Wednesday 24 June 2009

2009 Hong Kong Soccer Sevens Masters Cup Final

As mentioned previously, here are some video highlights from the Masters Cup Final at the 2009 Hong Kong Soccer Sevens. The date was Sunday 31st May 2009, and the finalists were Golden Rainbow (red) v FFL (black). Referee Mike Riley.

2nd Half.

Extra Time (golden goal).

Note: Smart tactics were used by Golden Rainbow, and it paid off handsomely with possession football at the top third of the pitch ending with a spectacular goal that was volleyed in with aplomb!

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Teamwork is important for match officials

Obviously at the highest level match officials wear comlinks to make it easier for them to work as a team, but at all levels teamwork is important.

Fifa said in a statement: "A thorough analysis revealed that the decision in question was achieved through teamwork between the match referee and his assistant referee, who confirmed the offence to the referee from his clear viewing angle."

Reference: Fifa rejects complaint over Webb (BBC News)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Howard Webb

Egypt caught up in Webb of controversy

Fifa has rejected a complaint from Egypt over referee Howard Webb awarding Brazil a match-winning penalty in their Confederations Cup contest.

The English official initially appeared to signal for a corner after Egypt's Ahmed El Mohamady handled on the line late on in their 4-3 defeat on Monday. But Webb then sent off the defender and gave a penalty which Brazil converted. Egypt claim Webb took advice from the fourth official who may have seen a TV replay but that was rejected by Fifa.

Fifa said in a statement: "A thorough analysis revealed that the decision in question was achieved through teamwork between the match referee and his assistant referee number-one Mike Mullarkey, who confirmed the offence to the referee from his clear viewing angle."

In questioning the process which led to the decisive penalty, which was scorded by Kaka in the final minute, Egypt assistant coach Gharib Chawki had said: "As far as I am aware there is no rule allowing video evidence. "We're not contesting the referee's decision but the way it was made. Or maybe the rules have changed and nobody has told us. "The decision was changed after a statement by the fourth official, after watching the monitor, that it should be a penalty."

Egypt's complaints were seemingly given added weight by admissions from some Brazilian players that they believed Webb had been swayed by advice from the fourth official, Australian Matthew Breeze, on the touchline. "The referee didn't see the penalty and the linesman didn't see it either. It looks like the fourth official told him over the radio," said striker Luis Fabiano.

The controversy echoed the sending-off of France's Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy. It has been alleged, although subsequently denied by Fifa, that Horacio Elizondo was advised to dismiss the three-time world player of the year for a head-butt only after one of his assistants viewed the incident on a pitchside monitor.

Webb admitted making an error in awarding Manchester United a penalty when the champions were 2-0 down at home to Tottenham in April and he wrongly judged that Michael Carrick had been fouled in the box.

Fifa has consistently chosen extra manpower rather than technology to help referees and matches in next season's Europa League will see two extra officials stationed behind the goals to monitor penalty-area incidents. Replays have been employed with some success in tennis, rugby union, rugby league and cricket.

Friday 12 June 2009

Disillusioned EPL Referee Rob Styles Resigns

What a shame for a referee to have to quit from the pinnacle of his profession because the "negatives" have significantly outweighed the "positives". For many (myself included), refereeing is primarily about enjoyment; if you don't enjoy doing something well, then eventually you will find enough reasons to justify not doing it anymore. Not having a dependable support network (e.g. in this case, support from the FA and PGMOL) has been cited as a key reason by Rob Styles to resign. Other referees, like ex-EPL official Graham Poll, clearly sympathise.

The following paragraphs were taken from a Daily Mail story:

And, while there will be plenty within the game who will not be sorry to see Styles go, his decision to end a 22-year career must surely spark a debate about the pressures referees are facing amid a backdrop of increasing scrutiny of their performances.

Styles, 45, has seen red cards he has issued overturned, he has had penalty decisions criticised, he has been forced to apologise to managers following mistakes and he has even been stripped of topflight games.

Feeling he has not received the backing of the FA and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), Styles, who is a surveyor and whose business interests outside of football have made him a wealthy man, has reluctantly reached the conclusion that he simply does not need the aggravation associated with being a referee any longer.

Looking at the 2008-2009 English Premier League referees' cards table, Rob Styles is clearly not in the extremes, having refereed 26 premiership matches (the joint 6th highest number of match appointments among the list of 19 elite referees).

Tuesday 9 June 2009

2008-2009 Season: Hong Kong Amateur Football Leagues

Summary of 2008-2009 Season: Hong Kong Amateur Football Leagues

More HK Amateur Leagues to follow.
NOTE: Please feel free to comment/advise on any Amateur Leagues that are missing from this list.

