October 29, 2012

Clattenburg under the FA's spotlight

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The FA has confirmed it has begun an investigation following allegations put forward after yesterday's Premier League top clash between Chelsea London and Manchester United (2-3) that accused FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg to have issued "inappropiate" statements against Chelsea's John Mikel and Juan Mata.

Mark Clattenburg (r.), facing severe allegations (c) Spox.com

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October 28, 2012

Urs Meier: "It's not only money which gives a referee the feeling he's a pro"

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Despite persistently enhanced professionalism in football refereeing, which is widely considered as needed to keep pace with the development football itself as a game is featuring, Switzerland's football federation is obviously failing in terms of that.

At the start of October 2012, four out of twelve Swiss top referees (Damien Carrel/30, Ludovic Gremaud/32, Cyril Zimmermann/36 and Daniel Wermelinger/41) announced their retirement at the end of year due to a defective support they encounter by their federation, an amateurish level of professionalism and a lack of respect shown to the referees by diverse sides.

Switzerland have lost a great referee hope: Damien Carrel (c) RTS

In addition, the above mentioned officials have found themselves unable to combine their personal life including family and full-time jobs in high positions both in the industry and in the economy with a high degree of professionalism as a referee. A few weeks ago, Swedish official Markus Strömbergsson withdrew his FIFA status for this reason, too. Damien Carrel, who was regarded by Swiss referee committee chief Carlo Bertolini to become the next international top referee for Switzerland, stated in an interview to blick.ch that there was a huge "lack of respect for their work", although he emphasized that he did not merely concern fans and media, but the Swiss referee pool and specially the Swiss football federation SFV as well: "Three weeks ago, a clear penalty was overseen in a match. And what did the referee do? He told the media that it had been a big mistake by his assistant. [...] The tendency of publicly looking for other culprits is alarming." [remark: he concerned the match between Young Boys Bern and FC Basel of which Stephan Studer had been in charge and later highlighted a communication error caused by his assistant Sandro Pozzi as the only reason for the clearly missed penalty]
Besides, Cyril Zimmermann stressed the need "to facilitate more means to relieve the difficulties full-time employees have to cope with".

While this specific criticism issued by current and coming FIFA officials certainly cannot be generalized to all the countries, it however seems to be a widely spread issue referees are facing. 

Dutch Referee Blog and World of Football Refereeing spoke exclusively to Urs Meier, former Swiss top referee having, among others, joined two World Cups (1998/2002) and two European Championships (2000/2004) and taken charge of 2001/02 UEFA Champions League final between Leverkusen and Real Madrid. He had moreover headed the Swiss referee committee for a while before he retired for quite similar reasons. It is the second time I had the chance to get an interview of this top referee, you can find the first one here (on German).

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October 26, 2012

Offside "behind goalkeepers"

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Yesterday's UEFA Europa League match between NK Maribor of Slovenia and English Tottenham featured quite a paradigmatic situation with regard to a special case of offside infringements, when Tottenham's Sigurdsson scored the equalizing goal in the second half. 

For the concerned assistant referee (Russian Anton Averianov who assisted Sergei Karasev yesterday), it will be probably counted as a crucial mistake, for us, it is a perfect opportunity to outline the event that a goalkeeper has left his goal and there is still only one defender between the foremost striker and the goalline. Always keep in mind that - contrary to many commentators' misbelief that a player has been flagged for offside, since there allegedly was "no other defender closer to the goalline" - the Laws of the Game state that offside generally occurs when there is not more than one defender between the concerned striker, who either receives the ball or significantly influences the opponent's behaviour (distracting the goalkeeper's area of vicinity e.g.), and the goalline. Consequently, the goalkeeper must be considered as a normal defender in terms of offside.
Naturally, one must point out the high difficulty with regards to the circumstances and high pace.

Therefore, the following video will clarify why the goal should have been disallowed.

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October 25, 2012

UEFA provides DVD about the "extra eyes"

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UEFA has produced a DVD for its 53 member national associations in which the European body provides information on implementing the additional assistant referee system which became part of the Laws of the Game this summer, and which is being deployed by UEFA in this season's club competitions.

The DVD is based on a presentation given by UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina at a meeting with the European national associations in Kyiv in July. Through key video examples – especially those related to the UEFA EURO 2012 matches, where audio communication among the referee teams was also recorded – the DVD demonstrates the practical benefits on the pitch, as well as offering solutions for utilising refereeing resources efficiently in order to implement the system.

