explain their decisions to the media after the match.
Although Al-Hakim is being backed by the authorities in Scandinavia, the PGMOL in England have spoken on the matter and do not believe their officials should open social media accounts, although the option is there should they wish to.
A spokesman for the PGMOL said: “We cannot prevent our referees from setting up social media sites but we advise them not to.
“Sweden is not a global league like ours. Fans of Premier League clubs can be very partisan and not always reasonable or rational, particularly towards referees.
“Where referees are concerned, people tend to pile in on social media, often using the most vitriolic language. We don’t think referees need that, and nor do we think it would encourage more people to take it up.”