Wednesday 31 March 2010

No Goalkeeper No Restart

The following incident occurred during the premier league match between Bolton and Manchester United on Saturday 27 March 2010. The final score was 0—4.

Towards the end of the first half, Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar is off the field of play when Bolton take a corner kick. Referee Martin Atkinson allows the restart. Had the ball gone in to the goal, it would have been an embarrassing moment for the referee.

[As Bolton (white) take a corner kick, goalkeeper Van der Sar (yellow) is off the field of play behind the goal line]

Note: A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper.

[At half-time, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has words with referee Martin Atkinson (pic courtesy of Reuters)]

Managers have now approached referee Martin Atkinson at half-time in two consecutive premier league matches. The first was Arsene Wenger at the Arsenal v West Ham match a week earlier. This week, it was Alex Ferguson. To be fair, Ferguson apologized to the referee when the teams emerged for the second half restart.

Saturday 27 March 2010

AFC Cup 2010 South China v Persiwa Wamena

The following incidents of unsporting behaviour occurred during the AFC Cup group stage match between South China (Hong Kong) v Persiwa Wamena (Indonesia) on Tuesday 23 March 2010 at Siu Sai Wan stadium in Hong Kong. The attendance was 2,393 and the final score was 6—3.

23 Mar 2010 AFC Cup Simulation

Simulation is unsporting behaviour
In the 50th minute, South China player (red #9, Lee Wai Lim) controls the ball ahead of the Persiwa Wamena player (green) to put himself in an attacking position. A big hint for referees is that red #9 goes down too easily. The player could have stayed on his feet to either shoot at goal from a tight angle or place the ball across the face of goal for his teammate to tap in. But instead, he chose to fall over.

There is little need for unsporting behaviour, particularly at this stage of the match when South China is already 5—1 ahead.

When the Referee showed the yellow card, red #9 actually smiles sheepishly and hangs his head in shame because he knew he was caught cheating. Restart was an IFK to the defending team.

23 Mar 2010 AFC Cup GK shocking tackle Penalty

Goalkeeper’s shocking tackle
In the 70th minute, the South China goalkeeper (blue #17, Ho Kwok Chuen) makes a shockingly dangerous two-footed tackle on Persiwa Wamena player (green #50). He launches himself using his right foot, goes over the ball with his left foot, and then his whole weight appears to land on his right foot. This is probably the reason why he could not get up when he put his weight on his right foot. He clearly injured himself, and after receiving lengthy treatment was carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
Players are not allowed to receive treatment on the field of play. But exceptions apply when:
• a goalkeeper is injured
• a goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention
• a severe injury has occurred (e.g. swallowed tongue, concussion, broken leg)

In similar situations goalkeepers would normally dive for the ball using their hands. Instead, this goalkeeper made a shocking tackle leading with his feet. Therefore a hint for referees is the aggressive nature of the South China goalkeeper’s challenge.

The Referee correctly awarded a penalty. In the match report, it was recorded that the Referee cautioned the GK. However, during the match the Referee did not show the yellow card to the GK on the field of play probably because the injured keeper could not stand up and was carried off on a stretcher. The challenge by the GK was at least a yellow card offence and perhaps could have been a red card. Restart was a penalty kick to the attacking team.

23 Mar 2010 AFC Cup Playacting Theatrics

Playacting is unsporting behaviour
In the 80th minute, Persiwa Wamena player (green #10, Edison Pieter Rumaropen) makes a meal out of an incident where there is little chance that he would be awarded a free kick or penalty. A big hint for referees is that the player moves to-and-fro (at least a dozen times), when surely if it was a serious injury the player would remain still (see also Player Theatrics by HKRef).

About 30 seconds after restart, green #10 is seen running up the touch line and re-enters the field of play near the halfway line. Perhaps the Referee should have cautioned the player for unsporting behaviour.

Match Report
South China 6-3 Persiwa Wamena (AFC news)
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:27

Hong Kong: Brazilian strike duo Tales Schutz and Leo each grabbed a brace as South China revived their AFC Cup Group G campaign with a thrilling 6-3 comeback win over Indonesia’s Persiwa Wamena at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground on Tuesday.

After picking up just one point from their opening two games last year’s semi-finalists were behind after just six minutes as Pieter Rumaropen struck for Persiwa.

But a quick-fire brace from the returning Schutz turned the contest in South China’s favour before Leo (Leonardo Ferreira da Silva) and Kwok Kin Pong added to the lead before half-time.

Leo extended the advantage just after half-time and after Albertho Mambrasar and Lewis Weeks netted for Persiwa, Lee Wai Lim sealed the win in stoppage time.

After South China captain Chan Wai Ho wasted a glorious chance after just three minutes the visitors opened the scoring as a punch from South China goalkeeper Ho Kwok Chuen fell to Rumaropen on the edge of the area and the midfielder lifted the ball over the stranded custodian.

