Benjamin Jon Williams,
Dear Mr Williams,
RE: Asian Games - China v Malaysia
I hope this letter reaches you in the finest of health so that you can continue to make a mockery of the beautiful game.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rizal Hashim, a former journalist with the Malay Mail, an English tabloid known for its no-holds barred commentaries and analyses (those days are gone, however). Before I proceed, I must insist that I believe in objectivity and seldom allow myself to be swayed by sentiments or emotion.
However I cannot help but put your refereeing ability into question based on the way you conducted the China-Malaysia tie in the ongoing Asian Games in Guangzhou, where two Malaysian players were given the marching orders in the 27th minute.
The perception was that you were out to facilitate China's entry to the knock-out stages.
I suggest you study the footage of the game.
You would then notice that:
# A few seconds into the game, Malaysian right back Mahali Jasuli was fouled. Not only you refused to blow the whistle, you gave advantage to China. Subsequently Mahali's two-footed lunge was rewarded with a yellow card, with less than three minutes into the game.
# When Mahali lost his composure and kicked the ball away, it was because he felt a sense of injustice as it should have been Malaysia's throw in.
# Now, was Malaysian captain Safiq Rahim spewing obscenities Down Under style that you would be so quick on the draw, brandishing a straight red card seconds after giving Mahali the marching orders? Two players being sent-off simultaneously? Virtually unheard of in these parts...but in A-League, there's every possibility it happens on a weekly basis.
From thereon, the game was no longer being held on a level playing field.
S. Kunanlan's second yellow card? It was neither a life-threatening tackle, a tackle from behind or a karate lunge ala Nigel de Jong. But he became the third player to be given the red card and you duly rewarded China a penalty, how convenient. The 3-0 result became immaterial.
Perhaps Mr Gary Power, the biggest influence in your career and a one-time Asian Football Confederation director of referees, could admonish you in private. Or better still, I hope the match commissioner in tonight's game, Kul Sophana from Cambodia, would have the moral courage to take note of your incompetence and make the necessary recommendation.
In the interim Mr Williams, please consider sticking to teaching. It will serve the rest of the world better! But I would not be surprised if your name is shortlisted for the AFC Awards, if not this year, next year!
Oh before I forget, a friend of mine Syazwan Marzuki, reminded me of the fact that you were also the referee when Malaysia were given a hiding by UAE in early 2009, a loss which drew the infamous "M-League is not football" by coach B. Sathianathan. Read here. I sure hope you have nothing against Malaysia, Mr Williams.
P/S To my fellow Malaysians, coach K Rajagobal and his boys, I salute you.