Law Changes

With the new season getting ever closer, I thought it would be good to look at some of the changes to the laws of the game (LOTG) that the IFAB have made.

The most notable change is to Law 8, The Start and Restart of Play. The ball now no longer needs to be played forward. When refereeing young children I would sometimes have to tell them that they needed to play it into the oppositions half. Thinking about it I’ve had to tell a few adult teams too! Another change to this law is the restart at corners and free-kicks. “Clearly moves” has been added to the law so teams will no longer be able to do sly touches to catch their opponents off guard, like Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs did to Chelsea in 2009.

Another one that stands out is a change to what is being called the ‘triple punishment law’. Previously if a player player committed a foul and it denied a goal scoring opportunity he would’ve automatically been sent off. Now, if the foul is deemed to be accidental as opposed to reckless a yellow card will be enough punishment. I think this is a good change and will keep the games competitive.

When a player goes down injured, if the offending player is cautioned or sent off, the injured player does now not need to leave the field of play for quick treatment.For me this should have been changed to be under the referees control completely. A player could pick up and injury from a challenge that does not warrant a yellow or red card, but he/she may not really need to leave the pitch for treatment.

Players will no longer be booked for a handball stopping an opponent receiving possession of the ball but will be cautioned if it stops a promising attack. I can see this still causing controversy as it will be the referees opinion if the attack was going to be promising or not, and the TV pundits will have looked at 100 different camera angles to prove the referee wrong!

Also being outlawed is the last second stutter before taking a penalty, with those found guilty of the illegal feint will be shown a yellow card and an indirect free-kick awarded to the opposition. This will be interesting to see this one enforced!

 

A Top Performance From A Top Referee

There’s plenty I could talk about after week three of the Premier League. I will focus on one game and one incident in particular, West Brom Vs Chelsea and the John Terry sending off.

Usually all you here on social media and in the papers is how poor referees are and how they don’t know what they’re doing. Mark Clattenburg was the man in the middle for this Sunday afternoon game and once the final whistle had gone my first thought was that I have just seen the best refereeing performance in a long time

Every decision that he had to make was correct. He had a fair bit to deal with and wasn’t fazed by any of it. The penalty awarded to West Brom was correct. He didn’t blow for it straight away he gave himself a moment to think about it.

John Terry hasn’t had the best starts to the season and it didn’t get any better for him here. Brunt played a good ball up to Rondon and Terry was going shoulder to shoulder with the striker and just as they were about to go in to the penalty area Rondon just started to edge in front and Terry gave a little tug of his opponents arm and down the West Brom man went.

Terry receives his marching orders from Mark Clattenburg

Terry receives his marching orders from Mark Clattenburg

Some would argue that he went down a little to easy but that doesn’t mean there was no foul. Mark Clattenburg blew straight away and indicated a free kick. As he walked towards the area he would’ve been assessing what was in front of him so he could decide, if necessary, what further action was needed. It would’ve been clear to him that had the foul not occurred then Rondon would’ve had a clean shot at goal. There was nothing Clattenburg could do other than show the red card. Although I thought for a second it would only be yellow but it was just his cards sticking together.

Also Mr Clattenburg’s man management skills were superb in this game. There was a coming together between Diego Costa and Yacob, he quickly diffused the situation but calling both players plus their captains. Their heads came together at one point but he was able to deal with it with words. This isn’t always easy as sometimes players will go ‘yeah ok, whatever ref’ then the next time they’d be near each other they would be trying to have a kick, but on this occasion there was no further incidents between the two.

A fine performance by a top referee, and in my honest opinion, the best in England at the moment

The Premier League Is Back And So Is The Controversy!

So the Barclays Premier League kicked off this weekend and it gave us the usual controversial incidents!

A lot was made of the goalkeeping situation at Chelsea over the summer, and it should be that a Chelsea ‘keeper is the major talking point of the weekends games.

The officials did well to work as a team, as Chelsea’s Courtois was given a red card. The first decision they got right was keeping the flag down as the Blues defence thought Gomis was offside, but he was played onside by Willian. As Gomis then took the ball towards the area, Courtois came running off his line to challenge him. The Frenchman then looked to knock the ball past him but was caught by the ‘keeper. There’s no question it was a foul but the big question was where did it occur. Michael Oliver was a little bit behind the play due to the quickness of the break by Swansea but got himself into the best possible position to see if there was any infringement, his assistant on the far side was in a fantastic position to see the foul happened just inside the area.

