Sunday 1 July 2012

EARs Up Down Up Down

The following incidents occurred during the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match between England and Italy on Sunday 24 June 2012. The match finished 0—0, with Italy progressing following a 4—2 penalty shootout. There were 2 YCs.

Note: Referee Pedro Proença prefers to catch his coin during the coin toss (just like Howard Webb here), rather than bend over (for example, Damir Skomina here)
[No pic, sorry]

EAR Up and Down and Up and Down
In the 52' Italy's Daniele De Rossi (blue) takes a long-range shot which is saved by England's Joe Hart (red). This is followed by Italy's No 9 Mario Balotelli (blue) taking a shot, which is again saved by Hart. Next, Riccardo Montolivo (blue 18) follows up with a right-footed shot that goes over the crossbar. While all this is happening, EAR1 Manuel De Sousa is in the Classic Cowboy Crouch (CCC) and bobbing up and down and up and down. Here are the freeze frames:

EARs give out funny impressions when all they wish is to give the impression that they are watching the goal line closely

AR1 Good Offside Call
In the 115' the match officials were still well focused on the game. AR1 Bertino Miranda makes a good offside call. The ball is crossed by Italy's Alessandro Diamanti (blue) and Antonio Nocerino is flagged offside by AR1.

As the ball is crossed, Italy's Nocerino is in an offside position

The goal is correctly disallowed. Notice EAR1 up and down.

Which is Best? CCC or SSS?
In an earlier post (see here), I asked the question about the best way for an assistant to stand when watching for the whole of the ball to cross the goal line. Should it be the Classic Cowboy Crouch (CCC) or the Straight Soldier's Stance (SSS)? The England and Italy penalty shootout revealed the answer … kinda … I guess.

Penalty Shootout
Initially, EAR1 De Sousa doesn't seem to know which way to stand (CCC or SSS?) and therefore makes a lot of movement leading up to the first penalty kick by Italy's Mario Balotelli.



EAR1 (left of goal) Down, Up, Down 

Here's the second penalty taken by England's Steven Gerrard. Again, there is a lot of movement by EAR1.


EAR1 (left of goal) Up, Down, Up

Perhaps the fifth penalty taken by Italy's Andrea Pirlo (which was a quality shot stroked delicately down the middle of the goal) also clearly shows EAR1 "assuming the position", i.e. the CCC.

EAR1's CCC is not a particularly pretty or dignified sight

Question: I would really like to know what AR1 Miranda is thinking as he looks along the goal line and sees EAR1 De Sousa bobbing up and down and up and making lots of movement during the penalty kick!!

Remember, during the shootout the other match officials are helping to manage players on the halfway line.
EAR2 Duarte Gomes doing some work and standing next to players.

AR2 Ricardo Santos standing at the top of the centre circle and in front of the players and perhaps obscuring a little of the view

Although AR2 Santos is following the guidelines in the LOTG and standing at the top of the centre circle, a little common sense could be used. For instance, if AR2 wishes to avoid obscuring the view of the players standing at halfway and to avoid being too aloof from the players (compared with the closeness of EAR2 who is standing with players at the halfway line), then it would have been better for him to stand at the halfway line too. This is where I believe a little common sense would be much appreciated, especially by all the tensed-up players who have to stare past the back of the AR2 to see the unfolding drama at the goalmouth.

Because of the lack of guidelines for EARs, it is not surprising that there is little consistency amongst EARs. They are "making it up as they go along". This is why we see some strange and comical impressions of EARs, which in some ways is very sad because the professionalism, and the image, of the match officials has been compromised. Added to that, the long list of performance errors and poor assistance by EARs (highlighted by EAR1 István Vad missing Ukraine's goal against England) reveals the overall ineffectiveness of EARs.

UEFA president Michel Platini—and perhaps by default Pierluigi Collina the UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer—supports the use of EARs and opposes the introduction of goal-line technology. How bizarre!

One final thought. Having mentioned the lack of guidelines for EARs and the inconsistencies it creates, it is ironic that I have also mentioned the fact that even though there are guidelines for ARs on where to stand during penalty kicks from the mark, I am advising that there is a need for a little common sense about this guideline. It makes no sense for an AR to stand in a position that blocks the view of the players who are made to stand at the halfway line behind the AR.

The match officials were:
Referee: Pedro Proença (POR)
Assistant referees: Bertino Miranda (POR), Ricardo Santos (POR)
Fourth official: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Additional assistant referees: Manuel De Sousa (POR), Duarte Gomes (POR)

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