Does A Red Card That Was Harsh Mean It Was Wrong?

Upton Park is into its last season before West Ham United’s move to the Olympic Stadium, and the club are trying to make it a memorable one, and this weekends first home fixture of this campaign against Leicester City is one they may want to forget.

Referee Anthony Taylor was one of my assessments from last weekend, and although Stoke Vs Liverpool wasn’t a memorable game, Anthony Taylor had a very good game and did not put a foot wrong. This weekend he found himself at the center of controversy, but did he get the big calls right?

The first time he was called upon to make a decision he got it right. Jamie Vardy chased a lost caused but caught up with the ball as Adrian had come off his line to clears,as the ball bounced up and the keeper clears the ball Leicester striker goes for the ball but catches Adrián. Free kick and a yellow card was exactly what was required.

Vardy attempts to win the ball but catches Adrián

Vardy attempts to win the ball but catches Adrián

With Leicester taking a 2-0 lead in the first half with two quick goals, they looked comfortable as the game headed to halftime. Diafra Sakho chased onto a through ball as Leicester’s ‘keeper Kasper Schmeichel came out to close the angle down. The Hammers’ striker got to the ball first and then a collision occurred, with Anthony Taylor not giving a penalty it is safe to assume he judged it to be a coming together, which was my first reaction. Replays clearly show Schmeichel sticking an arm out and bringing Sakho down. I don’t think the Foxes stopper should have been sent off but possibly a yellow card and a definite penalty. This was a major error by Anthony Taylor, although he doesn’t have access to the replays to help him with the decision, he should’ve been in a position to anticipate something happening. He wasn’t helped by his assistant, who was closer to the incident and should have seen the arm coming up after the ball was past the keeper.

Kasper Schmeichel clearly impeeds West Ham's Sakho

Kasper Schmeichel clearly impeeds West Ham’s Sakho

With the game poised at 2-1 in the dying minutes and West Ham chasing the game Adrián comes up for a corner. The corner is cleared by Leicester and Adrián, with his back to Leicesters goal, attempts to kick the ball over his head up in the air and back in to the area. In doing so he catches Vardy in the stomach. The West Ham ‘keeper and the rest of the players felt that it was a harsh red card, but I think Anthony Taylor got this one right.

Adrián catches Vardy in the stomach

Adrián catches Vardy in the stomach

There’s no question about Adrián not meaning it. The referee wouldn’t have seen where Adrián’s eyes were but i think it was obvious to him that he didn’t deliberately kick his opponent. However that doesn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous, and serious foul play. Going by his post match interview I don’t think Slaven Billic will appeal the red card. It’s certainly not violent conduct but will be considered to be serious foul play which is a red card offence. If I’m wrong and Anthony Taylor has issued a red card for violent conduct then it should be over turned.

Not the best day at the office for the referee, Anthony Taylor

Not the best day at the office for the referee, Anthony Taylor

New Season, New Stance From The FA

So the 2015/16 season is upon us and I heard something recently, that, as a referee, has made me very happy!

The English FA are set to fine clubs when their players surround the referee! It’s about time! I remember years ago, what is probably the most famous incident of players rounding up on a referee, players from Manchester United surrounding referee Andy D’Urso after he gave a penalty to Middlesbrough at Old Trafford, and even at the time wondered why the referee didn’t take more action!

D'Urso surrounded my Man Utd players in 2000

D’Urso surrounded my Man Utd players in 2000

It goes on far too much and I’m glad the FA are starting to act. Better late than never I suppose. I’ve always felt that referee at the very top seem to accept dissent when done in groups. Maybe they felt they had no support from the top. Now they do but I still hope for the day that a referee issues a yellow card to each member of the herd that surrounds him hurling abuse at him, then a second yellow followed by a red. If Andy D’Urso had done that Manchester United would have had 4 players sent off!

As I mentioned in my previous post I will be assessing referees for and the first weekends fixtures I’ll taking a look at Michael Oliver’s game on Saturday evening, Chelsea Vs Swansea and on Sunday Anthony Taylor’s Sunday clash Stoke City Vs Liverpool. I’m looking forward to covering both games!

Chapter 12 – That’s a penalty ref!

At Upton Park this weekend we saw a few controversial decisions. So how did the referee come to make the decisions that he did?

Approaching half-time with the scores level, Liverpool attack looking to break the deadlock before the interval. As Luis Suarez tries to plays the ball past James Tomkins, the defender leaves his arm out and moves his hand in the direction of the ball. The referee acts as he should by awarding the penalty and issuing a yellow card to Tomkins for deliberate handball. Not a difficult one for Anthony Taylor.

20140408-145242.jpgTompkins handles in the first half

Before the half is up, West Ham force a corner. As the ball is played in, Andy Carroll jumps up leading with his arms and goes in to Mignolet, causing the Liverpool keeper to drop the ball and Guy Demel flicks the ball in the net and runs off to celebrate, the goal is awarded but his assistant is flagging and Anthony Taylor goes over to speak to him. After a few moments he stands by his original decision and allows the goal.

So why did the assistant flag? Why did the referee overrule him?

Did the assistant think it was handball by Carroll? Or was he saying it was a foul on the keeper?

It’s easy for us all watching on tele to say it was a foul but you need to remember the officials don’t have that view! They can only base their decisions on what they see. If the referee believes his view is better than that of his assistant then he can overrule the flag, which on this occasion he did, even though he’ll realise later he should’ve listened to his assistant as it was a clear infringement by Carroll on the Liverpool keeper.

20140408-144455.jpgCarroll’s unpunished foul on Mignolet

The second penalty awarded to Liverpool was a controversial decision. The replays show than the Liverpool fullback Flanagan got to the ball before Adrian, but the hammers keeper got a touch on the ball before his momentum took him into his opponent. So based on that, it shouldn’t have been awarded, but remember, the referee doesn’t have the replays to refer to.

20140408-151033.jpgAdrian just gets a touch on the ball

As a referee, when a challenge happens one of the things to look out for is the direction of the ball afterwards. If the ball has changed direction that’s usually a good indication that the defending player has won the ball. But the referee has to be 100% sure before awarding a free kick or penalty.

In this case, the ball didn’t really change direction, so upon Anthony Taylor seeing the touch by Flanagan wouldn’t have seen the touch by Adrian therefor he would’ve been 100% in his mind that it was a foul. He gave himself a few moments to think about the situation too. The assistant on the far side would not have able to give it as it was not in his jurisdiction. The referee was in a good position, it just happens that something’s are not easy to spot, due to players blocking his line of vision.

20140408-143037.jpgThe areas the assistant should flag if he sees an infringement

This isn’t a case of bad refereeing or the ref trying to make amends for incorrectly allowing the west ham goal to stand, it’s just a case of bad luck for the Hammers and good fortune for Liverpool.

Would technology help? Would extra officials help? If they were behind the goals like they are in European games could they make the correct call? I would have the extra official on the other side to where they are in the Champions League as it would give the team of officials greater coverage of angles. Having said that, if they were there right in front of the incident would he/she have been too close to it to see it as clear as the TV cameras.

Another call by Anthony Taylor that upset Luis Suarez, was the decision not to award a third penalty to Liverpool after ball hit Armero on the hand. The ball flicked up off the Columbians foot and as he was moving backwards and the ball hit his hand. The reason this is not a penalty is the defenders hand was in a natural position and he made no movement of his arm towards the ball.

Football fans are too quick to judge the ref when things go against their team!

Could they do a better job? Probably not!