Saturday 23 June 2012

Why EARs not AARs?

Because in English, 'extra' is instinctively preferred over 'additional'.

Some readers have asked why I use the term EARs to denote UEFA's 'investigational' use of additional assistant referees (AARs). I gave two reasons (please see here), and there is a third reason which—following the Euro 2012 final group match between England and Ukraine on Tuesday 19 June 2012—I now have some evidence to support.

The following (highlighted in red) are some spontaneous and natural English expressions from the English-speaking public regarding additional assistant referees and their failure during the England and Ukraine match to spot the whole of the ball crossing the goal line under the crossbar and between the posts (all from BBC Sport Live Text):

Chris Waddle, former England international, in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live:
"I can't believe it. You've got the linesman, plus the man on the goal-line. He's six yards away from it and he couldn't see that? Unbelievable."

Tom Rostance, BBC Sport:
The extra assistant is Istvan Vad, he was stood no more than five yards away from that incident. But he did not see it.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Donestk:
"Huge escape for England as Marko Devic's effort was clearly over the line before John Terry hooked it clear. Once again extra officials prove pointless."

Arthur on Twitter: "I feel bad for Ukraine. They've been robbed. It was a definite goal, terrible refereeing. Why have a man behind the goal?"

John McCook on Twitter: "Thought the extra officials were meant to be there to help get these decisions right? Massive mistake there!"

Graham Taylor, former England manager, in Donetsk for BBC Sport:
"It was an obvious goal wasn't it? The assistant should have seen that. I can't believe he didn't. Very fortunate for England, but then in all tournaments you need an amount of luck. That was certainly a very, very lucky moment for England."

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer in Donetsk:
"Can I ask again... what actual task do these extra officials perform?"

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter: "That is karma for what happened to us in South Africa..."

Charlie in Surrey on text: "Ball crossed the line but Milevskiy was offside anyway. Justice done."

Martin on text: "I have always defended the ref behind goal, he is only there to see if ball cross the line, not give anything else. But he just showed he cannot even do that."

Reuters (see article here):
But the goal was not awarded by the referee or his extra assistant, who was just metres from the post.

In English, the term "extra" is preferred over "additional". Simply, two syllables are preferred over four! An "additional assistant referee" is a mouthful to say. Even "additional AR" is a mouthful compared with saying "extra AR" or EAR.

These then are my three reasons why I have always used the term EARs (extra assistant referees) even though their official label is AARs (which sounds a lot like ARSE or ASS). Using EARs is easier on the ear, more natural to pronounce and understand, and avoids the word ARSE (even though it is a rearrangement of the same 4 letters!).

Are EARs the extra eyes needed in football?

Related English word humour:
The EAR made a pig's ear out of that incident!
The AAR is an ass!

The match officials were:
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant referees: Gabor Erös (HUN), György Ring (HUN)
Fourth official: Tom Harald Hagen (NOR)
Additional assistant referees: István Vad (HUN), Tamás Bognar (HUN)

Considering the Classic Cowboy Crouch adopted by many EARs at Euro 2012, they are giving the public more 'ammo' to use the term ARSE or ASS to denote them!

Portuguese EAR performing the Classic Cowboy Crouch during Ireland vs Spain

There is no consistency between how ARs stand at the goal line during a penalty kick (Straight Soldier's Stance) and how EARs stand when watching the goal line and also during penalties (Classic Cowboy Crouch).

For discussion: In competitions where there are no EARs, should the ARs who stand on the goal line during penalty kicks adopt the SSS or the CCC?

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