August 1, 2015

Video Analysis: Four Red Cards in UEFA's Third Qualifying Round First Legs

Analysis of four red cards shown in last week's Champions League and Europa League Third Qualifying Round. There were more interesting situations last week, so this is only a small essence. What these cards have all in common: They were correct and serve as good examples for how things should or should not be like.

Collum sending off Schwab © Güni Art (owner of the photo)

Situation 1: Rapid Wien - Ajax Amsterdam (William Collum and his assistant Francis Connor involved)

Without any doubt, Collum correctly sent off the Rapid player for his terrible two-feet-jumping-tackle on his opponent, which clearly and seriously endangered the latter's safety. The force of this challenge was excessive for sure making it a black-and-white case of serious foul play. 
The way Collum and his assistant referee Connor managed this situation deserves praise as well. Both showed immediate presence to prevent retaliation or a mass-confrontation following the tackle that was justifiably perceived as brutal by the non-offending team. Collum correctly protected the offender still being at the ground and approached by some furious Ajax players. Good preventive management for sure.

In such a case, the benefit from sorting out the red card as quickly as possible outweighs the circumstance that you should actually not raise a card against a player who is still on the ground. This means: A too late shown card involves the risk of forcing possible confrontations, while a card shown against a player who is still on the turf involves the risk of showing too little respect for his person, which was in this case less relevant and smaller. Conducting this weighing-up-process, Collum's player management was therefore justifiable and fully ok - in other, "normal" situations, never show a card to a player lying aground!

The only thing both match officials should be reminded on is the need to show presence in a determined, but nonetheless composed and deescalating way. Collum and Connor both sprinted to the situation, which has the chance to signalize assertiveness and preventive management, but can also inflame confrontations and heat up the situation unnecessarily. Same goes for Collum's repeated whistles and quite offensive gesture "Leave the field!". Additionally, referees should refrain from touching or even pushing players (too intensely).

On the whole, a well managed situation though.

Situation 2: Jablonec - Kobenhavn (Mattias Gestranius and his assistant Jan-Peter Aravirta involved)

Despite the poor video quality, you are very likely able to see that this tackle belongs to the most dangerous subtypes of serious foul play. Studs were shown in a stretched and almost jumped way, making strong, unfair contact with the defender's upper calf. A similar foul in German Bundesliga was once sanctioned with an 8-match-suspension. 

Also here, the officials' management was good. Gestranius quickly showed the red card after a whistle which could have been a bit more intense and longer. After quickly asking for medical treatment, he then attempted to deescalate the situation and, along with his assistant, slightly protected or shielded the player for a short time. Things became calmer after that. It should be noted that the assistant referee correctly supported the referee actively at first to ensure that the confrontation would not escalate too much, and later, as soon as it was clear that things had already calmed a bit down, moved into a more indirect "monitoring" position. 

In more escalating mass-confrontations, the nearest assistant referee should enter the field of play and support the referee directly. The other assistant referee should stay a bit more distant and monitor as well as record all events going on to be able to assist the referee later when it comes to issuing disciplinary sanctions against preferably both teams.

Check another post which goes in a similar direction like 1) and 2)!

Situation 3: Panathinaikos - Club Brügge (Vladislav Bezborodov involved)

After two good examples, one not that positive example: Vladislav Bezborodov at first only issued a yellow card following the intense and forceful tackle by the Panathinaikos midfielder. Before the re-start of play, he however changed his mind, very likely following input of his assistant referee or the fourth official, and issued a red card. Technically, this is possible, but practically, it should be avoided of course. First discuss situations in your team, then decide! Not vice versa.

The tackle itself did not show any studs, but was nonetheless very hard in terms of its speed and intensity which should be deemed as excessive force that more or less clearly endangers the safety of the opponent. The criteria for serious foul play were fulfilled, or, in other words: This tackle was more than reckless.

Apart from the decision-changing-process, Bezborodov's player management and decision-communication were both not meeting the requirements:

1) When raising the yellow card, he still had his whistle in his mouth. Never do that. It does not show that much respect (more on that in another post in future). It also deprives yourself of the opportunity to communicate with the offender and to explain your decision.

2) After the red card decision, it was absolutely clear that the players would not understand what had just happened. Instead of explaining the procedure and decision, Bezborodov offensively yelled at the players, repeated the same gesture "Out!" again and again without effectiveness. He repeatedly walked away from the players some metres but they still followed him protesting.

Instead, he should have taken his time to shortly but efficiently explain the decision to the Panathinaikos captain while expressing determination at the same time. Of course, if they continue to protest, it is justified to refrain from too long explanations and even to caution any of the players / the most actively protesting player with a yellow card.

Situation 4: Dinamo Zagreb - Molde FK (Serge Gumienny, assistant Jimmy Cremers and fourth official Christof Dierick involved)

Serge Gumienny correctly dismissed an already substituted player for abusive and insultive gestures against the supporters. As he already did that when he was still on the field of play, maybe the officials should have noticed it earlier which would have had effects on the planned and ongoing substitution and number of players. All officials should stay concentrated at all times during a substitution - if you spot a player making such gestures on the field of play, then send him off immediately.
The decision itself nonetheless deserves compliment as it well mirrors the referee's fulfilled duty to protect the good of football and keep insultive and abusive conduct out of the game.


