Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Barton's Comments About Tevez Justify HKRef's Open Suggestion to the FA

Finally after 18 months, Joey Barton has spoken about what happened between him and Carlos Tevez during that fateful match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers that resulted in Barton getting a 12-match ban from the FA.

Carlos Tevez provoked Joey Barton, and Barton fell for it hook, line and sinker. Pic Andy Hooper.

At the time, HKRef suggested that Tevez must have done something to provoke Barton to elbow him. The FA did not bother taking retrospective action on Carlos Tevez and therefore sent out the message that it is uninterested in seeking real justice in the game.

IMHO, Barton is a dedicated, talented and committed player. His weakness is his temperament, which many players recognize and therefore exploit. This is because Barton has gained a bad boy reputation due to the consequences stemming from his uncontrollable temperament.

Referees can learn a lot about officiating effectively from this kind of knowledge about players.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

RefCam: A Referee's Perpective

The following incidents occurred from the Referee's Perspective during the MLS All Stars match against Roma on Thursday 1 August 2013. The match finished 1—3, with 2 YCs.

Ref Cam: Sights and Sounds from the 2013 ATT MLS All-Star Game (YouTube)

Here's what Referee Hilario Grajeda looked like rigged up with the RefCam (which appears rather bulky).

From the start, Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic (red 15) appears to be one of those players who persistently badger the referee to give things in their favour. Experienced Referees can spot these type of players a mile away.
C'mon Ref, what are you doing?

Later, Pjanic (red 15) fouls MLS All Stars captain Thierry Henry (blue 14). Pjanic looks at the Referee apologetically to make sure that he is not booked.
 Nice, clear and firm signal to indicate a direct free kick
 Don't book me Ref! I'm a good boy ... honest ...
Notice also the big screen from the Referee's view. A simultaneous double whammy!

Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis (grey) catches the ball and Referee Grajeda raises his ams with all fingers splayed out. He waits a second or two and then gives two thumbs up. What is this signal? What message is the Referee trying to communicate and are players paying attention to him?

 Wait ... wait ... goalkeeper has the ball ... wait ... thumbs up ...

In the 54', Pjanic (red 15) fouls Landon Donovan (blue 7) and Referee Grajeda, who appears (at least from the RefCam perspective) to be quite a distance away, cautions Pjanic.
 Is it clear to the players, match officials and spectators who the Referee has given a yellow card to?
Donovan takes exception to Pjanic's unfair challenge.

The RefCam is a great experience that the MLS (or PRO?) is offering to soccer fans. Letting people see what the referee sees … or doesn't see … can only be a good thing if we want to provide a better understanding of the important and fantastic work that Referees do. Let's see more RefCams!

Related Post
Able Referee Assistants Must Assist Referees Ably

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Hong Kong Killer Pitch

Hong Kong played host to the Barclays Asia Trophy on Wednesday 24 July and Saturday 27 July. The three EPL teams were Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, with reigning local champions South China making up the quartet.

Sunderland coach Paolo Di Canio called the 40,000-seater Hong Kong Stadium a "killer pitch" due to its poor drainage during torrential downpours. Spurs boss Andre Villa-Boas was not happy because his team lost 1—3 to Sunderland plus his Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen twisted ankle ligaments on the sodden surface. Villa-Boas flew in his own head groundsman to help with the pitch conditions at Hong Kong Stadium (see story here).

Here are some photos of Hong Kong Stadium during the BAT pre-season tournament ...

 First day's first match (Sunderland vs Tottenham) and the pitch is getting cut up

 The pitch conditions worsen. Pic courtesy Getty Images.

Hong Kong groundstaff doing their best to keep dry from the rain and mud-free from the pitch. Pic courtesy Getty Images.

Second day's second match (Man City vs Sunderland) and Spurs' head groundsman flew in and advised laying sand in the muddy patches of the pitch

The match Referees for the BAT tournament were EPL referees Anthony Taylor and Neil Swarbrick, who were joined by Hong Kong Referee Liu Kwok Man.

