For Kreis sake. RSL manager's post-game rant must be punished.
By Oliver Wilson
How long do you think Jason Kreis would be banned for if he was under the scrutiny of the French Football Federation? 6-7 months?
While Leonardo at Paris St Germain is left to sit and wonder why he ever decided to appeal his 9-month touchline ban for ‘shoving' a referee in the tunnel at the end of last season - a ban that has now been extended to 13-months by the FFF- 40-year-old coach, Kreis, will be left in suspense as waits to findout what sanctions will be placed on him by Major League Soccer after his post-game rant on Wednesday.
The Real Salt Lake manager's recent outburst is still ringing in the ears of all those who were present at his post-match press conference, after his MLS table topping side managed to scrape a draw against the Philadelphia Union, a game that saw RSL fall a man behind midway through the second half.
Lovel Palmer's strong challenge on the Union's Michael Farfan was, without a doubt, a tough call in the eyes of any referee and when Ismail Elfath produced the red card, there was always going to be dissenters, both in the crowd and on the pitch. Elfath's decision to give Palmer his marching orders were inspired by the hop step the RSL player performed before lunging into his hefty challenge. While Palmer's foot was on the ground just before he made a connection with the ball at Farfan's feet, the hop step, in the rush of the moment, gave the impression that Palmer had jumped into the challenge and excessively used force in a wild lunge. The replay, of course, proved RSL fans to be correct in their indignation of the decision as Palmer trudged off the pitch, but Elfath felt in that moment, that the Salt Lake player had jumped and was right to send him off.
"That referee was not ready to referee that game in my opinion," burst out the RSL manager after the game.
"I think he was in the wrong pool. That game - a sellout crowd, a July 4th crowd, in front of our fans and that atmosphere we provide here - was too much for what I think is a very inexperienced referee that doesn't have a real good feel for the game."
Kreis' words call into question the ability of the man in charge of the game and, unlike the shove from the Brazilian coach in Paris, has now left a big question mark hanging over the referees head, calling into question his ability and integrity. Kreis’ rant has made it difficult for players on the pitch to treat Elfath’s decisions as gospel. The Salt Lake Manager has failed to look at the decision with any perspective of just how difficult it was to make in that flash of a moment and his words should result in a touchline ban and a hefty fine.
Palmer, unlike his manager, was able to keep his cool even sympathise with the man in black - or in this case yellow - after the game.
"He's human, it was real time; I'm not going to bash him," said the midfielder when questioned about the incident.
"It's a part of the game. He made a call that he thought was a red-card challenge."
If the player who suffered as a result of a questionable call can speak after a game in a cool calm and collected manner, Kreis, an experienced manager, should be able to replicate this. Instead he soared into a tirade of unnecessary scrutiny at a referee who made a debatable call, not a out-and-out wrong decision and now must face the consequences.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and others have all faced touchline bans for confronting and bringing referees qualities into question in public and now the 40-year-old MLS coach is joining their ranks. The federation should come down harshly on Kreis to show faith in it's referees and to support Elfath for his decision in a very difficult situation. They also need to show that managers, however experienced or talented they are on the sideline, can’t go berating officials and calling their ability to understand the game into question. If Elfath wasn’t fit to call that game, he wouldn’t hold a referees license, nor would he have been allocated it by the league.
We don’t want to see a tolerance of this sort of outburst in Major League Soccer regardless of how much you agree with Elfath. Referees will make mistakes and managers should be allowed to say whether or not they agree with the man in the middle’s calls, but they should not be able to question how suitable a referee is to handle a game. That is for the league to decide, not them.