June 18, 2016

Spain's 3:0 was Offside - by less than 25 centimetres

In the 21st match of these European Championships, the first bigger mistake of an assistant referee happened. At least this conclusion was quickly drawn by many of our blog's users. Watching the first replays of Spain's 3:0 vs Turkey, there is indeed little doubt. And indeed, Spain's 3:0 was offside. By 20 centimetres. That's what we call, literally translated, a "wiseacre-offside" in German refereeing. I propose the term "armchair offside" instead.



The perception of offsides in front of the TV strongly depends on the camera perspective in the stadium. I often enough got into the trap to think "clear offside", when corrected camera angles proofed me wrong. Offside Explained has numerous examples of such situations, which become even more complicated when the TV station does not stop the picture at the moment of the pass or header. The human eye is subject to some perceptual errors like the so-called flash-lag-effect shown by Baldo, Ranvaud and Morya (2002) and discussed by Helsen, Gillis and Weston (2006) - for a quick description and practical examples see a collection of Offside Explained.

As said: We as spectators have to hope that the TV directors stop the moving pictures at the right moment. Assitant Referees don't have this deluxe as we all know.  But back to our concrete example: Was it offside at all?


As indicated, yes, it was. But a very small offside position. I have adjusted the camera angles (see above) using Adobe Photoshop, calculating distances between the grass lines in the turf and the players (attacker and 2nd last defender). These two players' different distances to the next drawn line (the one going through the penalty mark, i.e. the left black-coloured line) differ by approximately 4,5%. Mutiplying this with the usual 5,5m width of a drawn turf line, the result is 24,75cm. These 24,75cm are the distance between the 2nd last defender's most forward part of the body with which you can score a goal and the attacker's most forward part of the body with which you can score a goal. If the attacker had been 24,75cm more to the right, he would have been perfectly level with the 2nd last defender. So we cannot say that this was an offside by 24,75 cm...but rather by maybe 10-20 cms.

Serbian assistant referee Dalibor Đurđević did what is recommended in such situations. If there are doubts about an off- or onside position, the benefit of the doubt goes to the attacker. Same applies for referee observers. In such high-pace passes, where an accurate decision is tremendously difficult to process for the human eye, the assistant referee cannot be reproached for some centimetres. He has to be supported. In dubio pro ref, as I tend to say in these cases. And: The 2nd onside a second later was all right as well.

So: This situation is a good example of an armchair offside. Of course, this does hardly matter as the overall image most spectators have received - fueled by distorted camera angles - is that it was an offside... nobody cares how much offside it was.

12 Comments:

  1. SVK-ENG: Velasco
    RUS-WAL: Eriksson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting Velasco's apoointment after his first match.

      Delete
    2. Niclas.... good piece of work and so right! like the term armchair off side.

      Delete
  2. Excellent spot yesterday and job today. As always professional views on here!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent analysis, Niclas. At first glance it really looked like it was at least a meter offside, but it was very close. I have to add that AR2 was perfectly positioned- we can see him on the top of the screen. Very tough to detect, much tougher than for example Clattenburg's AR1 in CL final (the ball came from foul spot) and nobody blamed him for a mistake that maybe decided the CL winner. This situation is interesting only because this was the first offside goal of the Tournament.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Niclas, good analysis, but I disagree with your conclusion that the AR should be supported. If there is a situation with a foul in or outside the penalty area and it comes to 10 or 20cm difference and a wrong conclusion we all talk about a crucial mistake. So in this case it is also a mistake. Is it crucial? One cpuld say no, because it is was already 2-0 for spain, on the other hand it happened just after half-time and immediatly took al the hope from Turkye away.

    AR's on this level are professionals who, when they are so perfectly positioned, should make the right decision. So a big mistake for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. You compare something you simply can't compare.
      Point is that this is not big mistake just because of 20cm. There are more reasons and Niclas mentioned them.

      You mentioned situation with a foul in or outside the penalty area. In those situations, responsability is on Ref,AR, AAR.
      In this kind of offside situations, its only AR responsability.
      So I understand your view, but it's not just about 10-20 centimeters.

      Regards.

      Delete
    2. @ Fidje: Only people who were ever "running a line" can see how difficult offsite was that. And Yes, you compare something you simply can't compare.

      Delete
  5. Niclas, excellent analysis, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In England, the expression 'a whisker offside' is used, with a cats 'whisker' meaning a very small amount.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As usual, excellent work, not only the animation part, but the explanation as well. As I have recently moved from the referee into referee observer category I highly appreciate tips for observers like the one above: "Same applies for referee observers. In such high-pace passes, where an accurate decision is tremendously difficult to process for the human eye, the assistant referee cannot be reproached for some centimetres. He has to be supported." Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome Shearer. Always good luck with your observations!

      Delete

Copyright © . The 3rd Team
Theme Template by BTDesigner · Powered by Blogger