Next up, just two days after the end of the BAT, Manchester United play Kitchee (local league runners-up) on Monday 29 July. United manager David Moyes attended the BAT on Saturday 27 July to inspect the pitch. Understandably, Moyes called off the planned open training session for Sunday 28 July, in the hope that the pitch would be "playable" on Monday (see story here).


Tottenham 6 South China 0

Manchester City 1 Sunderland 0

United Refuse To Train At 'Killer' Hong Kong Stadium

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Shinpads and Shinguards Play An Important Role

In the modern era of soccer, with powerful professional athletes playing at terrifying speeds and commitment, it is amazing and alarming to see players wearing close-to-nothing protection. What does it take to get the proper message through to their 'tiny' minds?

Newcastle United's physical and boisterous midfielder Cheick Tiote plays with tiny teeny shinpads. Pic from EPA.


Are you Ferguson in disguise? Echoes of Everton bad boy as Coloccini sees red in 'friendly' match (Daily Mail)

Related Posts

Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 1

Probing Lee Probert Part 3

Shinpads Guard Against Stupidity From Others

Shinguards Should Protect Properly

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Lebanese Referee Jailed in Singapore … Sings

The Lebanese Referee jailed in Singapore has revealed how match-fixers "advise" match officials how to rig games.

"The best way to rig a match [is] to award penalties"

Referees already know this ... and if you look at the example here of Niger Referee Ibrahim Chaibou on 1 June 2011, it is quite obvious that he is fixing the match. So what has FIFA or Interpol done about charging Chaibou?

Singaporean businessman and match fixer Eric Ding Si Yang. Pic from AFP

Related Posts

Suspect Referee Performance: Nigeria v Argentina

China's Golden Whistle Admits Accepting US$44,000 Bribe

Lebanese Referees Guilty of Accepting Sexual Bribes For Match Fixing


Referee given match-fixing tips on YouTube, court told (SCMP; paywall)

Jailed official tells court he received links from businessman on how to make 'wrong decisions'
Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 3:59am

Agence France-Presse in Singapore

A Lebanese referee jailed for accepting sex to rig matches testified yesterday that a Singaporean businessman used YouTube to show him how to fix a game.

Ali Sabbagh, speaking on the first day of the trial of Eric Ding Si Yang, said the businessman sent him "20 to 30" YouTube links by e-mail to "teach me how to make wrong decisions".

"The videos had too many decisions where the decision made by the referee is not the right decision," he said.

Ding is accused of providing Sabbagh, 34, and two other Lebanese officials with women who gave them free sexual services before a match in Singapore in April..

Sabbagh and the other two officials were withdrawn from duty and placed under investigation before the match. He was found guilty in June and sentenced to six months in jail, while his assistants - Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb - were also convicted and have since been released and deported.

Sabbagh said that in a series of e-mail exchanges late last year, Ding told him that the best way to rig a match was to award penalties. Sabbagh quoted Ding as saying that "nobody will stop you, nobody will do anything ... When the corner comes, just blow and say pushing and pulling ... If there is anything in the penalty area, you can blow your whistle".

He said Ding gave him assurances that he would not be asked to rig matches that would affect his career within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Sabbagh, who is scheduled to be released from jail on August 3, told the court he was the one who first proposed that Ding "arrange for girls" when the three match officials were in Singapore for the AFC Cup tie between Singapore's Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal in April.

Sabbagh said Ding asked them to choose between Colombian or Asian girls and "we all told him we want Asian girls".

He added that Ding had likely offered the free sexual favours with the expectation that they would help rig unspecified AFC Champions League matches to be held in South Korea, Qatar and Iran. "He [Ding] is very interested in these matches, there is too much spectators, there is too much goals," Sabbagh said in stuttering English.

Ding seemed relaxed but appeared to show disapproval at parts of Sabbagh's testimony.

