Chapter 24 – To go down or not to go down!

There’s been a lot said in football recently about players going to ground too easily and getting penalties and players who stay on their feet after being fouled and not being awarded a penalty.

Recently I took charge of a match where I awarded a penalty for the latter.

The attacker ran into the area and went past the defenders outstretched leg. He was knocked off balance but stayed upright but the opportunity for him to shoot was pretty much gone as his stumble meant that other defenders were able to get to the ball.

So what was the reaction to my decision?

When I blew my whistle, the fouled player was already turning around to half heartedly appeal for a spot kick. I didn’t hear or notice any appeals from his teammates. Not that it would effect me either way.

The defending team protested their offending teammates innocence, again this would not affect my decision. I have seen players kick lumps out of someone only to turn to me and say ‘I never touched him!’

They were meant with a stern response from me. “Did he touch the ball? No! Did he touch the player? Yes, penalty!”

This ended their protests and the penalty was taken and scored as I moved back towards the centre circle not one bad word was said to me. I think everyone agreed it was a penalty, you just don’t see them given without the attacking player going down very often.

At half time I spoke with my assistant who was near the incident and I asked him for his opinion. He told me that he felt that it was the right decision, but a brave move to award it. He said that he’s not sure if he would’ve given it because of the potential backlash and because it would be expected not to be given.

I asked him if it had happened near the half way line would he give a free kick? He said that he would. My response was “so what’s the difference?”

On the way home I thought about what I said in previous chapters and that if I was watching Match of the Day and the referee had not given it I would be typing away on here as to how wrong he was!

Of course it’s all about views and opinions. To me that’s one of the greatest things about out beautiful game.