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UEFA Europa League - Referee Appointments (MD3)

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Israel's Liran Liany will take charge of Inter - Partizan (c) BILD

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October 21, 2012

Champions League Referee Appointments - Facts and Stats MD3

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Matches on Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Spartak Moskva 18:00 Benfica (G), refereed by Mark Clattenburg (England)
  • On the first matchday of this Champions League season, Clattenburg already oversaw a match with Russian involvement when Zenit St.Petersburg were beaten by Málaga CF in Spain.
  • It will be Clattenburg's fourth involvement in a match joined by a Russian team, until now, the matches always ended with the result 3-0 (1x as win, 2x as loss).
  • His second assistant referee Stephen Child ran the lines in two matches with Benfica's involvement during the last two Champions League seasons (1-2 loss at home vs Schalke, 2-0 win at home vs Zenit).
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October 20, 2012

UEFA Champions League - Referee Appointments (MD3)

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Europe's football governing body UEFA has published the first package of referee appointments for the next matchday of UEFA Champions League.
Milorad Mažić will experience the "Theatre of Dreams" (c) ZIMBIO

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October 18, 2012

AFC officials must step into the breach in Oceanian Qualifiers

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Oceania Football Confederation bosses have moved quickly to ensure there will be no repeat of the nasty incidents which marred the New Zealand’s 3-0 win over Tahiti in Christchurch on Tuesday night.
It was always planned that referees from the Asian Confederation would control the last games in the World Cup qualifiers but that will now be brought forward to the penultimate round as well, in which New Zealand will host New Caledonia - at a venue yet to be decided - in what shapes as the crucial match of the four-team Oceania play-off. The All Whites have a perfect four-from-four record heading into the game with New Caledonia, who sit three points behind New Zealand and need to win to keep their hopes alive.

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October 16, 2012

Additional time is the referee's thing

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(c) Eurosport
The following text is partly taken from DFB's two-monthly published referee newspaper, DFB referee committee member and former Bundesliga referee Lutz Wagner tries to avoid misunderstandings related to the fourth official's task in a football match.

"Every television viewer interested in football knows that scenario. At the end of the live broadcast, the commentator wants to finally increase the tension by stressing the ultimate highlight of the match: "And now, he is raising the board! The fourth official decided to award four further minutes of additional time in this match and informs the referee about that! [...] The home team hence has still 240 seconds to score the equalizer!"

What is right reading those lines? Unfortunately, almost nothing, apart from the electronic board from which the commentator has read off the shown additional time!

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October 10, 2012

Can you score own goals directly from kick-offs?

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"In order for a kickoff to be valid, the ball must be placed on the center spot, be kicked, and move in a forward direction (toward the opponent's goal). For this reason, own goals can only be scored directly from a kickoff if it is kicked into the air and carried backward by the wind, or is kicked so incredibly hard that it rebounds from the opponent's goalpost or crossbar and flies back into your own goal. Both scenarios would be considered an own-goal from kickoff, as no other player touched the ball except the kicker.
In short, it is technically possible under the Laws of the Game to score an own-goal directly from the kickoff, but you are unlikely to ever see it happen, ever."

You will find the previous answer when googling the title of this post. The definition of kick-offs as well as possible (but surely not that probable) circumstances are correctly exposed there, however, the final conclusion is wrong.

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October 9, 2012

Theory Test (October) - Figure out your knowledge of the Laws of the Games!

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World of Football Refereeing will provide a monthly quiz about the Laws of the Games starting today. The first edition provides a mixture of basic and advanced knowledge including the mere application of fixed Laws, but also their situational interpretation.

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October 8, 2012

2013 UEFA Under-21 EURO Play-Offs - Referee Appointments

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Robert Madden (SCO) (C) MotherwellFC
The 2013 UEFA European Under-21 EURO will run from 5 to 18 June in Israel. The UEFA Executive Committee selected the hosts on 27 January 2011 – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England and Wales had placed their bid as well – and it will be Israel's first final tournament since the 2000 UEFA European U16 Championship.

After the play-off draws at Nyon in September 2012, the seven missing teams will emerge in fourteen matches to be played on 11/12 and 15/16 October.
In the next days, UEFA will appoint fourteen referees; three of them will be observed by UEFA referee committee members Marc Batta, Jaap Uilenberg and Kyros Vassaras.

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October 4, 2012

UEFA Europa League - Referee Appointments (Group Stage MD2)

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Kristo Tohver (EST) will perform his EL bow being in charge of Molde - Stuttgart (c) UEFA
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"Should I chop my arm off?"

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When Pavel Královec blew the final whistle after an intense and terrific UEFA Champions League match between English, respectively German champions Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, the 1-1 draw accomplished at Etihad Stadium surely felt like a loss for the German side after many missed goalscoring opportunities and a converted penalty kick in the 90th minute of play in favour of the home team. 

Analysis of the situation
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