But South China were back on level terms after eight minutes when Schutz beat Persiwa goalkeeper Timotius Mote with a deft flick at the front post.

Mote only just turned Li Haiqiang’s long-range swerving free-kick onto the post after 11 minutes as the frantic start continued with end-to-end action.

And after 21 minutes South China completed the comeback as Schutz muscled his way through a crowd inside the area to send a stooping header past Mote from Li’s superb whipped in free-kick.

With several Persiwa attacks being halted by the off-side flag, Leo capitalised on the visitors’ inability to clear their penalty area 11 minutes later to fire a low shot across Mote and into the bottom corner to double the lead.

And just three minutes later Kwok raced into the area unmarked to head home Lee Wai Lun’s left wing cross to complete the emphatic comeback.

With just over a minute on the clock after the break Leo charged down an attempted clearance to race clear and skip round substitute goalkeeper Andre before rolling in his second into the empty net.

Leo was denied a hat-trick by Andre four minutes later before Mambrasar volleyed home from inside the area to give Persiwa faint hope six minutes before the hour mark.

And the visitors pulled another goal back with 15 minutes remaining as Weeks beat substitute goalkeeper Zhang Chunhui from the penalty spot after Ho was injured in bringing down Rumaropen.

But the visitors were unable to build on their quick-fire double and suffered a second defeat of the competition as Lee’s late header capped an enthralling contest.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

First a Cool-Down Period Before Talking with Referees

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was obviously unhappy about Martin Atkinson's red card during the Arsenal v West Ham premier league match on Saturday 20 March 2010. The final score was 2—0.

[Martin Atkinson sends off Thomas Vermaelen]

Atkinson—who was at the halfway line during the breakaway—had to rely on his assistant referee Phil Sharp who quickly flagged Thomas Vermaelen's foul on West Ham's Guillermo Franco. As a result, Atkinson had no choice but to send off Vermaelen for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and award a penalty.

At half-time, Wenger is clearly waiting at the touch line to express his opinion to the referee. Managers, players and fans must accept a cool-down period before trying to discuss match-related incidents with match officials.

[Not a good idea: Arsene Wenger having words with the referee at half-time]

[Arsene Wenger would probably have better luck engaging the dinosaur than trying to talk with referees at half-time!]

The time to talk with match officials is post-match and after a cooling-down period.

Monday 22 March 2010

Players’ Theatrics

The following occurred during a Division One league match between Citizen and Fourway Rangers on Thursday 18 March 2010 at Kowloon Bay Sports Ground. The attendance was 159.

Citizen Player Playacting

Citizen player (green #7) makes a meal out of being fouled. Observe how he rolls around (about a dozen times, no less) while holding on to his left knee as if for dear life!

One would think that in the event of a serious injury, it would be best to remain still since further movement to the injured area may worsen the damage. For referees, this is a big hint that the player is overreacting. Spectators (all 159 of them!) were just laughing at the player’s over-the-top theatrics. Observe how the player refuses the stretcher, then bends at the waist to check both his lower legs (and not his left knee), and then walk off the pitch. Exactly 20 seconds later, green #7 is running actively up the touch line and re-enters the pitch at the halfway line as though he was a fresh substitute running onto the pitch!

The Citizen player #7 is Festus Baise and he is the team captain.

Citizen Goal Celebration Theatrics

He scores, he dances! Citizen player (#30) is Jose Wellington Bento Dos Santos who scored the match's first goal. The match finished a 1—1 draw.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Football Association in Hong Kong Advised to Reform

The government has released a consultancy report about the future of football in Hong Kong, citing several key recommendations.

These include that the Hong Kong Football Association should reform its governance and make its decision-making processes more transparent; improve the level of professional expertise and experience in its secretariat; develop junior and district soccer; form a professional league; and strengthen the Hong Kong representative teams at different levels.

No doubt, the consultancy report's recommendations will also affect referees in Hong Kong. HKRef and other referees here await to see what the implications will be.

HK soccer must change or die, say legislators (South China Morning Post)
Chan Kin-wa
Mar 18, 2010

There will be no future for soccer if the Hong Kong Football Association refuses to implement changes proposed in a consultancy study, legislators said yesterday.

Members of the Legislative Council's home affairs panel are concerned about the association's willingness to make the recommended changes to save the sport.

"I know the association needs a 75 per cent majority [from its 55 member clubs] if they want to implement changes in accordance with the many recommendations put forward by the study," lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong said.

"But even the government's constitutional changes require only a two-thirds majority of this council and you know how difficult the soccer reform will be, especially as it involves a lot of vested interests by various parties.

"But since the government is using a lot of manpower and resources in the reform, there is hope. The fans love Hong Kong soccer but they do not want any more disappointments, otherwise they will never turn up at local matches and instead watch the Premier League or La Liga."

The report, which was released by the government last week, says the football association has to agree to a reform process so the restructured body will decide on the constitution, governance structure and organisation that will best serve the sport. It must improve the level of professional expertise and experience in its secretariat.

