April 5, 2012


The most interesting calls in these two weeks of UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals were probably certain penalty kick situations. Reason enough to retrospect these incidents by chronological order.

1st legs

Benfica - Chelsea refereed by Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
The Portuguese team claimed a handball penalty when it was still level (0-0). John Terry obviously touched the ball with his hand or arm.

In screenshot #1, one can obviously see that Terry's arms are widely sprawled out. Criteria to be fulfilled for a deliberate handball are according to the Laws of the Game whether there is a movement with the hand towards the ball (-), the distance between the player and the ball (small) and it is also emphasized that the "position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement" (p.113 FIFA LotG). Kind of unwritten law is also the pace, which was quite high. Although Terry's hand position is certainly a bit careless, there is a clear and visible effort (#3) conducted by the Chelsea defender to pull away his hand. On the whole, it is a controversial decision but - with regard to the criteria - a correct one.
The officials involved were Paolo Tagliavento, Luca Maggiani and Luca Banti from Italy.

AC Milan - FC Barcelona refereed by Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
In the early stage of this top clash, FC Barcelona claimed a penalty after an alleged foul by the goalkeeper Abbiati on Alexis Sánchez.

It is a very difficult situation for the Swedish officials Jonas Eriksson and especially Markus Strömbergsson who functioned as Additional Assistant Referee 1. 
Sánchez tries to round Abbiati in order to score the goal which would have been empty then. Abbiati tries to catch the ball with outstretched arms, but does not get the ball. Instead, he pulls the arms away (#3), Alexis Sánchez threads or merges - more or less consciously. Therefore, the striker in a way mounts Abbiati's arms and chest with his feet and is of course hit by the goalkeeper. However, what should he do? He cannot be punished for being there, furthermore, even though it was certainly no clear dive, the efforts undertaken by the Chilene striker to get in contact with the prostrated and chanceless goalkeeper were immense so that the decision not to award a penalty seems to be spot on.

2nd legs

FC Barcelona - AC Milan refereed by Björn Kuipers
The Dutchman had to cope with two situations in the box, he awarded two penalty kicks to FC Barcelona.

The 1st PK:

No discussion about that. Antonini's sliding tackle only touches the main pillar of Lionel Messi, correct decision. It could have followed a passive offside position which became active, however, Antonini consciously took the ball so that it was no offside preceding this foul.

The 2nd PK:

The duel at the penalty spot is starting, ball is not in play
The duel continues and becomes more intense, ...
... and Nesta does not stop ...
... holding his opponent's kit.
Puyol also does his part..
Busquets falls, Kuipers awards a penalty and a YC.

Certainly a difficult call. The decision itself appears as 100% correct. However, there are certain instructions in FIFA LotG and also in several UEFA courses.
"Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or around using his hands, the arms or the body. Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks.
To deal with these situations:
  • the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play
  • caution the player is the holding continues before the ball is in play..."
Probably, referee Kuipers did not see the duel already going on when the ball was not yet in play. The additional assistant referee's view was also restricted due to another player. Therefore, Kuipers made at least no infringement by the referee but a wrong decision based on facts. He potentially saw it too late. Finally, one of course can raise doubts whether a referee must tell Alessandro Nesta - a large a mount of experience because of 99 UEFA Champions League matches - that holding another player's kit could have serious consequences. At least an evitable penalty kick, from both sides, players and referees. 
Generally, an appeal could be that all the referees should consistently award penalty kicks for this sort of foul. There is no sense if in Germany, this sort of foul concedes about 10 penalty kicks in a season and if in England or Italy, this is no foul at all.
The officials involved were Björn Kuipers, Pol van Boekel and perhaps also Sander van Roekel.

Chelsea - Benfica refereed by Damir Skomina (SVN)
A penalty which changed the match and certainly a correct one. A stupid tackle by the Portuguese defender who was also correctly penalized with a penalty and a YC.

Real Madrid - APOEL Nicosia refereed by Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
It took the Italian team about 3 seconds to award the following penalty. Additional Assistant Referee 2 Antonio Damato told his chief that it was a foul - which appeared right under his nose..

