September 17, 2013

UEFA Coaching Videos on AARs - Part 1

Thanks to Mr José Garcia-Aranda, there is access to the videos that were very likely used as coaching material at the recent UEFA referee seminar held in Nyon. 

The 16 match situations, that have been uploaded at Garcia's website and basically focus on decisions and teamwork in terms of the Additional Assistant Referee programme during the last UEFA club competition season, will be analyzed during the next days, split in three different posts.

Situation 1: Montpellier HSC - Arsenal FC 
(Officials involved: Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, AR Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez, AAR Carlos Del Cerro Grande, Spain)

Montpellier's #10 was entering the penalty area and was challenged by Arsenal's #5, who clearly tackled #10's left calf in an unfair manner. This contact is enough for classifying this challenge as a foul, even though #10 surely exaggerated the contact by jumping out of the penalty area. The contact was happening inside the penalty area though.
That's a decision which surely benefits from the presence of an additional assistant referee, indicated by the delayed whistle (consultation within the referee team). Carlos Del Cerro Grande was just positioned at the level of the penalty area line and was thus able to assess this situation properly. The referee himself could have faced some trouble in this context if he had had to make this decision on his own. In this particular situation, more eyes indeed see more. Just a remark on the assistant referee, Juan Yuste Jiménez: since the launch of the AAR programme, assistant referees have to stay at the 16m-line during penalty kicks and have to stay on line with the 2nd last defender when entering the penalty area during / after the penalty kick's execution. Yuste Jiménez surely forgot this because of routine (00:21 - 00:23). He recognized his faulty positioning and quickly adjusted it.

Conclusion: Correct decision - Penalty kick

Situation 2: Borussia Dortmund - Real Madrid  
(Officials involved: Referee Viktor Kassai, AAR Mihály Fabián, Hungary)

Real's defender #14 was challenging Dortmund forward #11 in the penalty area close to referee Kassai's AAR2 Fabián. With a bit delay, Kassai pointed to the corner and thus evaluated the duel as fair. Both officials obviously believed that #14 had only played the ball and had furthermore touched it last. Both was not the case. The replay (also strengthened by a manually deployed slow-motion) clearly shows that #14 fouled Dortmund #11 having caused latter to lose soil contact and to go to the ground, touching the ball and manoeuvring it towards the goal line. The Additional Assistant Referee actually had a perfect angle on this situation and should have assessed it accordingly. The responsibility for this crucial mistake was probably shifted on Fabián's shoulders.

Conclusion: Crucial mistake - Missed penalty kick

Situation 3: Chelsea FC - Juventus Turin
(Officials involved: Referee Pedro Proença, AAR João Capela, Portugal)

Juventus defender #15 was in a 1v1 duel against Chelsea forward #17 in the penalty area. Both sprinted towards the goal line, while the defender was in an inferior position. He touched the shoulder and back of his opponent twice and pushed him a bit in a quite "customary" way. The forward then decided to fall. In fact the descent came too late and was at the borderline to a dive. Pedro Proença very quickly waived play-on, which seems to have been a good decision due to the contacts existing before. Deciding on simulation would have been controversial. It is unclear whether the decision was made upon consultation with AAR1 Capela (depending on how both officials splitted the penalty area in terms of their areas of responsibility at the pre-match-briefing), perhaps he was just there to confirm that it was no foul. At any rate, correct decision!

Conclusion: Correct decision - no penalty kick

Situation 4: Juventus Turin - Shakhtar Donetsk
(Officials involved: Referee Bas Nijhuis, AAR Ed Janssen, Netherlands)

The ball was played at the far-right and passed into the penalty area. Shakhtar forward #10 strived for the ball but was held and pulled to the ground by Juventus defender #26. The incident was missed by both referee Nijhuis and specially AAR Janssen. The likelihood of the striker of getting in control over the ball and - in this case - even of scoring a goal was very high. Therefore the referee should have awarded a penalty kick in favour of Shakhtar and should have issued a red card against #26 for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Watching the video carefully with regard to where the officials probably looked at during this occasion, it gets quite obvious that Nijhuis followed the ball for a long time and failed to visually control the duel in the box. He had to do that. That's why it is basically the AAR's mistake, who actually seemed to follow this duel. Shifting responsibility principally worked in this moment, the problem was and is that the outcome, i.e. the decision by AAR2, was wrong.

