January 18, 2016

Video Training - 2x SPA or DOGSO? (JUV-GLA & ZEN-POR) - Solutions

The following match situations belong to the category SPA or DOGSO?
You are warmly encouraged to participate in discussion by answering the poll or placing a comment.
Our solution will be published soon.


In SPA vs DOGSO scenarios, referees have to consider many aspects and criteria before coming to a judgment. Being the last man is not enough to deem an attacker as denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

In general, it must be a really CLEAR and OBVIOUS goal-scoring opportunity.

Some criteria are:
- Did the attacker control the ball OR was it probable that he would have controlled the ball?
- Position of the attacker?
- Direction of the ball's and player's movement? Towards the goal or rather towards the side / corner?
- Distance to the goal?
- Position of other defenders and the goalkeeper? Was another player able to interneve?
- Likelihood of the attack to produce a goal if it had not been stopped by an offence?

In this case, there are surely arguments for both. 

Arguments in favour of SPA (Yellow Card)

Arguments in favour of DOGSO (Red Card)

- It is not 100% clear whether the attacker would have reached the ball earlier than the other defender.
- Attacker had full control of the ball.
- The attacker moved towards the corner flag to circumvent the later offender.
- Distance to the goal not that big.
- The ball (look at its effet at 0:25 in the video) moved towards the sideline.
- If he had not been fouled, the attacker might have reached the ball earlier than the other defender.
- The attacker would have had to change his and the ball’s direction after reaching it, which would have cost some time and produced a worse shooting angle.
- In this case, he would have been 1v1 with the goalkeeper.
- The situation is not clear enough to deem it as a clearly denied, OBVIOUS goal-scoring opportunity.
- The attacker had already accelerated, the other defender still had to initiate a sprint to be able to intervene.

- The defender chose this foul as his last opportunity to stop a probable goal from being scored.
In such situations, the referee team's decision should be supported either way. Even with replays, it is actually not possible to come to a 100% clear solution. In the video, you can see the referee having eye- and ear-contact with his additional assistant referee, who is able to assess the ability of the other defender to intervene. The assistant referee can identify the position including the proximity to the goal of the three involved players. Another problem was that the referee did not anticipate the unexpected loss of the ball and was too highly positioned on the field of play (probably 30m away at the moment of the foul).

It is often proposed to freeze the mental image at the accurate moment of the foul. By freezing the moment of the foul as placed above, you should come to the conclusion: Clearly the last man, no chance for the other defender: DOGSO, Red Card. This is correct, but only one side of the coin. 

Freezing your mental image tells you nothing about the movement of the players, the movement and effet of the ball or the distance between the attacker and the ball (maybe he poorly controlled or touched it, which makes the ball bouncing away 5-10 metres away from the attacker's feet which leads to a reduced control of the ball).

All this has to be integrated though! Freezing the moment of the foul is nonetheless immensely important because the players' positions can dynamically and quickly change after the foul which would influence the judgment. You therefore have to know who was where even some seconds later.

From my point of view, this is one of the most complex SPA vs DOGSO situations of the past Champions League seasons. Referee Thomson only cautioned the offender. I strongly support this decision due to the ball's movement and effet as well as the mere circumstance that this is everything but a 100% clear, obvious goal-scoring opportunity. As stressed above, both decisions should be accepted, of course. Somehow, this is an orange card...

Life is rarely black or white, but of course a referee has to know what decision he should better take. If I had to commit myself to a decision, I would recommend a yellow card.

Around 70% of you preferred a red card.


The attacker was in full speed and therefore faster than both other defenders. The defender tripped the attacker who additionally was in full control of the ball and his body. The other defender had no chance to intervene in a fair manner - a good sign for that is that he even has to jump over the falling attacker which means that he was some metres behind him. The distance to the goal is moderate, given the attacker's speed, it was however likely that a goal could have been easily scored in a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper.

Although the situation was surely difficult for the referee and additional assistant referee, who had a 0-20° angle on the situation (which makes it difficult to estimate the exact player positions - the first assistant referee had better chances in terms of that), the referee should have sent off the defender for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.  

Red Card.

This is UEFA's official solution as well.

Interestingly, here 50% voted in favour of a Yellow Card and the other 50% of a Red Card.


  1. DOGSO both of them. At the exact moment of the foul, there is no one else in a position to intervene. In the second video, the situation changes very quickly, so it is crucial to focus on the precise moment of the foul.

  2. In the second clip would distance from goal and proximity of defender not put some doubt in your mind? Yellow card for me.

    1. The ball and player were also moving towards the corner, In my mind this gives the second defender a chance to get goalside and recover his position ...this is a yellow for me

  3. DFB has added a 23rd referee to their Bundesliga list: Patrick Ittrich from Hamburg. He is already 37 years old, therefore without chances for an international career.

    1. A surprising move for this reason. On the other hand, he is experienced and has the necessary personality skills. I have doubts about his fitness though. A solid referee overall, with 3 officials leaving at the end of next season and another one being injured, a necessary decision.

    2. Interesting that a referee can be added during the season. For example, in Italy it is not possible. The panel of referees for a certain league must be always the same for the whole season.

    3. I am also surprised, but there is still a lot of time until there is a free FIFA spot for Germany, if nobody is taken down. And Stegemann and Brand are two available candidates, so there is no need to bring in someone young at the moment.
      In Germany, changes during the season are also the exception, but it's not happening for the first time.

    4. I agree, probably with Cortus and Osmers two further young(er) referees might move up next summer, who would be able to follow Brand and Stegemann.
      As soon as Brand is ready, I could imagine that Gräfe voluntarily retires from his FIFA badge, but time will show.

    5. More news from Germany: Herbert Fandel will relinquish responsibility for the Bundesliga referees in summer. A successor is not known yet. Nevertheless he wants to keep his place in the UEFA referee committee.

  4. OT: What do you think about this? Overreaction or appropriate?

    1. If you mean the player's reaction: appropiate and I would have liked to see the whole team leaving the field of play.

  5. Statement on UEFA.com (http://www.uefa.org/mediaservices/mediareleases/newsid=2325766.html):

    Goalline Technology will be used during the European Championships in France during all matches, and in CL from the play-offs an onwards starting from the season 2016-2017. It will be investigated whether goalline technology will be introduced in EL as well (if so, it will be from the group stage and onwards, starting in seasion 2017-2018).

    1. Good news. GLT has been a resounding success in the Premier League.

    2. An interesting decision, especially for all Additional Assistant Referees.

  6. 2016 CL QF Atl. Madrid v Barcelona: Iniesta red card, yes or no?

    (what happened to parts 3 and 4 of SPA - DOGSO?)


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