January 1, 2014

Technical Mistake Reloaded

Ravshan Irmatov's technical mistake in Italy vs Brazil at FIFA Confederations Cup 2014 was certainly the mistake of the year, considering that it was pretty striking and did not offer any room for interpretation as discussed in the blog then: He first whistled in order to award a penalty kick but then changed his mind after recognizing the fouled team had scored a goal a second later. Consequently, Irmatov allowed the goal and infringed the Laws of the Game, which he later admitted to his boss Massimo Busacca. Hence, you should think that this mistake, its consequences and the correct version of the Laws of the Game on this matter have arrived everywhere in the world. And specially within FIFA refereeing. And in particular among Asian referees. But no, that was apparently not the case.


During the Under-17 World Cup 2013 match between Brazil and Russia, the following situation occurred in the 90th minute.

video

Referee Khalil Al-Ghamdi had obviously first whistled in order to award a penalty kick in favour of the Russian side. The whistle was audible and accompanied by a movement and gesture indicating "penalty!". What he then must have recognized was that the ball crossed the goalline after the attacker had already fallen to ground. Although the Saudi Arabian official had already whistled, he ignored his previous whistle and allowed the goal to count - to the surprise of all players, who however did not protest in any way. And by the way...the attacker slipped on the ground and was not fouled by his opponent. A penalty kick and consecutive red card for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity would have been wrong.

My message to young and amateur referees who are confronted with this kind of unprofessionalism is: Whistling for a match sanction such as a free-kick stops play! You cannot apply an advantage or even allow a goal after having already whistled. You must adhere to your whistle and remain determined - even though it might be painful.

First of all: mistakes are human and can happen, no doubt. But I would like to question the efficiency of FIFA's workup of Irmatov's mistake. Actually, the situation was surely analyzed and paid a lot of attention to during the seminars attended by all pre-selected referees. So Al-Ghamdi could have been familiar with this technical mistake and should have avoided to make it again. And this is the crucial point: we are talking about World Cup 2010 referees and those who want to reach the same in 2014. This technical error happened twice in not even half a year and both times Asian pre-list referees were involved. And here I get to a point where I doubt the sense of writing posts about predictions of possible World Cup referees when parts of these officials fail to apply the A of the ABC of the Laws of the Game in the according way. What should referees on grassroot level think? That's a mistake heaving serious consequences even at the lowest level of amateur football. And to clarify that: such a technical mistake might appear to be subtle. But it is everything else than that. You better miss three penalty kicks in the same match than making such an error. In fact, both teams could have officially complaint against the result of the match and could have gone in front of the responsible sports tribunal with much prospect to succeed.
So, to sum it up: on the level we are talking about, such mistakes are unacceptable and send a daunting message prior to a World Cup. Maybe FIFA should rather focus on lawtests as a basis for the World Cup referee selection instead of all those fitness tests - and yes Mr Busacca, uniformity and understanding different football mentalities, which he has frequently emphasized in the past months, are important factors that are vital for a World Cup referee...but knowing the Laws of the Game is no.1.

Nonetheless, I wish you a happy 2014 and for all referees following the blog, happy whistling and a many good matches!

36 Comments:

  1. Again, a very good analysis on this specific topic.
    Knowing the LotG it's the first important thing, you are right.
    Nevertheless my opinion is that such referees (Irmatov and Al Ghamdi for example) know very well the LotG but they can't avoid to make this kind of mistakes because on the pitch they feel always different sensations, trying always to do the best, even in giving advantage.
    So, for this reason, you forget for a while the LotG, being anyway totally aware that you are committing a technical mistake.
    Can you avoid that? Yes, but it isn't easy, because often our mind seems to do everything by itself.
    Having said that, I of course agree with you, it is at any rate unacceptable for WC preselected officials.
    Busacca should work more on that.


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  2. Interesting. But what should you do if you award a Penalty, but then recognize it was no foul at all?

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    Replies
    1. You can change your mind then and award a dropped ball.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous1/1/14 20:01

    While Irmatov's mistake was really heavy, I rather can "understand" Al Ghamdi one's. In this example, the space of time between the start of the whistle and the ball crossing the goalline is just hundredths (when wisthle starts, Ball is about one metre away from goalline).
    Nonetheless such an error should be avoided, of course. Either by whistelling later (looking ahead), or by showing true greatness and disallowing the goal.

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  4. Anonymous1/1/14 21:00

    If Busacca is brave, he must convoke Clattenburg and Borbalán and not
    Webb and Undiano. But I think that Busacca is not brave.

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    1. I'm afraid Borbalan is not pre-selected. Webb's domestic form as of late might be let's say, "shaky". However, his performances on the European/international stage have been commendable.

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    2. Anonymous2/1/14 22:50

      It´s lamentable but Clattenburg and Borbalán are now better that
      Webb and Undiano.

      Delete
  5. Did the teams in question complain? I don't think I heard any follow-up after the match.

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    Replies
    1. No, in the end it had no real bearing on the end result. Brazil won anyway, didn't need the goal difference to go through and were spared a red card. So in the end they were lucky.
      In Al Ghamdi's case it didn't matter either (for the teams!!) as Brazil went through regardless and were spared a red card for one of their players. Russia wouldn't have anything to gain from an appeal either.

      So in both cases, the referee was relatively lucky with media attention, although, Irmatov's case did receive a fair bit of coverage.

      Delete
  6. FIFA WU17 Costa Rica 15/03-08/04

    Assistant Referees (UEFA Zone)

    Angela Kyriakou (CYP)
    Panagiota Koutsoumpou (GRE)
    Ourania Foskolou (GRE)

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous4/1/14 18:04

      Do you have the full list of match officials?

