Inconsistency on penalties baffles, Sweeney

Inconsistency on penalties baffles, Sweeney

Errol-Sweeney-RefereeIMG-2617I can understand different referees seeing different situations from different angles and giving differing decisions. That’s part of the game.

However, it’s the inconsistencies on handball that leaves me baffled.

The Fifa Laws of the Game (Law 12) in Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and guidelines for Referees states:

“Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:

• the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
• the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
• the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement
• touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) counts as an infringement
• hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard etc.) counts as an infringement

Sorry for repeating it, but it seems to me that some people don’t get it.

There were two recent incidents in the Euro’s 2016 where similar incidents occurred yet two very experienced and seasoned referees gave different decisions.

One was where a player came from behind an opponent with his hands raised to gain elevation. The ball hit his hand and the referee awarded a penalty kick.

Now that is inconsistent with the points made above. The “offender” was close to the opponent, very close. He wasn’t penalized for climbing, but for handball. The penalty was awarded and scored.

Remember the Law says the referee must take into consideration “unexpected ball” and the closeness of the opponent to the ball.

In the other incident (in another game) the ball was played into the penalty area, hit the outstretched arm of a defender in his own penalty area, yet the referee waved play on.

These are just two incidents from these championships which are a cause of concern and debate. It we had a Television Match Official (TMO) the issue could be clarified in seconds. Instead, the referees are being, if not questioned as to why there is inconsistency, are certainly being looked at with suspicion.

Consistency in any walk of life, I guess, is hard to achieve. To get different human beings to act in unison is perhaps expecting too much.

The point I want to make is the absolute waste of time in having two additional assistant referees (AARs). These are the guys who stand near the goalkeeper at every game under the auspices of Uefa from full international games to Champions League and Uefa League matches.

• What is their function?
• Why are they there?
• Are they really assisting the referees?

If yes, then why aren’t they helping the man-in-the-middle sort out the deliberate pushing and pulling that is going on in the penalty areas?

I saw one attacker actually had his shirt removed by an opponent and the ref either didn’t see it or chose to turn a “blind eye.”

These AARs were introduced by the now-suspended head of Uefa Michel Platini as a very poor substitute for introducing a TMO.

It seems that the powers-that-be will go to all lengths rather than bring in the “man upstairs.”

It works well for rugby, tennis, and cricket, why not soccer?

I guess only they know.

In closing, I have to state that the match officials are much better this time around. There seems to be a determination to stamp out the diving and cheating that went on in the past.

There is still some of it, but the referees are being less tolerant for the type of shenanigans that was a regular feature of games in the past. That can only be good for the game and the enjoyment of spectators.

Happy Whistling

Dr. Errol Sweeney
Twitter – dr_errol