July 1, 2013

Kuipers and the "DOGSOs"

Apart from the fact that Brazil taught the world a lesson concerning how to beat the unbeatable World Cup champions Spain, this Confederations Cup final furthermore featured an impressive amount of tight and demanding situations for the match officials and specially for referee Björn Kuipers of the Netherlands.

Piqué was dismissed by Kuipers (c) kurier.at

A detailed review of the officiating team's performance will ensue in form of a report written by one of our observers, but three key incidents can be already analyzed now.
They all refer to Law 12 (Fouls and Misconducts) - Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO).

Therefore, it might be useful to expose the exact definition of DOGSO in the Laws of the Game first.

"Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity:
- the distance between the offense and the goal
- the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
- the direction of the play
- the location and number of defenders
- the offense which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity may be an offense that incurs a direct free kick or an indirect free kick"

It must be clarified that, similar to handball offenses, all these criteria have to weighn up mostly within very few parts of a second by the referee. Even one criteria can be enough to support the referee's decision and back him. It is however also clear that some of those criteria can be considered as more relevant than others, which depends on each single situation.

Incident 1, minute 15.


Spanish defender Arbeloa clearly pulled and held Neymar's kit for a while having been the "last man". Björn Kuipers only issued a yellow card. Splendid onside call by assistant referee Zeinstra.
No other defender could have intervened. The deep forward pass made by a Brazilian midfielder went towards the goal. The infringement occurred 45 metres away from the goal and the likelihood of gaining and then keeping control of the ball was very, very low - despite Neymar's admirable football abilities. He would not have reached this ball probably. For this reason, at least two of the four criteria that come into question for this specific scene unequivocally support the referee's decision. In this particular case, specially the criteria regarding the likelihood of controlling the ball seems to be the most striking and relevant one.

Incident 2, minute 28.


Sergio Ramos of Spain clearly fouled Brazilian Oscar in a quite clumsy but of course tactical way. Oscar was running towards the goal and had a good chance to reach the ball. On the other hand, the angle and position of the incident do not support the term "obvious goal-scoring opportunity" in my opinion. Furthermore Spanish defender Piqué could have intervened as he was quite close. This call really was borderline and "more red" than in the previous incident. However, in dubio pro ref, meaning that one may support Kuipers also in this decision.

Incident 3, minute 68.

Somehow, it was clear that there would be a red card in this game as Kuipers had twice resisted the very severe protests by the home team and crowd (point of criticism here: he really should have punished the Brazilians for those protests). Spanish defender Piqué stopped Neymar on his way into the penalty area potentially facing goalkeeper Casillas in a 1vs1 situation. It is quite clear Kuipers sent him off for DOGSO and not for serious foul play. The distance between the offense and the goal was quite small, Neymar surely would have stayed in possession of the ball as no other defender could have immediately intervened. Thus the only doubt might arouse regarding the fact that Neymar slightly moved away from the goal. However, again the decision made by the referee can be totally supported and understood.

In a sum, Björn Kuipers faced three challenging DOGSO situations and, from my point of view, should be praised for his assessment of them. Specially the first incident exposes a storybook example of how to deal with such situations.


  1. Brilliant analysis. I think he got them all right in a game which was very very demnanding for the referee. Well done!

  2. Just one little remark for the uploader. I don't think it was a good idea to autoplay the videos, it's very very annoying when then all start to play and then close them.

  3. Thanks Jaanus and yes, I am going to fix that.

  4. By the way. Isn't there also a slight possibility that Kuipers awarded the red card for a reason different than dogso?

    1. Don't think so. Piqué came from the side, didn't hit the opponent with his cleat and his leg was not extended. Must have been the DOGSO.

    2. Anonymous1/7/13 23:51

      Maybe SFP?