At first glance, it seemed to be a fair tackle by Altintop (Real). He surely touched the ball, but - unfortunately for him - a second after he had already touched his opponent with the sliding tackle.


  1. There were also two penalty kicks (both for Santos) awarded last night by Jose Pineda (HON) in the CCL semi-final Santos - Toronto.

  2. I think that the penalty given in Real - APOEL is a very difficult decision, as always happens. Probably you can give it, but the will of the player is to reach the ball....

    1. Yes but he did not :D
      The will is good, but he first touched the striker very clearly.

  3. Anonymous6/4/12 06:57

    Interesting analysis: http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/174/uefa-champions-league/2012/04/05/3015399/referee-broke-the-law-in-awarding-second-barcelona-penalty

  4. From my point of view the penalty given to Chelsea does not exist. We see about a dozen cases like this in a game. If we give penalty to every one of them then we won't have a game.

  5. Anonymous6/4/12 08:51

    I think that is a clear penalty for Chelsea.

  6. Blocking without ball. Clear penalty kick.

  7. F. Taveira6/4/12 16:15

    About the penalty cases...

    benfica chelsea: For me mistake by Tagliavento. Although the short distance can be a attenuation.
    Chelsea benfica: I agree with Skomina.
    Real APOEL: Clear foul. the defender reaches the ball after touching the opponent. Good intentions by the defender but a foul in the end.
    2nd penalty Barça-AC Milan: we have two fouls at the same time. Kuipers was arrogant and was not able to do properly his job. For me a correct referee should stop play warn the players and retake that corner kick. Many times we ask for leniency and a teaching approach by the refs... in this case we had a show off by Kuipers.

  8. F. Taveira6/4/12 16:18

    And about the nominations to the final matches... my bets are:

    chelsea vs barcelona
    Rizolli; Kassai

    Real vs bayern
    Lannoy; Eriksson

    Final: Proença

    Bilbao vs Sporting
    Moen; Webb

    At Madrid vs Valencia
    Stark; Cakir

    Final: Skomina

  9. Anonymous6/4/12 16:46


  10. And Lannoy has the France Cup final!!!!!

  11. I think we'll se Kuipers and Skomina in CL or EL, because Milan and Benfica complained about them. New appointment would be direct message from UEFA that Kuipers and Skomina made no mistake as Milan's and Benfica's coaches sais.

  12. petschovschi6/4/12 22:00

    I can't see another appointment for Kuipers this season. His mistake was unacceptable at this level.

    1. my romanian friend petschovschi you must not be so sure about Kuipers future...Its a clear penalty and that is exactly what UEFA wants to see.You will see that his next appointment would be very soon.You must stop think as a fan...I just guess you are not a referee eh?

    2. Anonymous8/4/12 20:46

      I don't think you are right, Kika. It's an obvious technical mistake showed by Kuipers, who did not see pulling and pushing before the corner kick. FIFA's recommendations in that question are very clear - referee must warn the players. Of course, ball was in the play, so it's clear penalty then, but it was consequent of Kuiper's oversight. So, I don't think UEFA appoint him again inthis edition of Champions League, but time will show it. And I recommend that you don't tell to anyone by "you must, you mustn't" way. It could be badly received. I think also, it's not wrong to give an opinion about referees' decisions, not being a referee. It's group of men whose passion is refereeing, who often are referees, who finally know the rules. Football refereeing is a fantastic thing, in which we could have many opinions, interpretations like refs, so don't be so sure he's not referee, son't be so sure also Kuipers will take next match in that edition of CL.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    3. Listen my friend LZS Bonfils,you are right its good to talk about refereeing and express your personal opinion BUT using such heavy words as unacceptable is rather stupid.Unacceptable to who?To ptschovschi or to Bonfils?Those referees are highly experienced with many skills that a lot of us(referees or not)do not have...Its obvious that some referees just to be there deserve to be there.So we all better keep such opinions for ourselves and our friends.This was a clear call some we are overeacting.And Bonfils my friend wait and see about Kuipers new appointment.Its going to be something big as he was his mark for this match.Meanwhile you and i can dream....