  1. Not so detail being down to 10 men. :) Agree on the rest!

    1. You are right, misplaced choice of words. I have adapted it.

  2. I disagree on the last video. Whoever saw the gesture should have immediately instructed the fourth official to stop the substitution until a decision was reached. Such an action deserved a red card on the field (and the team going down to 10 men), and not giving the card on the field of play is a mistake.

    1. We don't disagree here. I however think that the officials in fact did not see it (that's why I emphasized they should have noticed it already earlier). If they saw it and let him continue the substitution, it is a crucial mistake for me. I however don't know whether any official had both eyes on that player at the moment when the gesture was made first.

    2. Anonymous1/8/15 21:12

      And even if u see the first gesture, you have to be 100% sure that it's an insulting gesture. I can fully understand that they intervened after the next insulting gestures after the substution was made. They maybe saw a movement but weren't sure at first sight.
      Excellent decision of the referee team there nonetheless.

  3. For me no3 is a 50/50 and could have been avoided. The referee's player and match management was weak and resulted on the RC. A few minutes before that scene, Diaby (BRU) hit Sanchez (PAN) with his elbow/arm on his face. A situation that could lead to a RC. The referee gave only the FK.

  4. Anonymous1/8/15 19:54

    Chapron sent off directly Lichtsteiner in friendly Marseille Juventus for protests.

    1. Anonymous1/8/15 23:34

      I don't like Chapron's style at all. And I don't think that he's a good referee. Saw some of his performances and, well...

    2. If I am not mistaken Chapron also sent a player off after a YC at u17 (?). At least Gautier did that, too, in Alkmaar.

  5. Anonymous1/8/15 23:37

    Does anyone know what happened to Olympics 2012 referee Christina Pedersen (NOR) after what has been called "the worst referee performance ever" in the semifinal USA-Canada? Apparently she has retired from refereeing, and poses on Facebook in a Germany shirt:

    1. Not the first time a Norwegian official wears a team jersey. But well did she become a pokerstar? ;)

  6. Anonymous2/8/15 16:09

    When will be referee for 2nd legs?

    1. Anonymous2/8/15 16:10

      CL 2nd legs

    2. They were already published

  7. A little OT, but underneath some clips of the most important situations in the Dutch Super Cup match between FC Groningen and PSV, where new Elite referee Bas Nijhuis was in charge.

    Handball 1:

    Tackle 1:

    Penalty area decision 1:

    Tackle 2:

    Handball 2:

    Disciplinary action 1:

    Penalty area decision 2:

    Disciplinary action 2:

    1. 1) very difficult as the ball seems to slide on more parts of the player's body, you can give a penalty for the last touch, but difficult to react this way in a match atmosphere, acceptable no-call
      2) yellow card
      3) missed penalty leading to a goal for opposite team
      4) yellow card
      5) play-on, no deliberate handball, could be evaluated the other way round if the ball hit the hand in the forearm
      6) red card, even more VC than SFP
      7) penalty, careless action by defender, you cannot attack player in front of you in such intense way
      8) no card needed, on the border between careless and reckless

    2. Anonymous4/8/15 17:51

      Agreed on every opinion, just one question about your remark on clip 5. Do you mean that in your eyes it would be a penalty if ball touches the hand, and not the rest of the arm, of defender's left arm?

    3. Agreed. According to guidelines we have in Poland, it would be a penalty. If there is a slide tackle made not to fight for the ball but to block the pass or shot, the player takes the risk and should not increase the body surface. Here, the ball hit the hand in such way that - if not the hand - the ball would have hit the player's body.

    4. Agreed on actually everything, too. Some additional remarks:
      1) also for me no deliberate handball, specially as the defender is attacked from behind so that his action is not that that much "controllable". Maybe an offensive foul should be whistled, considering the kicking movement making the potential offender fall.
      2) Yellow. Good example for careless.
      3) Missing penalty, look at Nijhuis, he stands there 3 seconds like a statue, does not adapt his visual angle and looks onto the tackle from the front. I am sure that from the side, with a more appropiate distance (7-8m) he would have spotted it.
      4) Yellow. Scissors foul, but not that high intensity.
      5) Good prototype for no del. handball in similar situations.
      6) Red Card, maybe a bit more SFP as you could still argue it was more or less in fight of the ball. Also here, Nijhuis walks calmly with his body already turned to the midfield (--> not focused, not anticipating sth like that). AR2 and AAR2 had a good view. Not acceptable and understandable to miss that.
      7) To be honest, rather soft penalty. But the contact is enough. Advice for Blom: avoid to walk away 5 metres facing some protests, stay firm.
      8) studs are shown and this can be enough for a YC. However he does not touch his opponent with it at all. So also here I agree, no card is acceptable.
      Thanks DutchRef for your videos & Ref1 for comments.

    5. Thank you for your comments. This is how I see this blog - videos/examples, arguments, expertise, education,civilized discussion, ...
      Yes, this time I agree with all of your decisions.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. OK, my turn now. :)
    What are your thoughts on these scenes taken from the 1st matchday of Polish Ekstraklasa:





    1. Thanks, due to the amount of videos, expect my views by tomorrow :)

    2. Thanks for the reply. Will be waiting!


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