    3. I know ideally this shouldn't happen, but this was a 3rd possible DOGSO foul committed by Spain. Maybe this decision was not ruled as an 'isolated' incident, but as a collection of the 3 incidents? Sort of a 'I was lenient the 1st 2 times, but not that's enough.' Because his last touch does take him away from goal, and just by the naked eye fouls such as these seem to usually be yellow not red.

      Though I have no problems with his decision

  5. Anonymous1/7/13 20:18

    Brazil-Spain: the worse work of Kuipers.

  6. Anonymous1/7/13 22:12

    Niclas...I have read your report for Kassai cuba-nigeria....I`m very sorry, but you can`really say that the situation in Minute 75 is a red card for you...never ever....sorry, but pleas watch again the situations you critizied..everything ok what Kassai decides..is it possible that you had a bad day? ;-)

    1. First, thank you for your constructive criticism. But I really would sometimes like to know to whom I am talking...I give my opinions here under my name, and I cannot really understand how an opinion-based discussion should be possible keeping full anonymity.

      These two videos concern the same player. Correct YC but mandatory YC missed imo. He did not even consider this scissor tackle as a foul - of course I know Kassai's style, but at some point there is a border when it becomes dangerous for the players' health. -0.2


      For me rather a red card due to excessive force. As I strengthened in the report, it was no crucial mistake though. But if you watch the whole match, this is another proof for his missing alertness for serious fouls and the protection of players (another small example, many others existed as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMXTr3O5n9A )
      He dealt with such fouls like with a very small pulling. No warnings added to the cards. One gets the impression that protests are graver than such challenges, at least Kassai dealt with protests in a far more serious and determined manner..so for this entire context I calculated -0.3.

      And finally, the missing 2nd YC in the penalty kick situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZiRDQWuvM
      For me a good goal-scoring opportunity, at least a clear tactical foul to be yellow-carded. -0.2

      So in a sum, a for me disappointing performance as he had no idea how to protect players. That led to 7.6.

      If you have another point of view, discuss it here.

    2. hello niclas,
      i don't agree with you.
      foul (I) was not mandatory YC in my opinion. the player's only intention was to play the ball and I don't see there ani scissor tackle. for me no foul.
      foul (III) - the studds where high and the safety of the opponent was in danger. however, i think the YC is acceptable as the intensity was not high
      foul (II) - correct YC
      foul (IV) - should have been YC

    3. Hi dubhe
      Okay. I see a scissor tackle actually, but anyway, it's ok.
      Look at Mazic's red card in minute 41: http://livefootballvideo.com/fullmatch/world/u20-world-cup/nigeria-u20-vs-uruguay-u20#.UdPJL5xmMkB
      Correct right? That's how to deal with sfp.

    4. hi niclas,
      both the situation fall in a group of "orange card fouls".
      I don't object against the red card issued by Mazic but I would also support yellow card.
      I think that the intensity wasn't high and the studs wasn't up. I also miss intention to harm the oponent. However, it was undoubtfully at least reckless tackle.

  7. The referee was very permissive with football players of Brasil. Nevertheless, Kuipers wasn´t crucial in the final score.

    Good analysis. I´m agree.

  8. I thought the analysis of these calls was excellent. This was a very tough match to referee with each team creating mass confrontation after every challenge.

  9. Anonymous2/7/13 07:44

    Kuipers has been indecent at Brazil-Spain. ¡Ignominious!

  10. Kuipers did everything in his hand to give the match to Brazil. Shameful. The FIFA and Brazilian organization did the rest. The WC is gonna be played in Brazil and many things should change or could just give the cup directly to Brazil right now.

  11. All I can see in the videos is brazilian team diving. But is not a surprise they have been doing it the whole tournament. Awful Kuipers

  12. To all those anonymous users and Martin: I agree that Kuipers had problems managing Brazilian players and their complaints, but at the end I disagree when you say that he was affected. That's wrong. Kuipers made reasonable calls and was able to take the correct decisions. Remember that he might have issued other red cards to Spanish players, in case of a different evaluation of the first two cases. For this reason, he can't be blamed, but he surely has ho improve in authority.
    With a full control of the match, especially in first half, the mark might have been higher, anyway we are already on a important level, I think.