    4. Anonymous9/4/12 17:01

      Pathetic words :) OK, you are right we can dream about career like Kuipers, but we have a right to say what we think about referee's performance. Does gynecologist must have children to be gyn? I think not. So, I have my opinion and you have own. But saying that we should keep such opinions for ourselves is unlogical to me. Everyone who knows laws is able to say it was good or bad decision. And yes, it was unacceptable technical mistake by Kuipers (although I like him as ref), but then it's obvious penalty, you are right. But referee at this level should know FIFA's recommendations, which are clear. I wish Kuipers and other referees to achieve big appointments.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    5. You common sense says tha?I am really sorry to hear that.And using such an inapropriate example with the gynecologist...Its seems that you come from a different world my friend.And maybe because you think you are an expert in such matters just tell me what exactly the FIFA recommendations as you name it say about such incidents?????I will be very glad to read them and learn...Till then keep on dreaming....

    6. Anonymous9/4/12 18:29

      Man, do not be so extreme in your answers, please. I think you too dramatically respond to other opinions. Because of your lack of ability to discuss on a decent level and very hateful language, I finish this discussion. I wish you also get rid of negative emotions.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    7. Anonymous9/4/12 18:41

      And please, here you have recommendations to beginning referees:

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    8. Anonymous9/4/12 18:48

      Here we have an obvious proof of Kuipers made a wrong call:

      (text from referees course)

      Corner kicks are a potentially
      dangerous situation!
      • Before ball is in play:
      – Pushing and jostling for position
      – Hold up kick and warn or Caution
      • After ball is in play:
      - All fouls per Law 12
      - Penalize per Law 12

      So I recommend some people to go to referee course (even as a auditor) and find out how are recommendations to referees!

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    9. Anonymous9/4/12 18:54

      And FIFA recommendations

      Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or around using the hands, the arms or the body.
      Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks.

      To deal with these situations:
      • the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play (!!! HERE IS ANSWER)
      • caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play
      • award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens once the ball is in play.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S Bonfils

    10. Anonymous9/4/12 19:02

      And maybe I am not an expert, Kika, but I have more knowledge than you I think ;) Next time, don't be so arrogant, when you are not sure about what you say. As you see, even you can be wrong :D

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    11. Thank you my friend for your advice...Its really getting ridiculous talking with someone who can understand what he is reading.And someone who thinks he knows everything...Oh no no i dont mean you....The big difference between you and me is that you only read...Refereeing is not reading and wathcing on television from your comfortable sofa...You just have to translate what you read into the pitch.And thats why you are not Kuipers....And you will never be Kuipers if you think like that...And to end all this lets see what happens with Kuipers in the future...Lets see if more people like me who do not know the recomendations of Fifa (or should i say recommendation oF l.z.s.Bonfils) agree with my opinion and give him a next appointment...Or maybe Collina,Dallas or Batta ignore the laws of the game and you know more than them...Thats all,my expert FRIEND!And all that knowledge you think you have keep it all for yourself.And of course if you want when the next appointment of Kuipers comes dont try to hide....Send me your email and i will be glad to send you an email....If you want of course

    12. Anonymous9/4/12 19:47

      No comment, Kika. Learn more and improve your discussion style. More neutrality, less emotions. By the way, if you think FIFA is me, it's ridiculous.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    13. Anonymous9/4/12 19:58

      Ah, I forgot... I don't think we can discuss about anythink, because (in your opinion) I am not referee (what is by the way lie), and I am not able to "translate what I read into the pitch" (what is by the way lie) and "I am watching matches from my comfortable sofa" (what is by the way lie) and I am not Kuipers (what is finally true) so keep your mail for yourself. What do you want to talk to someone who does not even know half of what you know?

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    14. ok i will accept that.You dont want to give your mail to someone who can learn from your valuable knowledge......Bye Bjorn!!!!!!

    15. Anonymous9/4/12 20:22

      I am sure that someone doesn't want to learn from me. There are FIFA (and not only) materials in web, so let someone read it ;) By the way, I am curious how do you know next UEFA appointments? And I have not problem to accept UEFA apps and decisions. So I will not hide... My name is not Bjorn.

