Ukrainian hero Andriy Shevchenko has been in the spotlight since becoming President of the Ukraine Football Association in late January. Yet, the former striker is doing more than managing the soccer of Ukraine. He is addressing the long-standing problem of referee prejudice.

Several people felt strongly about the selection of Shevchenko as president of the Ukrainian Football Association. The 47-year-old allegedly took over after he tried to have his godfather and predecessor, Pavelko, removed from office.

After just a few months as his replacement, Shevchenko is finally doing something daring to clear Ukrainian domestic soccer of the suspected corruption that has dogged it. To make officiating more open and credible, he is pushing for domestic referees to be subject to lie-detector testing.

“We see the polygraph as an opportunity to obtain clearer information, to understand which referees can do the job and which ones cannot… Information that will help us start from scratch,” he revealed, via Corriere.

He went on to say that, going forward, any referees who do not pass the polygraph would not be able to officiate games. The Athletic further states that the ex-striker’s novel suggestion goes beyond the use of polygraphs.

The present approach takes into account things like match significance, experience and refereeing abilities. He plans to replace it with a random selection mechanism. He intends to radically alter the referee appointment process.

The ongoing accusations of match-fixing have severely damaged the image of Ukrainian soccer. Thus, this suggested move is a part of Shevchenko’s larger effort to clean up the sport and restore its integrity.

Shevchenko to save Ukrainian soccer with polygraph tests?

Given Shevchenko’s unparalleled position in Ukrainian culture and sport, his participation is crucial; especially, in restoring public trust in the country’s corrupt past. Also, the newly appointed chairman of the referee committee for the Ukrainian FA, Kateryna Monzul, is an important person in the field. This group is in charge of the random selection process and the polygraph exams.

Throughout her very successful career as a referee, Monzul was chosen as the top female official in the world in 2015. The first female referee to do so, she presided over three women’s World Cups, the Ukrainian men’s Premier League, men’s World Cup qualifications, Europa League and Nations League matches.

Trust in the esteemed Monzul is rather strong, yet again. She took over for the Italian Luciano Lucci, who had been in charge since 2015.

Mixed feelings about the idea

There was considerable resistance to Andriy Shevchenko and his polygraph tests at the notion’s first discussion last year. Volodymyr Sharan, the former manager of FC Minaj in the Ukrainian Premier League, stated: “Well, that’s too much, I’m sorry. This is control.

“The human factor will always be present, there will (always) be some kind of mistake, you can’t get away from this, but there is VAR insurance. Let’s check the football players and team coaches (instead). We will arrive three hours before the game and pass all the lie detector tests.”

On the other hand, others see it as a step in the right direction.

“It can make refereeing fairer,” former FIFA referee from Ukraine Myroslav Stupar said. “Sometimes arguments can break out between referees and representatives of certain clubs, so it is worth noting that in some games these referees do not judge the matches of the teams with which the conflict arose. I believe that Kateryna Monzul will fix it.”