Friday 25 February 2011

Two EAR Incidents: Lyon v Real Madrid

The following incidents occurred during the Round of 16 first leg clash between Lyon and Real Madrid on Tuesday 22 February 2011. The match finished 1—1.

This post once again raises concerns about the usefulness of having extra assistant referees or EARs (see related post about EARs)
“Are EARs the extra eyes needed in football?”

Incident One

Lyon had two men standing in a wall directly in front of a Real Madrid DFK. As the free kick is taken, one Lyon player jumps up, raises his arms and blocks the ball. The EAR and Referee did nothing and play continued.

Note the positions of the EAR and R. By raising his arms, the Lyon player has made himself bigger and therefore blocks the ball.

The presence of the EAR has affected the way the R operates. During such restarts (e.g. corners, DFKs, IFKs) from the attacking team's left side, the R now stands on the other side of the penalty area arc (more toward the AR), leaving the EAR with the responsibility to cover the immediate area in the left side of the penalty area. But is the EAR performing, and seen to be performing, his duties?

All this left Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho questioning the effectiveness of EARs too. He is quoted on BBC news saying:
There are four eyes [between the referee and his goal-line assistant]. It could be decisive. Let's hope it does not cost Real Madrid qualification.

Here's another related news article:
Fuming Mourinho slams referee over 'missed penalty' (Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Feb 24, 2011)

Incident Two

This corner kick incident involves the same EAR mentioned above (again). This time, let's assess how the EAR is positioned and what he is focused on.

The EAR did not anticipate any action to happen behind him, and therefore missed seeing who kicked the ball out over the goal-line

As the ball from the corner kick approaches the near post, players from both teams are challenging for the ball. It is played out over the goal-line, behind the static EAR, by the attacking player (Real Madrid's Carvalho). However, the ball never passes the EAR's plane of sight because the EAR had positioned himself to anticipate watching the action inside the 6-yard box. His peripheral position to his right (i.e. plane of sight) appears to be parallel along the 6-yard line running from near his feet perpendicular from the goal-line. He certainly did not anticipate any action to occur behind him and clearly did not see who played the ball out.

Therefore, who made the call for a "goal kick"? Where was the R? The R's position for the corner kick meant that he would have had to see past many players and also through the back of players to see the ball!! It appears that the call was made by simply reading the action of the players!!


Will the incidents seen in this first leg match come back to haunt Real Madrid in the second leg at the Bernabeu?

And once again, what kind of evidence do UEFA, FIFA and IFAB need to persuade them that EARs are ineffective, and can even have a detrimental effect on the performance of the Referee?

If anyone out there supports the use of EARs, I would appreciate hearing the reasons for using EARs.

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