He faces a maximum of five years in jail and fines of up to S$100,000 (US$80,000) for each of three counts of corruption. He separately faces two charges of stealing evidence and obstructing police after declining to disclose the password to his laptop computer. He denies the charges.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

FIFA Guidelines For Referees: Positioning for a Penalty Kick

The following incident occurred during the FIFA U20 World Cup group match between England and Irag on 23 June 2013. The match finished 2—2, with 5 YCs.

In the 74', with the score at 2—0, Referee Roberto Garcia (Mexico) correctly awards a penalty to Iraq. Here is his correct positioning for the penalty kick.

Some of the comments from readers (who I assume are referees) for the recent post Positioning Guidelines for FIFA Referees reveal a surprising lack of basic knowledge of the LOTG.

Please consider why FIFA recommends Referees to stand approximately in this position for penalty kicks.

Next, consider why FIFA recommends Referees to stand in a different position for Kicks from the Penalty Mark.

FIFA Referees are supposed to have attained a certain standard of competency. Therefore, whenever inconsistencies are observed, the purpose of raising its awareness is so that the rest of us can learn from the mistakes of high-profile Referees (without, hopefully, performing the error ourselves).

We should also be concerned about why FIFA Referees are not consistent in their knowledge of the LOTG.
Who are the ones instructing the Referee instructors and assessing the Referee assessors?

The match officials were:
Referee: Roberto GARCIA (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis CAMARGO (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto MORIN (MEX)
Fourth official: Wilmar ROLDAN (COL)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Positioning Guidelines For FIFA Referees

The 2013 UEFA U21 European Championships held in Israel was home to some wonderful matches from players, some solid performances from match officials, and some fantastic entertainment in general for everyone involved.

For informative and insightful analyses, I suggest visiting The Third Team website. It is a great website looking at refereeing from Europe. They also have some dedicated and passionate "blog observers" who produce useful and helpful assessment reports.

My observation here is just a comment on the consistency of knowledge amongst all the upcoming referees from Europe. The natural assumption is that all FIFA referees are familiar with the LOTG—especially with the interpretations—and with special guidelines or directives that arise from time to time.

On this basis, it is puzzling to see the positioning of Referee Matej Jug (Slovenia) during penalty kicks. The following incidents occurred during the 2013 UEFA U21 Final between Italy and Spain on Tuesday 18 June 2013. The match finished 2—4, with 7 YCs.

Penalty One

In the 37', Referee Jug is perfectly positioned to make the correct call. Here are the freeze frames:

Notice the Italian players surrounding and hounding the Referee

Look at Referee Jug's positioning

Penalty Two

In the 64', Referee Jug is far behind from play as an Italy defender trips the Spain attacker. Here are the freeze frames:

A couple of seconds after the foul. Referee Jug comes into the frame. Who made the penalty call? The EAR or AR?

Referee Jug keeps his whistle in his mouth (see similar "whistle in mouth" case here). Something else (not a second whistle) dangles on the other end. What is it? It looks like a dog tag or key fob.

Again, notice the Referee's positioning


Referee Matej Jug (Slovenia) and his colleagues who officiated at these U21 Championships are the next generation of top FIFA referees from Europe. They are currently categorized as Elite Development FIFA referees. The fact that there are still obvious inconsistencies with the interpretation of the LOTG should raise some concern. All match officials at international level should have sufficient training and knowledge to be consistently correct in the basic positioning concepts as described in the LOTG.

I can perhaps excuse the blatant performance of older match officials who stubbornly refuse to change their ways even in the face of the most up-to-date FIFA guidelines. The example here would be the stubborn and slovenly AR Arhar who previously worked with up-and-coming Slovenian Referee Damir Skomina (example here).

However, for Elite Development FIFA Referees, there can be no excuse for any inconsistencies with regard to the standard interpretations of the LOTG. If this basic procedure (i.e. positioning for a penalty kick) cannot be followed consistently amongst all FIFA referees, then what does it say about the referee assessors and instructors of the next generation of top FIFA referees? This blog has previously mentioned consistency problems amongst the next generation of referees (see here).

The match officials for the Final were:
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Fourth Official: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
UEFA Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Petr Fousek (CZE)