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EPL Referee overrides the Laws of the Game with his own notions of “fair-play” and “common sense.”

Mike Jones signals for throw-inReferee Mike Jones found himself both criticized and praised for his decision to disallow a goal scored by a Norwich midfielder, Leroy Fer, in the 94th minute of the last week's premier league fixture between Norwich City and Cardiff.  The controversy arose after Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall threw the ball out of bounds for a throw-in in order that a medical/trainer's assistance be provided to Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey, who went down “injured” in the midfield.  Soon after, Referee Jones beckoned to Norwich player standing by the touchline to resume play and proceed with the thrown-in.  The Norwich player complied, but to Cardiff players’ dismay and disbelief, instead of giving it back to them, he threw-in the ball to his teammate Leory Fer who promptly kicked the ball into Cardiff’s unoccupied goal. 

 

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PRO's questionable advice to assistant referees!

TorontovDCunitedSomething remarkable happened after Mr. Adam Garner, the far-side Assistant Referee in the Toronto v. DC United match, indicated that a foul was committed.  And no, we are not talking about the excellent decision by the Referee Ted Unkel who waived off Mr. Garner’s foul signal and allowed play to continue, which ultimately resulted in a goal.  No, we are not talking about that here although Mr. Unkel’s decision does deserve praise.  Instead, we are talking about Professional Referee Organization heaping praise on the Assistant Referee Garner for supposedly “correctly” signaling for a free-kick and “encourag[ing] ARs to take responsibility when foul challenges occur within their area” without any regard to – nay, in clear contradiction of – the express provisions of the FIFA Laws of the Game, directives issued by IFAB and advise provided by the United States Soccer Federation.      

 

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When seconds really matter…

Chivas USA v. SoundersReferee Mark Geiger was accosted by angry Chivas USA players immediately after he blew his final whistle ending the encounter between Seattle Sounders FC and Chivas USA yesterday.  The Chivas players were incensed by Mr. Geiger’s decision to end the game before the added time actually expired.  As it is customary, and required by the Laws of the Game, at the of the final minute of the match, the fourth official indicated that the referee decided to add 3 minutes to the game.  In the last minute of the match, with literally only a few seconds to go, Seattle’s goalkeeper, Michael Gspurning, released the ball from his possession and then, in order to prevent the Chivas striker to collect the loose ball, he picked it up again.  Of course, given that the subsequent touch of the ball by the Seattle goalkeeper occurred without an intervening touch by another player, the goalkeeper committed the so-called “double touch” infringement and Mr. Geiger would have been required to award an indirect free kick to Chivas USA (fortuitously, we wrote extensively about the double touch infringement and referees' failure to enforce it in our recent blog here).

 

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Goalkeeper’s endangered species status must end!

b2ap3_thumbnail_goalkeeper1.jpgIn no small part inspired by a discussion on our Referee Forum, we decided to write about one very particular aspect of the Laws of the Game that is rarely talked about and even less frequently seen enforced by referees.  This article was also inspired by what we believe is a preferential treatment that is afforded to goalkeepers on the field of play. It seems to us that a lot of referees, players, commentators - and certainly goalkeepers - think that a goalkeeper is an “endangered species” on the field and should be “protected” at all cost.  Like a Siberian Tiger, he must be protected for fear of extinction. 

 

Thus, it is no surprise to see that whenever there is a challenge on a goalkeeper many referees almost instinctively reach for their whistle and call a foul.  Or, for example, take the six second rule and answer this question: how many times did you see it violated but unenforced? Dare we say that the answer is too many to count?  Anyway, goalkeepers are not on the endangered species list the last time we checked and are not afforded any special privileges under the Laws of the Game (save for being able to handle a ball inside their own penalty area) and referees should apply and enforce the Laws of the Game equally to them and their conduct. This selective enforcement must stop! Period!       

 

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New Offside Law - clear as mud!

b2ap3_thumbnail_fifa-laws.jpgDuring the International Football Association Board (IFAB) Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh on March 2, 2013, IFAB considered a number of proposals to amend the Laws of the Game.  Among the proposals considered were changes to Law 11 – Offside that were submitted for IFAB’s consideration by FIFA.  In particular, FIFA wanted to discuss how to clarify and eliminate confusion “regarding what is meant by rebound, deflection and when the ball has been deliberately saved.”  In the opinion of FIFA, the wording of Law 11 was not precise enough and left “too much room for interpretation.” 

 

Ultimately, in its Circular No. 1362, IFAB announced that it approved the various instructions, directives and amendments to the Laws of the Game, including those related to Law 11 – Offside.    These changes became effective July 1, 2013. 

 

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