Friday 2 April 2010

Europa League Penalty Kicks and Encroachment

In the 79th minute, there is a clear infringement during the second penalty kick of the Benfica and Liverpool Europa League first leg quarter-final match on Thursday 1 April 2010. The match ended 2—1.

Here's the second penalty in 3 freeze frames:

[Liverpool player (#32) tells the referee about the offending Benfica player, but the referee will just say that he did not see any infringement. "I didn't see it" is an excuse, but not a reason.]

Earlier in the 59th minute during the first penalty kick, there was possibly an infringement. However no matter whether or not there was an infringement, had the referee been better positioned then this "debate about a possible infringement" should not have arisen in the first place. Here's the first penalty in 2 freeze frames:

[Is the referee standing in a good position to deter or detect encroachment?]

These two incidents show that the referee Jonas Eriksson (Sweden) did not do enough to deter or detect encroachment during penalty kicks. Both times, the referee was watching the penalty kicker and did not have an optimum position to allow him a suitable view of the players behind the ball. At the very least, the referee should have stood several yards further towards the nearer touchline to at least be able to see (out of the corner of his eye) the players closest to his left side.

The larger issue here is that HKRef fails to understand the rationale in the positioning of the referee, especially since the Europa League is experimenting with extra referee assistants (EARs). It defies logic that the EAR and the AR are both on the goal line watching the goalkeeper. As mentioned in a previous post, it would make more sense if the EAR is positioned nearer the 18 yard line. In that position, the EAR can assist the referee to deter player encroachment.

This is just another point that questions the “usefulness” of the EAR.

Related Posts

Fine-Tuning Penalty Kicks for Europa League Referees

First Round of Europa League Matches: Five or Six Match Officials?

More Details About Europa League's Additional Referees Experiment

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