  13. Emil Archambault2/7/13 11:08

    FOr me, this is more SFP than DOGSO (or at leastas much SFP as DOGSO). Piqué never has any chance to play the ball on this challenge, and never demonstrates any intention to challenge the ball. His foot is well off the ground and hits Neymar at the top of the shin. He kicks Neymar with considerable speed and strength, and severely endangers the safety of his opponent.

    To me, that looks like a red card for serious foul play.

    1. this can not be considered SFP. it can be considered only as a DOGSO. the only other possibility would be violent conduct - that's when you kick player without trying to play the ball. there's no chance to consider the foul as a SFP.

  14. As coloured as I am, I think Kuipers had a great preformance. As Chefren says, it was a very challenging match from minute 1.
    All major decisions/calls were made correctly:
    2. No handball bij Fred or whatsoever, so rightly approved goal (1-0).
    15. YC for Arbeloa, no red in my opinion because Neymar is not in direct posession of the ball, and we can argue whether he would reach the ball before Casillas. Very good decision!
    The behaviour of the Brazilians after awarding the YC to Arbeloa, is objectionable. Kuipers should have done something with this conduct.
    26. A phase where the Brazilians need a lot of fouls to control the game of the Spanish. In my opinion Kuipers should have given at least 1 Brazilian a YC. Oscar made a recklass offense on Iniesta. With a YC, Kuipers would have made a statement for all the players on the pitch.
    28. Very difficult call, when Oscar was taken down by Ramos. The foul detection was great (nice teamwork with Zeinstra), but you can argue whether a yellow or red card is in place. After looking at several repetitions, a still can't make a clear decision. When I'm in doubt, I'll give a YC.
    But still a very, very difficult call.
    54. Good call, penalty was rightly awarded to Spain after a foul by Marcelo. No harsh challenge, but it's still worth a penalty kick.
    68. Red card for Pique. Again a big call, and I think also the only right decision in this situation. Neymar is heading towards goal and passes his opponent on speed. Pique sees no other option than take his opponent down. Intentional foul play, correctly "awarded" with a RC.

    Overall Performance:
    + Great calls on the major decisions (see above)
    + Great teamwork
    - Should have given at least 1 YC to the Brazilians
    - Didn't take any action against the protests of both sides.

    PS Erwin Zeinstra was outstanding! Superb no flag decisions by the big chance for Fred and the 2-0 of Neymar.
    The 3-0 seems to be a slight offside (Van Roekel's side), but there where no appeals by the Spanish.

    My grades:
    Bjorn Kuipers 8.6
    Sander van Roekel 8.1
    Erwin Zeinstra 9.5
    Felix Brych 8.3

    1. 9.5 for an assistant referee? What has he done, to get this unreachable result? :D

    2. In my opinion, every decision he has made was an excellent call. Crucial offside-decisions and some foul detection in his area, as well as throws ins and corner/goal kicks.
      He just derserves such a high grade in this very challenging match!

    3. you get 8.5 as an AR if you make have a critical situation and you make a correct call. 9.5 is almost impossible and I don't see any reason to give that mark.

  15. sorry to say, but I can't understand expresions like "one may support Kuipers also in this decision" or "the decision made by the referee can be totally supported and understood"
    the decisions i've seen in the videos were totally correct and any other solution would be a mistake. so no "can be understood". the calls were great
    I agree with some of you who stated that kuipers should have better handled the protesting players.

  16. all crucial decisions correctly taken, very very good performance in those 3 cases!
    could have handled better the protesting players from Brazil, but in my view Kuipers missed also a clear YC against Casillas for protesting three times in a row as a goalkeeper!
    Casillas is well known for that and he should have been booked for this behaviour

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