The biggest decision Michael Oliver had to make was the colour of the card he was to give to Courtois. He went for red, for denying a goalscoring opportunity. This has split the masses. I think its 50/50 in whether it was right or wrong. Mr Oliver has felt that the two Chelsea defenders that were trying to get back, wouldn’t have done so in time. My personal view is that the speed of the ball and Gomis plus the angle if he’d shot first time meant it wasn’t a clear opportunity to score. If he had taken a touch I believe that Cahill would’ve closed down enough and John Terry would have reached the goal line, so still not an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea's Courtois his marching orders

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea’s Courtois his marching orders

If I had been the referee I think I would have done the same as Michael Oliver, as soon as the foul happened he would have looked towards the goal and seen the space behind Chelsea’s ‘keeper and felt red was his only option. I think Michael Oliver had a good game and controlled the game well.

Another decision by a referee that has caused a bit of controversy was the decision by  Simon Hooper to rule out an effort by Jerome, his acrobatic equaliser was ruled out for a high foot. Yes it was high but was it dangerous? Its hard to argue with the reasoning behind the referees decision but II felt that it wasn’t dangerous play and the goal should have stood. If Jerome had his studs showing towards his opponent then I would say that’s dangerous play.

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome's goal

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome’s goal

It easy for us watching at home to see all the replays and angles but all that matters is the refs view!

Chapter 27 – Spot on!

A lot of controversial decisions were made by the men in the middle in the recent round of Premier League games.

At Southampton Vs Swansea there were calls for Fraser Forster to be sent off but the referee, Andre Mariner, got this right as it was more of a coming together. The keepers momentum took him into Sunderland’s Fletcher

In the Manchester City Vs Tottenham game we saw a record equalling four penalties awarded!

The first was awarded to City for a push on Lampard by Lamela. The view referee Jonathan Moss had it looked like a nudge in the back. Lampard was very clever to win the penalty. Having seen all the replays I wouldn’t have given it bit if I had the view of Mr Moss then I would have.

IMG_3339.JPGMan City’s Lampard wins the first of 4 penalties in this game

The second City penalty was awarded for a foul on Silva by Kaboul. Not sure how anyone could argue with this decision although it didn’t stop Kaboul protesting his innocence. If you go to ground like the Spurs defender did then you have to take he ball. Very risky to go to ground like that especially in the area!

In amongst all the penalties awarded there was a shout for one which was rightly turned down. Sagna, only being a few yards away from the shot, couldn’t have done much to get out of the way and this was definitely a case of ball to hand.

The next spot kick was awarded to Spurs after Di Michelles had clipped Soldado. Replays show that the contact was outside but to be fair to the referee and the assistant on that side how quickly it happened it would’ve been difficult to know it was outside as it was so clots to the line and Soldado fell a few feet into the area. This was very unfortunate. If the officials had access to video replays it could’ve been correctly awarded as a free kick without any additional delay to the game.

The forth and last penalty of this game involved a red card. As the ball is played across the six yard box Fazio pulls Aguero. Jonathan Moss did very well here as he waited a few seconds before awarding the spot kick because the outcome could’ve been different. If the ball is cleared before it would got to Aguero then Fazio would only receive a yellow card. This has to be the best piece if refereeing I’ve seen this season.

IMG_3340.JPGFazio is told to go for an early shower!

Crystal Palace against Chelsea is a game, despite being a London derby, that you would’ve though would go by without much incident, but there was a few moments of controversy.

John Terry avoided a booking after fouling Frazier Campbell. He slid in to attend win the ball and stop Palace going on the counter attack but Campbell was a little big too quick. The ref was right not to book Terry as the challenge was more careless than reckless.

A few moments later Delaney goes in to tackle Remy, but the Chelsea striker nicked the ball away and the Palace player clattered his opponent. The decision to book Delaney was correct as I would say the challenge was reckless.

Azpilicueta received his marching orders after he slid in to a challenge with Palace’s Jedinak with his studs high. This was clearly a challenge with excessive force and the referee was correct in issuing a straight red.

IMG_3341.JPGPoor challenge from Azpilicueta

Delaney then received a second yellow card, this time for pulling back Remy. Although Remy’s fall seemed a little theatrical the pull was obvious to the ref and a yellow card was correctly shown. After the game the Crystal Palace manager said that the referee was influenced by the Chelsea. I would hope not and will assume that he game himself a few moments after awarding the free kick to decide if further action was needed.

The last game I will look at from last weekend is Stoke Vs Swansea. There was two penalties in this game, one for each side. Both sides felt that the others shouldn’t have been awarded.

The first is for a foul at a corner by Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross. He was spoken to by the referee before the corner was taken about keeping his arms to himself. The referee takes up a great position and as the corner comes in he clearly sees Shawcross throw Swansea’s Bony to the ground. Does this happen at every set piece that comes into the box? Yes. Are penalties always given? No. Should penalties be given all the time? Well that depends on the referees view and of or was as blatant as this incident. Most of the time both players are pulling each other so it can be difficult to judge who’s at fault! The next was for a foul on Moses by Rangel. The referee was conned here as the replays show that the contact was minimal and not enough to send Moses to the ground the way he did. But the referee doesn’t have those replays. Rangel did put an arm out and at normal speed with the way the Stoke man fell it would’ve looked like a penalty to the referee.