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils


    1. Very interesting, thanks Carlos.

  14. I updated the Champions League ranking with the marks on Ref Marks, here is the result:

    Nicola Rizzoli
    Carlos Velasco
    Damir Skomina
    Björn Kuipers
    Craig Thomson
    Gianluca Rocchi
    Kassai Viktor
    Svein Moen
    Howard Webb
    Cüneyt Çakır
    Paolo Tagliavento
    Jonas Eriksson
    Mark Clattenburg
    Stéphane Lannoy
    Pedro Proenca

  15. Anonymous9/4/12 11:41

    Best are on top and worse are below?

    1. Top Rizzoli, Flop Proenca, only considering the reports oin Refmarks for champions League that means only KO stage!

  16. Björn Kuipers has been graded an 8.4 by UEFA. UEFA was very happy Kuipers awarded the penalty kick, because they were planning to punish precisely these fouls within the box in EURO 2012.
    I think Kuipers has a big chance for the Europa League final.

  17. Anonymous9/4/12 23:58

    Nothing strange, if it's true. Overall Kuipers' performance (approach, style, control) was on the highest level. One oversight according to the recommendations can't destroy good referee. I don't know any referee who is faultless in this CL final. So maybe Europa League semi or even final for him, you are right.

    Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

    1. Its a good sign you ve changed your opinion already after our little chat...even now you can understand that his performance(including the penalty situation )i guess you were alittle bit stressed....Anyway i am happy to see that other people have the same opinion with me(including UEFA)Dont forget that i as you say i dont have the great knowledge of yours...But still...

      And one more thing Kuipers' mark was real high.More than 8.5......
      Because as Thomas says that is exactly what uefa wants to see...

    2. Anonymous10/4/12 10:40

      Not not, I didn't change my opinion about penalty. According to the FIFA's interpretation it's still oversight (official materials from FIFA's site). But, of course, I always emphasize the UEFA referees (at least Elite to 2nd category) are on the highest level. I have also pleasure to see excellent referees in extremely hard matches. Kuipers have all what the best referees must have (control, style, self-confidence). Not, I wasn't stressed, I just like discussion without personal attacks. It's very good we have different opinions, but also the same. Overall Kuipers' performance was excellent, and a small oversight in such hard match is nothing wrong. Referees are only human, and I remember that. And yes, I think Kuipers have a big chance for the EL semi-final, but my opinion about penalty situation is the same as I mentioned above.

      By the way, I want to wish all users many success in private and professional life and many health to be in refereeing world. I finish my activity here and I am going to be active in real World (I have a proposition to work in newspaper). Best wishes

      Sincerely, L.Z.S. Bonfils

  18. As I said, I think we'll se Kuipers once more, in my opinion EL semi-final would be appropriate, and Skomina MUST get a new appointment and it should be EL final or at least CL semi-final, I think he had a great season.

  19. A new "handball problem" for Martin Hansson...

  20. El Clasico appointment:

    LA LIGA 21/04/12
    Real Madrid - Barcellona
    Alberto Undiano Mallenco

  21. Olympic news!
    confirmed: Svein Oddvar Moen with Haglund and Andas; Roberto Garcia with Camargo and Morin; Rilmar Roldán (col) with Clavijo and Diaz; Juan Soto (Ven) with Urrego and Lopez; Raúl Orosco (bol) ar still unknown and one AR: Joe Fletcher that should say there is one USA or CAN ref!

    Women: Confirmed Quetzalli Alvarado with Mayte Chavez as AR (MEX)

  22. My predictions:

    Bayern-Real: Webb
    Real-Bayern: Kassai

    Chelsea-Barca: Stark
    Barca-Chelsea: Rizzoli

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Barca - Chelsea for Rizzoli would be really great, Niclas :)

      Anyway it seems almost sure, because Rizzoli had already Bayern in the roud of 16 and Rocchi (an italian referee) had Real in the last match.
      So if they decide to appoint Nicola for a semifinal, it seems quite sure that the match will be Barcellona - Chelsea.


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