January 9, 2014

UEFA Referees asked to avert the Triple Punishment

The Third Team can confirm several reports issued by various newspapers reporting about a directive that is planned to be given to UEFA's top-class referees instructing them to avert the so-called triple punishment in future matches.

Sergei Karasev administering a "triple punishment" in UCL

According to the current version of the Laws of the Game, referees are forced to send players off with a direct red card as soon as they have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, regardless of where the infringement occurred (referring to inside or outside the penalty area only). If the infringement happened in the penalty area, referees naturally have to award a penalty kick in favour of the team that were fouled. The penalty kick (and mostly the goal), the red card and consecutive suspensions are widely called triple punishment (for the team offending the infraction). Plenty of former players, football experts and specially football politicians have been considering this circumstance as too harsh. Their basic argument is that, by awarding the penalty kick, the obvious goal-scoring opportunity is recreated, so that a red card is not necessary any longer. Agreeable to this point of view, a yellow card should be issued against the offender. 
Specially UEFA president Michel Platini is one of the persons favouring the abolishment of the triple punishment. Now, the Frenchman, in whom a former football player, a football expert and a politician have surely unified in a unique manner, has therefore decided to ask UEFA Referee Committee headed by Pierluigi Collina to instruct their top referees accordingly. In the knockout stage of the two major UEFA club competitions, this guideline will first come into effect. 
Since the literal change of the Laws of the Game requires the IFAB's approval, this directive is only an advise or guideline. For now. As several powerful men inside FIFA (and maybe IFAB, too) are making pressure for this definite change of the Laws of the Game for a while, it is quite probable that UEFA's guideline could be kind of a blueprint in this matter. Unfortunately, Platini never was a referee and is therefore missing the adequate feeling for the Laws of the Game and spirit of football. What he and his companions seem to forget is that the red card was never only thought as a compensation for the denied obvious goal-scoring opportunity, but rather dealt with as a punishment for the offense and try to prevent a goal from being scored at all. Moreover, it was surely a deterrent factor. And some questions remain open. What if a player deliberately handles the ball on the goalline à la Luis Suarez? What if the consecutive penalty kick of any dogso-infringement does not lead to a goal, keeping in mind that a penalty kick exposes a different psychological pattern for the attacking team? How do you want to sell that to players and football fans, who consider a red card as a true and mere matter of justice after a deliberate infringement to be classified as dogso? 
Actually it must have been painful for Collina and co. having received this order by Monsieur Platini. It must feel hard to instruct one's referees such an absurdity. We'll see how the referees will deal with such situations in the k.o. stage - provided that appropiate incidents will occur, of course, which hopefully won't be the case. Otherwise, referees will be in a huge dilemma due to this populistic move by the FIFA-president-to-be.


  1. Emil Archambault9/1/14 21:44

    I thought the "triple" was 1) Red card 2) Penalty 3) Automatic suspension? Surely there is no sense in separating the penalty from its result?

    Anyway, ridiculous and illegal (from the LOTG point of view) directive. FIFA must overrule the UEFA on this.

    1. You are right. It was not formulated precisely enough. The penalty kick mostly includes the goal while the red card always includes a suspension, which is the third component of the triple punishment.

  2. Sorry I don't understand the meaning of that.
    Can you explain better Niclas, what do you mean saying "instruction"?
    As you also wrote, in case of handball on the line, the referees will give YC?
    Can't believe that. As long as LOTG are not changed, I don't understand how referee can put into practice these instructions.

  3. OT
    Haimoudi again CAF Best referee in 2013

  4. Penalty and red card is acceptable. I believe after a penalty and red card because of DOGSO they should avoid suspension for the next game. Player should be punished for that game only.

  5. @ Chefren: I think that the term "instruction" or "guideline" is pretty precise and does not require more clarification. Moreover I did not write that a player receives a YC for a handball on the goalline - I only raised the question of how referees deal with such an infringement as a consequence of this instruction. Of course I share your astonishment.

    @ Ugur: I can agree with you on that. If UEFA had made pressure into this direction, why not. But what they want to change is the red card as such, that's the problem.

  6. Anonymous10/1/14 09:11

    I also think that the suspension could be dropped. And perhaps this change of the system does not need any change to the LoTG. Instead this is something that UEFA could do without involving FIFA perhaps?

    /Swedish observer

  7. I absolutely agree with Mr. Platini and with these change and also consider it as "triple punishment". I speak this from referee's angle, not player's.
    There must be clear distinction whether it's DOG (Suarez case) or DOGSO? When player denies GSO outside penalty area game is restarted with free kick which is never GSO. When player denies GSO inside penalty area game is restarted with penalty kick which is statisticaly best GSO. Then what he denied?
    More often attackers miss goal when they pass goalkeeper rather then penalty kick.
    Besides, this interpretation forced many defenders to commit serious ofences outside penalty area in order to prevent "triple punishment".
    If player denies goal then red card is absolutely logical.

    1. Anonymous10/1/14 11:04

      That's the problem. Football on international level is not made for referees and is not solely made for players either. It is, in first line, made for the people and fans. I don't want to move into an ideological discussion, however I think we have different perceptions about the spirit of football as a game. Red cards are not only there to compensate the denied gso. They sanction the motivation to deny a gso.

    2. That's was my point: LOTG are not there for referees but for football.
      In case of DOGSO play is restarted with penalty kick. Then what player denied?
      No 9.15m, pulse on 120 instead of 180, time to concentrate...
      It's delaying GSO. Red card for that?
      Too much.

    3. So you consider every penalty as a sure goal? Because this is not the case.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Exactly. I'd rather have the offender punished too harshly at times with both a penalty and a red card, than the victim of the professional foul being punished in a way.
      Imagine Suarez would've stayed on the pitch to score the winning penalty in 2010... Now that would be an injustice.
      I therefore cannot support the red card change, although I think it would be a good idea to drop the suspension arising from a DOGSO red card.
      A way to soften the impact of such a red card, without having an impact on the match effect of a DOGSO.

    7. Forgot to add - the suspension would have to be subject to the gravity of the foul - is it SFP? Then a suspension is of course appropriate. Just a trip is no suspension at all, etc and so on.

    8. Edward,
      I don't think that's every penalty is goal, but it's quite more often goal the any other GSO such as "1 on 1" with goalkeeper or even when player pass goalkeeper.
      Thomas, Suarez case is denial of goal not GSO, that's clear red card.

  8. OT
    Bechir Hassani is out from the FIFA list for 2014, replaced by another assistant.
    So it was already sure that Jedidi had not hopes for WC. It was sure at least since September 2013...

    1. I must correct myself.
      It seems a story of alleged corruption inside Tunisian football federation, Hassani was hence removed from the list for this reason, and now there is a legal proceedings.
      It seems Hassani is fighting against this sentence.
      Mourad Daami, former Tunisian FIFA referee, seems involved, too.

    2. So there is one referee trio less in question for the World Cup. Tough case, of course.

  9. I may be really hard if you commit a minor offense (e.g. just applying a little push), but IMHO the "Triple Punishment" should not be changed.

  10. Random mulling:

    As I view Darren Cann as undoubtedly one of (if not) the best AR's in the world for a number of years now. Was their any reason for Kirkup accompanying Mullarkey and Webb to Poland/Ukraine?
    I've always felt Cann was the star member of that team (nothing against Mullarkey and Webb of course).
    Wasn't suprising that Kirkup had an absolute shocker in that tournament...

  11. Anonymous14/1/14 09:14

    Why do they ask referees to act against the Laws? Why do not they want the Disciplinary Committee to rule against the guidelines?


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