October 4, 2013

Review of Penalty Area Decisions at CL / EL Matchday 2

As a plus to our observer reports published during the next days and weeks, the following video clips highlight a couple of controversial decisions concerning the penalty area having been taken - or not having been taken - at the second matchday of UEFA Champions League and Europa League. A short judgment is given underneath every video.


Videos to follow soon.

Blue #19 tackles White #28 in a reckless manner. The referee correctly cautions him for unsporting behaviour (tackle) and awards a free-kick following an advice from AR1 who is perfectly positioned to recognize that the contact has happened just outside the penalty area.

White #23 handles the ball in the penalty area. His arm moves towards the ball, as the slow-motion shows. However, this happens completely undeliberately. The pace of the situation is extremely high and the ball only reaches the hand due to an unexpected deflection. Therefore the hand position and movement must be considered as natural and player-typical. No Penalty Kick is the correct decision.

White #22 executes a volley shot onto the goal which is blocked by Blue #8. The ball touches #8's slightly outstretched arms, which is in an unnatural position. Considering the thus creates an enlargement of the body surface, the referee should award a penalty kick for deliberate handball. AAR2 is unable to support the referee as another blue defender is obstructing his line of sight. The referee should find a better positioning and should avoid to be in movement while the contact happens.

White #19 is approaching the goalkeeper when being challenged by Blue #17 with a sliding tackle. Even though this tackle is executed with low intensity, Blue #17 does not touch the ball and recklessly fouls his opponent in the penalty area. AAR1 had a good angle to detect that. The referee should award a penalty kick.

Blue #29 is executing a shot on goal which is blocked by White #7's left arm. Even though the distance is small and even though the defender turns away and thus cannot totally see the ball coming, his arms are in an unnatural position and significantly enlarges the player's body surface given the instructions issued by UEFA with regard to a similar occasion having happened last season (Pavel Královec in ManCity - Dortmund). Therefore this decision is acceptable and can be supported.

Dark Blue #17 executes a pass into the penalty area which is blocked by a widely outstretched arm of the white defender. Thus the defender significantly enlarges his body surface. To a certain extent, he even moves his arm towards the ball. He hence acts in a careless way which makes this handball deliberate in the sense of the Laws of the Game. Players should be advised to offer strikers no opportunity to "provoke" such a type of handball. They must behave in a more clever way and avoid such a clear enlargement of the body surface. The referee should award a penalty kick in that case.
Both situations were discussed and assessed by the community during the past days. 85% of the voters have expressed their preference to see either both incidents whistled as a foul (penalty kick) or ignored (no penalty kick). This underlines the missing consistency applied by the referee and his AAR2. In both cases, no penalty kick should be awarded in the opinion of the blog. In the first occasion, the white-red defender obviously grabs his black-red opponent who however falls too easily. This pulling or pushing is customary and is not considered as enough for a penalty. In the last incident, the defender indeed pulls his opponent's shirt but is fouled by him at the same time, too. AAR2 should advise the referee to allow play to go on as a decision that is most compatible with common sense. Also here, this blog wants to remind referees of a sufficient match preparation to identify some players' typical behaviour in certain incidents and to react to it properly.

And now, have your say!

P.S.: Many other decisions have been taken at the last matchday. Many of them have been taken correctly and would deserve more attention. However, this would cross some limits so that this is only an essence of the most significant situations.


  1. Emil Archambault5/10/13 05:45

    Off-topic: I'd like to have your opinion of the alleged handball happening at 3:30 in the following video (two replays follow): http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2013/10/04/highlights-houston-dynamo-vs-montreal-impact#ooid=VhYXJlZjrHCxDZg8TJw8MNQSWasSsAi3

    In my opinion, referee Drew Fischer made the right decision. You see the defender turning his body to minimize the surface of the body covered by his hands, and does not make any movement towards the ball. Furthermore, his arm is perfectly aligned with his body.

    1. Really brave and correct call. The crucial thing is whether defender increased the surface of the body. The answer is: not, he didn't. He also tried to avoid a contact. His only 'fault' was just having hand, what is not punishable of course. Great decision!

  2. Now, I start to think it was a crucial mistake by Lannoy, too...

    1. Emil Archambault5/10/13 15:38

      Indeed; a defender should never defend with his arms outstretched. I agree with Niclas on every situation presented here.

    2. I agree, too, it was a punishable handball.
      On the contrary, correct decision by Borbalan and his crew in Dortmund, no penalty.


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