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    2. No. This info came from the National FA's.

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  7. Anonymous2/1/14 11:33

    Chelsea-Liverpool and United-Spurs, Webb not well.

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    Replies
    1. Valentino2/1/14 12:58

      Deplorable Howard Webb. Penaltys of Etoo and Lloris........

      Delete
  8. Excellent analiysis! I could understand that referee misses two penalty, three red cards, be four months or longer in a bad form...
    But I can't accept such elementary mistakes for possible WC referees. What's the message to all other referees in the world?
    They somehow have reache top level without elementary knowledge of LOTG. If there are no referees of similar level, then AFC should work not harder but more sistematic with referees, beginners as well as best ones.
    There must be two new names in WC from Asia.

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  9. It seems Clattenburg is in a spot of bother yet again...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2532710/Mark-Clattenburg-investigated-Southampton-accuse-referee-abusing-Adam-Lallana.html

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    1. Emil Archambault3/1/14 01:47

      Well, that should be fairly easy to determine: since the first Clattenburg incident, the microphones of match officials are recorded in England.

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    2. TBH, this 'news' bothers me as much as it surprises me, and it doesn't surprise me at all. Clattenburg has a certain style and is known to use, let's say player language while conversing with players.
      As for Southampton, just a few days ago their manager complained of being hard done by this season by referees. The reason he gave was that referees see his club as nice, a team which doesn't make a fuss when a refereeing decision goes the other way. I quote: "We can be arseholes too".
      Perhaps this is the way the club wants to show it they are not to be messed around with. Because let's be serious, if they took such exception to foul language they would have thrown out at least half of their team in the pre-season.
      I find it sad that once again, Clattenburg is the vehicle of a club's refereeing frustrations. See also Chelsea's conduct last year (or in fact two years ago already).

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    3. Clattenburg has been cleared by the PGMOL for any wrong doing.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2533310/Mark-Clattenburg-cleared-referees-chiefs-abusing-Adam-Lallana.html

      This occurs on a day when Arsene Wenger backed him, and is happy for him to take charge of tomorrows North London derby between Arsenal and Spurs.

      Delete
  10. http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=rus/footballofficials/referees/peoplekind=ref.html

    FIFA has uploaded all the lists, this is the Russian one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=fra/footballofficials/referees/peoplekind=ref.html

      In the French list there is still Ennjimi, meanwhile in the UEFA one, posted here by Niclas, he is out. That's strange. Probably a mistake by FIFA? Maybe French readers can help us..

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3/1/14 16:19

      Usually is the other way around, with omissions on the UEFA lists.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous3/1/14 23:38

      According to French Federation Said Ennjimi is still a FIFA referee, so France has 10 international referees

      Delete
    4. Anonymous4/1/14 01:11

      It seems that Ennjimi is still in, because yesterday he wasn't (whereas Bastien and Millot were on this list) and they added him this morning... It's almost sure because French Federation just published a communiqué saying that the number of international french referees moved from 9 to 10.
      Who has an explanation ?

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    5. Anonymous4/1/14 02:37

      There have been omissions almost every year on the UEFA Referee Categories lists, so no surprise here.

      Delete
    6. UEFA is doing quite many typing errors at the moment..
      For your info, Ennjimi is still listed as inactive and not international as far as I am informed.

      Delete
  11. Rizzoli for serie A top clash Juve-Roma, expected

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  12. http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=esp/footballofficials/referees/peoplekind=ref.html

    Fernando Teixeira Vitienes again on FIFA list. Another mistake by UEFA? But in this case, he appeared later also in FIFA list. So probably there was a misunderstanding between RFEF and FIFA...

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous9/1/14 13:50

      Confirmed by the Spanish FA.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous4/1/14 17:30

    Extremely curious in the colour of Ennjimi's badge tommorow at Rodez-Montpellier cup match, who can take a look?

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    Replies
    1. The French federation has stated that Ennjimi is included in the list referring to FIFA having disclosed it. So it seems as if they only trusted the FIFA.com list, too. But I trust FIFA more than UEFA to be honest. If even committee members are "forgotten"..

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5/1/14 19:32

      So, what badge was he wearing? :)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous7/1/14 09:43

      It seems that referees haven't got their new badges for 2014 because Millot was wearing the french one.
      To be continued...

      Delete
  14. Anonymous4/1/14 18:46

    FIFA reduced the total numbet of international referees in 2014. This plus the approval of GLT show thst is not interested at all in AARs.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous7/1/14 13:48

      Appatently, the biggest reduction was within CONCACAF. Does anyone know why?

      Delete
  15. This is happening more and more - I've seen this happen at least 3 other times this past year. We've all whistled too early as a gut reaction instead of waiting to see if an advantage has occurred...in fact, I did that just this past weekend...but we must all realize that once the whistle is blow for an infringement, penalty or otherwise, the play is stopped...PERIOD!!! There is no going back to play advantage after the fact! how on earth referees at the FIFA level are making such amateur technical errors is beyond me! I can understand maybe, if he argued that the ball crossed the goal line and entered the goal before the whistle was blown for the foul, therefore allowing the goal - that would be a lot easier to sell; but to stop play with a whistle blast, point to the spot and declare a penalty kick, and then the ball enters the goal and you award it? NO NO NO!!! Shame on FIFA for not sending out a circular to make this point absolutely clear to all football associations and governing bodies world wide! Especially since this has happened, not once....not twice....not even 3 times....but plenty of times in just the past year or so!

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