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Does your reputation precede you?

Even though this was only his sixth game in the Major League Soccer, Referee Ismail Elfath has already handed out four red cards and pointed to the spot on three separate occasions. It seems that Mr. Elfath is not afraid to call a foul when he sees it or dish out severe punishment when he thinks it is merited.  It was no different in this game as Mr. Elfath pointed to the spot two more times. That is five penalties in only six games! The first penalty call came in the 75th minute of the game after Houston’s Macoumba Kandji’s low cross into the five yard box was pounced on by his teammate Will Bruin.  Even though it looked like Bruin would never get to Kandji’s low-cross in time, RSL’s defender Chris Schuler wanted to make sure that he didn’t and pushed him in the back (see video below).  Without any hesitation, Mr. Elfath correctly pointed to the spot. Houston’s Brad Davis, however, was not able to convert the penalty as Nick Rimando made a great diving save.  

 

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Study - ARs make too many inaccurate offside decisions!

As some of you may know, in the last week’s Premier League game between Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers, the assistant referee missed an obvious offside by a proverbial mile. Compounding the mistake, the referee pointed to the spot and sent off the QPR defender for fouling Ashley Young inside the area and denying him an obvious goal scoring opportunity.  Needlessly to say, neither the foul (however it might have been debatable) nor the send off would occur if the assistant referee correctly signaled for the offside.

 

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Proper substitution procedure: why can't referees get it right?!

We watched several local games over the past couple weeks.  It boggled our mind that all of the refereeing crews in all of these games failed to observe and enforce a proper substitution procedure. Unfortunately, this was not something out of ordinary. Over the past several years, we have noticed that referees consistently fail to adhere and enforce the substitution procedure that is spelled out in the Laws of the Game.  For example, referees regularly let substitutes to enter the field of play before substituted players exit it.  Or, the substitutes were allowed to enter the field of play from the area next to their team’s bench and not from the halfway line. We also saw the referees allowing substitutions to take place before their assistant referees were even informed that a team wanted to substitute a player or before a substitution slip was completed.

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Study claims a "sinister bias for calling fouls in soccer."

Have you ever considered that your judgment was biased simply because your brain is wired in such a way as to negatively perceive events unfolding from right-to-left? Well, the scientists at the Neurology Department and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a scientific study to test whether movement from right-to-left (leftward movement) predisposed soccer referees to call a foul. According to the authors of the study, populations that read from left-to-right demonstrate a well-documented perceptual-motor bias which creates discomfort with the leftward motion. This discomfort leads these populations to view or perceive events moving from right-to-left (opposite to the direction in which they read/write) in a negative way. So, for example, readers of left-to-right languages were found to "rate goals scored from left-to-right [rightward motion] as more beautiful than goals scored in the opposite direction." The experiment's hypothesis proposed that American referees (or, simply put, those from western-world nations whose languages are read from left-to-right) would be more predisposed "to call a foul when the direction of play moves leftward."


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