A Swedish football referee has turned to social networking site Facebook to explain the calls he has made in the sport, in the hope that it will give fans a new found understanding and viewpoint of the beautiful game.
Referee Mohammed Al-Hakim is one of the Scandinavian country’s most highly rated officials and works in the Allsvenskan, the top division of Swedish football. He created a page on the popular social network earlier this month with the intention of inspiring a new generation of referees.
The page immediately attracted attention upon its launch. which featured the sentence:
“Keep a good tone here and the chances of this page surviving will increase.”
The page has had a mixed bag of responses, but this does not faze the Swede, who explained to reporters that he can admit to a mistake.
The 30-year-old’s approach to the page has been very open and honest, with one of his posts explaining that he should have awarded a penalty in a match he oversaw between AIK and IFK Norrkoping in his native country.
Social media usage is often a major talking point in the sport, with many players and coaches receiving both positive and negative feedback for their conduct on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Associations such as the FA in England will often hand out bans and fines to players who misbehave online, with former England defender Rio Ferdinand being a high profile example.
However, Al-Hakim’s approach could be considered a success in terms of the reputation management of football officials, who often come under a lot of pressure online because of decisions they have made on the pitch and do not always have the platform to respond.