Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No excuses for Bournemouth officals - but they won't be looking for them

In footballing debate, it's fashionable - and often de rigueur - to lurch to one end of the argument or the other just to make oneself heard over the hubbub of noise surrounding the issues.
But when it comes to discussion of last night's cock-up by the refereeing team at Anfield, the best reaction is probably - unless you're a resident of a certain south coast resort - to shrug your shoulders, make sure lessons are learnt form mistakes and move on.
I can make several serious excuses for the officials in last night's game, but the bottom line is that a mistake by one Assistant Referee was compounded by referee Craig Pawson also failing to spot that Moutinho should have been penalised for offside and Christian Benteke's goal disallowed.
It was the only goal of the game and Bournemouth left Liverpool with no points instead of a distinctly encouraging point.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bicycle kick endangered a player, so ref was right to disallow Norwich goal

FIFA very kindly offers an 80-page document as an add on to the Laws of the Game which is called "Interpretation of the laws of the game and guidelines for referees.
Included under Law 12, "Fouls and Misconduct" is a section that referee Simon Hooper clearly learned by heart and used when he was given a rare opportunity to referee a Premier League game on Saturday, Norwich vs Crystal Palace at Carrow Road.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

May have to change this blog to ""

It started on April 15 after a visit to the doctor confirmed that I had tipped over into the realm of diabetes, Type 2. I was weighing in at unprecedented levsl of fatness and was really disappointed with myself.
So I decided to do something about it. I hesitate to admit what I weighed, but I will, as I had really ballooned out.
I was 147 kilos, or just over 23 stone, on April 15. Bad news indeed.
The diabetes news really hammered it home. I was beign stupid.
So I did something about it.
For the past few three months I've eaten between  700 and 1,000 calories a day and worked out quite hard at the gym.
I have lost 23 kilos, or 50 pounds, or three and a half stone, so I'm now 19 and a half stone.
I'm really pleased.
But I'm not even half way there. I aim to lose another stone for the start of the season, where I've agreed to referee on Sunday mornings as well as Saturday afternoons.
I have another 30 kilos to lose. That's a lot.
But I am no longer in the diabetic frame, the doctor told me recently, and my other checks - blood, cholesterol etc etc - are all normal, for the first time in many years.
I tried my ref's shirt on secretly last night. It fits properly!!
So I'm still fat, but hopefully I'll be a lot less fat soon.

Changes to the Offside law sneak in for the new season

   So with a minimum of  fuss - perhaps too little - world football is tweaking the offside law for the start of the new season. It's not a huge change, but it is an important one and I hope footballing authorities announce the changes publicly so that supporters know why referees are doing things differently.
At the moment the changes - as far as I'm aware - have only been publicised to referees around the country.
It's all about "interfering with an opponent." IFAB, which makes the game's laws, has ruled that in some situations, being in an offside position needs to be penalised where it isn't at the moment, because an offside player is having an impact on an opponent.
  So, as IFAB writes ....
A player in an offside position shall also be penalised if he:  
·    clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or  
·    makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball   

So what does that mean. IFAB gives a load of examples, but one clear one is the situation when a free kick is taken and a player in an offside position tries and fails to make contact with the ball and the ball disappears into the net at the far post. That goal will no longer be allowed as the player will be penalised for offside. 
Also, if the ball goes through an offside attacker's legs to an onside player who scores, that goal will not count.
"This represents a clear change in the way in which assistant referees will judge ‘interfering with an opponent’ from last season.  Previously a player would only be judged to be ‘interfering with an opponent’ if he either clearly obstructed the opponent’s line of vision, or challenged an opponent for the ball.  The new guidance introduces the concepts of attempting to play the ball, impacting on an opponent or making an obvious action which impacts an opponent’s ability to play the ball," says FIFA's rule-making body.

    One troubling aspect of the change is that it will introduce the almost unprecedented rule of different laws for differemt levels of football. The new law will only be introduced where there are neutral assistants to help the referee spot these events. At grassroots level, with a referee acting alone with subs acting as linesmen or even no linesmen, the new laws will not apply. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dear Greg Dyke, how to stop the bad boys.

Bumped into you recently in your alter ego of Chancellor of York University when you handed out a degree to my son, but you didn't have time to hear me outline the solution to the problem of stroppy players swarming around referees to try and get an opponent sent off or to try and discombobulate a ref so much that he forgets to send off their teammate.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Riley determined to ignore his predecessor's insults

Luckily for him, Mike Riley appears to have the not inconsiderable weight of the Premier League behind him. If he didn't, then the man at the head of English refereeing might be having sleepless nights as several weighty figures try to get him kicked out, blaming him for mistakes being made by Premier League referees.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dreamy Spires

Oh what a joy to referee two teams of students. I cruised down the M2 to Canterbury on Saturday for an Under 21s game between the University of Kent and a footballing academy called Soccer Elite. The students were polite, focused on their game and a pleasure to ref. I felt like a Rugby referee as players asked with extreme courtesy about a decision. No shouting, no swearing. Great facilities at the University and its position high on a hill outside the city gave me a stunning view over the city and cathedral as the sun set after the game.

A note to young refs - Players aren't the enemy, even if they try to be.

I visited a refereeing site recently that was obviously popular with young and inexperienced referees. It was refreshing, especially to an old fogey like myself and I posted a note to them that seemed to get some traction, as my American colleagues like to say.

Just wanted to make one point. It seems that a lot of you young referees posting here are being too modest and insecure about your performances. It's great that you're seeking to improve all the time, but I wish you'd worry less about criticism and abuse from players and benches. Generally, it's true that for the losing team you are useless and yet for the winning team you're either a good ref or at least better than the one the team had when they lost last week. Ignore the criticism; learn the true meaning of "water off a duck's back." Your decision is correct, whatever happens, because you gave it. You're the ref. Let that authority give you the confidence to sell decisions (even when you realise later the decision was wrong!). I'm a humble Level 6. I get criticised all the time. I know I make mistakes. We all do. But it's the mistakes that I remember for a couple of days, not the pathetic abuse from a player who is looking to vent his anger. Finally, remember to smile and be friendly. They're not your enemies, no matter how hard they try to be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Along comes trouble, just when you don't expect it

The Weald of Kent is a charming place, with million pound houses surrounded by apple and cherry orchards. My Saturday afternoon trip was a delight on a late summer's day, with the fruit trees groaning under the weight of apples, pears and plums begging to be picked. "Fancy a cup of tea Ref?" Always a good sign that you've come across a friendly club.