The study also makes several recommendations, including setting up a professional league, developing junior and district soccer, providing facilities including a six-pitch training centre at a Tseung Kwan O landfill site and strengthening the Hong Kong representative teams at different levels.

But it was governance of the association's board and its transparency in decision making that dominated the panel's discussion.

One lawmaker, Peter Cheung Kwok-che, said that if the association failed to bring in changes, the administration should help set up another body to replace it.

"The FA will have the main role in making the reforms but if they cannot take on the responsibility, the government should set up another organisation independent of the FA to carry out the recommendations," Cheung said.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said that was a hypothetical situation and cited an example in the study that Fifa, the controlling body for world soccer, would come down hard on any government intervention. He said earlier that the association would need HK$75 million to HK$100 million over the next five years to implement the changes, but refused to say if the government would foot the entire bill.

"The funding may not come solely from the government. If the sport can grow steadily, it will be able to attract support from the commercial field and the community. Soccer is big business in many other parts of the world and it may soon be the same in Hong Kong," he said.

Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak assured the panel he would use all his powers to persuade member clubs to implement the changes. "We know we are in a critical situation and if we don't reform the organisation, soccer in Hong Kong cannot survive," he said.

"As the chairman, I asked the government two years ago to engage in a consultancy study to save the sport and there is no point in not following the recommendations. The 75 per cent majority for making reforms is a big obstacle but if we are all here for the best interests of the sport, we can overcome it.

"The report only outlines the principles of the reform but not the details, such as how to change the board's composition and its decision-making process.

"We will have to sit down with the government next week to work out all the details with a workable timetable so I can take them back to member clubs for discussion before the changes are to be implemented. If the clubs agree, we have to call a general meeting to endorse these changes."

There are 55 FA-affiliated clubs, including teams in the first, second and third divisions and three accredited members.

It is believed Leung already has the backing of more than half the clubs.

Leslie Santos, a former Hong Kong soccer star, who attended yesterday's meeting along with other retired players, said the association should grab the opportunity.

"We all know there have been different factions within the FA with their vested interests," said Santos, who now runs a school for the development of junior players. "It's time for change and to work together for the betterment of the sport. If we miss this chance, we may never get another one."

Tuesday 16 March 2010

HKFC v Tuen Mun: Penalty Shout

The following occurred during a Hong Kong Division Two top-of-the-table league clash between Hong Kong Football Club and Tuen Mun on Saturday 6 March 2010.

With the match evenly poised in the opening stages, a penalty decision (as seen by these 5 freeze frames) could have decided the conclusion of the match earlier.

[Tuen Mun goalkeeper (black) mistimes his tackle and clips the left foot of HKFC forward (white)]

[Since no foul was given, restart should have been a goal kick not a corner kick OR if the referee believed there was simulation then a caution to HKFC player and an indirect free kick to Tuen Mun should have been awarded]

Match highlights can be seen here: HKFC vs Tuen Mun

The match finished 3—1. HKFC are now in pole position leading up to the final league matches in Division Two.

Monday 15 March 2010

Violent Conduct Unseen By Match Officials But Caught On Camera

The following occurred during a Division Two league match between Hong Kong Football Club and Ongood on Saturday 20 February 2010.

Violent Conduct at Hong Kong Football Club

Toward the end of the first half, HKFC attacker (white #20) runs behind Ongood defender (red #3) and uses his elbow to strike the defender in the back of the head. This is serious gamesmanship and had the match officials actually seen this act of violent conduct, then the HKFC attacker would no doubt have been sent off.

Two Fouls at Hong Kong Football Club

In the second half, HKFC attacker (white #20) challenges for the ball. Even though he may have made contact with the ball, his challenge is reckless and Ongood player (red #4) is fortunate to escape injury. A clue to the nature of this challenge is the cynical use of the left arm after the follow through with the right leg.

Ongood player (red #7) fouls HKFC player (white #7). However, he appears to think there was nothing wrong with charging an opponent who has jumped straight up to head the ball. If the situation were reversed, he would most likely be shouting for a foul.

The match finished HKFC 2 — 1 Ongood.

Monday 1 March 2010

Pitch Perils: Corner Flag

Assistant Referee Trevor Massey was hit by a corner flag during Birmingham’s 1-0 win over Wigan on Saturday 27 February 2010 in the Premier League.

[Referee Anthony Taylor did not send off Birmingham's Liam Ridgewell for this challenge, which appeared to be excessive]

[Trevor Massey suffers a cut to his forehead caused by a corner flag]

The incident occurred when Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell lunged wildly at Wigan player James McCarthy who had the ball by the corner flag. Here is the incident as a series of 8 freeze frames:

Liam Ridgewell (blue) nonchalantly leaves the scene of his devastation ... with James McCarthy (orange) and Trevor Massey (black) nursing injuries to their ankle and forehead, respectively.