Referees and umpires come under fire regularly from players and fans alike, more often for marginal decisions that goes against the disgruntled teams or players.
However, there are also instances where the decisions are so blatantly biased that it defies logic.
Technical officials wield plenty of power on the playing arena and are expected to give unbiased decisions in line with the games rules and regulations. The decisions made by them are rarely overturned.
The introduction of the VAR has in some way helped to eradicate a number of questionable decisions made by the technical officials. This despite the ongoing controversial decisions based on VAR itself.
There has been cases were referees have been kicked out of the sport for their role in match fixing. Corrupt technical officials do it for a couple of reasons. Apart from earning easy money from bookies, sometimes it is because they want their preferred team or player to win. These could be for monetary gain or to help the unqualified gain a status they cannot get legitimately.
In India just last week, the All India Inter-University swimming meet at the Lovely Professional University in Punjab was shrouded by controversy.
Several swimmers had complained that the results were rigged to help swimmers from the state.
In two videos shared on Twitter, it could clearly be seen a swimmer who got off the block far too quickly was not penalised and allowed to finish the race.
Indian media had reported that automatic touch pads were available but were not used with the officials relying on manual time-keeping.
National champion Sriohari Natraj, who opted to race at the meet instead of the Fina World Cup in Kazan, was reported to have said that the swimmers received death threats when they complained about the discrepancies to the officials.
Another top Indian swimmer Kushagra Rawat was reported to have relegated to the silver medal despite finishing first. The results of his 400m freestyle event was only declared 24 hours later with the swimmer from the host university being awarded the gold.
The fiasco saw the Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju stepping in to resolve the malpractices.
Technical Officials in a sporting event are vital in sports, both for the athletes and the fans. They are expected to lay down the law of the sports without any ill-intention, bias or prejudice.
When the technical officials go rogue, it affects the sanctity of their profession as well as the sports itself.
Take the case of former professional NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who in 2007 was convicted for betting on games that he officiated as well as making calls that affected the point spread in those games.
Earlier this year, FIFA banned Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou, who found guilty of taking bribes to fix the results of matches he officiated. Although FIFA never revealed the matches involved, Chaibou awarded three penalties to South Africa in their 5-0 win in a 2010 friendly match against Guatemala. Betting monitoring agencies noted a spike in wagers in the match.
Last year, the Referees Association of Ghana banned more than 60 officials who had conspired to fix match results for money. Many of them were secretly filmed accepting bribes by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
In June 2004, thirty-three people including nineteen referees of the South African Football Association were arrested on match-fixing charges.
Thirty six boxing referees and judges who officiated at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics were barred from working at further boxing events for their role in questionable decisions at the Games.
Last year, three tennis umpires – Anucha Tongplew, Apisit Promchai and Chitchai Srililai – from Thailand were handed life bans for match-fixing and betting offences, including manipulating the official scoring system during matches.
The incident in India may seem isolated, but it is being widely reported in Indian media that such practices have been rampant in the sport as well in many other sports.
The chance of representing the nation also gives these athletes the chance to a better career outside sports. Appointments to government departments and even big corporations comes quickly for those who represent the country at the international arena.
And for many young Indian sportsmen, sports gives them a way to break free from poverty. Match officials and in many cases office bearers of sports associations use this desperation for their own personal financial gains.
Match officials are the vital cogs in ensuring sports keeps its ideals. Rules ensures a level playing field. When a game is officiated by a corrupt official, there are no rules. And without rules, there is no sports.