After all that has happened last weekend take a second to think about the views you have access to before saying how poor the referee us and remember the refs view!!

Chapter 26 – You Don’t Know What You’re Doing?

Every referee that does the big games hopes to show what he can do, whether it’s a big derby, a cup final or a game between two fierce rivals, like Chelsea versus Arsenal at the weekend.

Martin Atkinson was the man in charge for this clash at Stamford Bridge. It was always going to be a busy afternoon for him but I don’t think he expected to be as busy as he was.

It was 20 minutes into the game when he had to make the first of many big calls. Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez had the ball by the touchline, and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill comes across to try to tackle his opponent, but he gets it all wrong and goes over the top of the ball and into Sanchez’s knees. Mr Atkinson shows the Chelsea defender a yellow card. For me this challenge was with excessive force and should’ve been a red card! To defend Mr Atkinson, it looked like at the point of impact his view may have been blocked, so he may not have seen just how bad the challenge was.

Chelsea were rightly awarded a penalty when Koscielny brought down Hazard. The Arsenal defender was showed a yellow card. Had he not brought Hazard down the Chelsea player would’ve had a clear shot so therefore Koscielny should have seen red.

Rosickŷ could also have seen red for a kick at Fabregas. He may have got the ball but it was a wild swing while his opponent was on the floor. Credit to Fabregas for not feigning injury as some players may do!

Another player that was shown a yellow instead of a red card was Danny Welbeck. Immediately after the Rosickŷ/Fabregas incident, Fabregas had the by the touchline. Welbeck came steaming in and both feet left the floor therefore he couldn’t be in control of the tackle and should’ve received his marching orders. Not sure the view Martin Atkinson had but his assistant had a very clear view and should helped the assistant out.

Callum Chambers was lucky not to be shown a second yellow card in this very feisty London derby. So why was the referee so reluctant to give players red cards? You would have to ask the man himself. I know sometimes in the big games especially between rivals the challenges can be a little harder than normal and the referee will want to show common sense to try and keep all 22 players on the pitch but the players safety has to be the priority for the referee and no matter what the game or how long has gone sometimes red cards just have to be issued. Not the best day in the office for Martin Atkinson but he is a good referee and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

IMG_3298.JPGThe managers felt the referee needed more to deal with!

On social media after the West Ham versus QPR game I read many hammers fans saying how bad Anthony Taylor is for disallowing a 3rd goal the East London side. The Rangers ‘keeper Rob Green took a quick free kick inside his area which Valencia intercepted from a few yards away and slotted the ball home. The referee disallowing the goal had nothing to do with distance. All free kicks as well as goal kicks need to leave the area before another player can touch the ball.

IMG_3299-0.JPGAnthony Taylor making his point to the West Ham players

How many fans feel silly for their outburst and will they be more understanding next time? Probably not a lot because nine times out of ten if a decision goes against a team you will always hear “this refs rubbish!” Or “you don’t know what you’re doing!”

Chapter 9 – Mistaken Identity

Who’d be a referee? A question Andre Marriner maybe asking himself after taking charge of Chelsea vs Arsenal.

He was in a great position to see Oxlade-Chamberlain handle the ball so what followed will be hard for him to justify. Mr Marriner gave himself a bit of time before deciding to award the penalty. His assistant wasn’t flagging, maybe they had a brief conversation via their radios but nonetheless the correction decision.

He then decided to issue a red card to Kieran Gibbs. I can only assume he lost concentration for a brief moment in deciding if to award a penalty that he issued the card to the wrong player. Not only that, it was the wrong card that was taken out. Did he forget which pocket he’d put the yellow card? The shot was going wide so wasn’t stopping a goal scoring chance and was only worthy of a yellow card.

20140324-083154.jpgWas Marriner thinking about his dinner?

Arsenal will be able to appeal the card on the grounds of mistaken identity. I’m not sure they will be able to save Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from a ban as it may not have be so obvious to Andre Marriner that the shot wasn’t going in. Although having said that I’m not sure what he was thinking about before he awarded the penalty. His dinner that night perhaps?

I’m sure he’ll have plenty to think when the FA give him a couple weeks off!

20140324-083900.jpgMarriner will not be getting the thumbs up from the FA

All referees make mistakes from time to time. I once sent off a player for two yellow cards when in fact I hadn’t booked earlier. I booked a number 10 in the first half. Then midway through the second half I blew for a free kick. I felt this was a caution and as the player came over to me I could see that he had #10 on his shorts and from my book the #10 had been booked so I showed him a red after his ‘second’ yellow.

I realised my mistake after he verbally abused me for 5 minutes. I told the manager he could bring on a replacement and that player was not to player any further part. I explained my decision to the opposing manager who praised me for admitting my mistake.

Can’t see that happening in the professional game though.