Conclusion: Crucial mistake - Missed penalty kick (+DOGSO)

Situation 5: Ajax Amsterdam - Borussia Dortmund
(Officials involved: Referee Pedro Proença, AR Bertino Miranda, AAR João Capela, Portugal)

You don't see it too often that a referee on this level changes his mind by 180° after having taken a decision. In this situation, it did happen. Dortmund forward #10 received the ball in the box and performed an exemplary dive by jumping into his opponent's sliding tackle (Ajax #4) with a pirouette. Of course there was an inevitable contact, but none that should have been penalized. 
Referee Proença whistled and pointed to the spot. Assistant Referee Miranda did not move towards the goalline and his whole body language suggested that he perhaps did not consider it as a foul. AAR Capela moved towards the goal, maybe indicating "penalty kick!". Proença seemed to have eye-contact with Capela and clearly talked into his micro asking for confirmation...and then changed his mind: dive, YC to the offender (#10). A correct decision. But it is opaque how he came to this perception. It depends on what was said via micro. Maybe Capela corrected him. Maybe Miranda corrected him or confirmed Capela's correction. In principle, wrongly taken crucial decisions stay crucial mistakes even if they are overruled by a team-mate. If the Portuguese team were clever, they surely explained this confusing situation with communication problems in the noisy atmosphere in Amsterdam ArenA (Capela saying "No Penalty, No Penalty!" and Proença understanding "Penalty! Penalty" due to the noise).

Conclusion: Correct decision - No penalty kick (Dive) - However, it is possible that the decision was evaluated as a crucial mistake by the referee observer, depending on the responsibility and circumstances of each official)

How do you evaluate these situations?


  1. Very interesting post Niclas, thank also to Garcia Aranda, of course.

    1) Correct penalty decision by Del Cerro Grande, considering that it was also difficult to understand where the foul happened (inside or outside the box).

    2) Clear missed penalty by AAR2, Kassai is not lucky with AARs. Anyway, this is the first time that I watch this scene, I had missed it.

    3) Correct decision here, too. No penalty for Chelsea, it is not enough. I think that this situation it's not extremely difficult to evaluate.

    4) Crucial mistake by the Dutch team. Clear foul, anyway here I can accept the YC, I don't see a 100% DOGSO. The player is not in possession of the ball and we can't know what was going to happen without the foul. But, of course, I totally understand a referee who issues a straight red here. This mistake was crucial in Nijhuis international career, too blatant to be missed.

    5) Pointing the spot and then booking for dive is not the best scene to see from a referee, anyway at the end the only important thing is the final decision, and here it was 100% correct. I think that in this case the cooperation was excellent and the observer might have counted it as crucial mistake only for Proença, as you wrote Niclas.

  2. In my opinion the 3th situation can be a panalty.It's a 50/50 situation, that has to do with the style of the referee.
    Personaly i had given a penalty, because of 2 reasons:
    1. Pushing from the defender to the attacker, wich is not allowed.
    2. The final thing what made the attacker falling, was the defenders legg, wich touched the attackers right legg.

    1. Agree. For me, it's enough to whistle a penalty. The foul (pushing) is clear, defender is behind and therefore, penalty kick should've been given, IMHO. Never a simulation, play-on is brave but not necessarily correct call. However, one can accept non-penalty here...

  3. Well, on situation 2 (Kassai): UEFA said that the ball had been played by the defender, so that no penalty should be awarded. They seem to have seen another replay.

    1. With all due respect Niklas, I was observer for the blog on BVB - Real: There are 3 replay's and 2 of them indicate that the defender really did hit the ball. So for me the no-penalty is correct.

    2. So this replay presented in the clip was in fact the worst one?

    3. Yes. The other two clips present the scene from the AR's and AAR's angle.


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