[last updated 09 June 2009]

2008-2009 Season: Hong Kong Football Association

Summary of 2008-2009 Season: Hong Kong Football Association

[last updated 09 June 2009]

Saturday 6 June 2009

2009 Hong Kong International Soccer 7’s

Summary of 2009 Hong Kong International Soccer 7’s

Video highlights to follow.

[last updated 06 June 2009]

Media report: McGowan helps Hoops KO rivals (SCMP; subscription required):

Unus Alladin
Jun 01, 2009

A star was born at the HKFC IP Global International Sevens as Celtic striker Paul McGowan lit up the tournament with a dazzling display in a 1-0 final victory over bitter rivals Rangers last night.

McGowan's pace and skill proved too much for the Hoops' Old Firm rivals as he netted the winner in the main competition at Hong Kong Football Club.

Few spectators had expected an all-Scottish final but that's what happened as Celtic, runners-up in this year's Scottish Premier League behind Rangers, got one over their rivals.

And they had 21-year-old McGowan to thank, as the pacy forward turned, twisted and ran through the Rangers defence, hitting the woodwork twice before finally finding the net with a fine finish two minutes into the second half.

McGowan is already making a name for himself, earning several senior appearances with Celtic, including a start against Spanish team Villarreal in the Champions League in December last year.

"Hopefully I can get more starts in the senior team. I have been with the senior squad and I have been training with them and that has benefited me enormously," said McGowan.

"I played in this tournament last year and we reached the final against Aston Villa. Unfortunately we didn't win it but we made up for it this time."

Celtic reached the final after defeating the Australian under-18 team 1-0. Rangers stunned Villa 3-1 in their semi-final to book the Old Firm clash.

Celtic reserve team coach Willie McStay was delighted with his team's performance. "We dominated the first half and in the second half we created chances and we had a great game. We lost in the semi-finals of this tournament in 2007 and then lost in the final last year and now we have won it and I am absolutely delighted," said McStay, who played for Celtic from 1979 to 1987.

"The seven-a-side game is so different. You've got to think, you've got to keep the ball and you have to have good movement and patience. There's no room for error here.

"I think it's a fantastic tournament.

"Some of these young boys have never travelled outside Britain so it's a big experience for them."

McStay said Celtic dominated the match and could have won by a bigger margin.

"We hit the bar and then the post and we had great chances. Hopefully the boys will have a future in the game and that this will be an experience to help them on their way," he said.

Meanwhile, local outfit Golden Rainbow were the surprise winners of the Masters tournament after Yeung Kin-keung scored a superb volley in extra time to give his team a 2-1 win against Football for Life.

It was the second straight upset victory for Golden Rainbow, who also dumped favourites IP Global All Stars 1-0 in the semi-final.

Football for Life beat Southampton 2-1 to earn their place in the final.

Another local club, Citizen, surprised West Ham United to win the Shield final, winning 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw, while Birmingham City won the Plate final against Kitchee 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Monday 1 June 2009

New Europa League will Trial "Five" Match Officials

I think everyone will be eager to see the effects of using 5 match officials (1 R, 2 ARs on touchlines; and 2 ARs behind the goals). Actually, this number should be 6 (there's the "fourth official" too).

For instance, the preventive effect that makes players "less prone to shirt-pulling at corners and free kicks, diving in the area and dissent" sounds quite positive, but let's see the actual results after a season or three.

Also, for the new refereeing system to be considered a "proper" trial or experiment it ideally needs to be compared with the existing refereeing system. That is, the powers-that-be should state clearly what criteria are used to measure "success". Comparisons of these criteria can then be made between, say, the Champions League (control group) and the Europa League matches to see if there are any significant differences when using "4" and "6" officials in Europe's elite cup competitions.

Reference: Uefa trials new refereeing system (BBC News)

Monday, 1 June 2009 13:44 UK

Next season's Europa League - formerly the Uefa Cup - will be the testing ground for games using five officials.

The trial will see two extra assistant referees officiate by standing behind the goals and communicating by headset.

Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham are among more than 150 clubs set to play their European games under the system.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: "We were looking where we can have such experiments. Now we have found a solution together with Uefa."

The idea is credited to Uefa president Michel Platini, who opposes goal-line technology and wants to retain a human element in decision-making.

The system involves an extra official standing on the side of each goal assisting the referee and two touchline assistants by communicating through headsets.

European football's governing body Fifa and its rule-making arm, the International Football Association Board, ordered a trial of the system last year as an alternative to using video replays.

Uefa used the five-official system at last year's under-19 European Championship qualifying matches in Slovenia, Hungary and Cyprus, where it was hailed a success.

Having an extra pair of eyes monitoring play in each area had a preventive effect and promoted better decision making on suspected fouls.

Players were less prone to shirt-pulling at corners and free kicks, diving in the area and dissent, it reported.

The announcement that matches in the Europa League will be played with the experimental system came after a two-day meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Nassau.

Qualifying-round matches for the Europa League begin in July.