Wednesday 25 May 2011

Do Referees Ignore EARs?

Here are three incidents during two Champions League matches which all involve extra assistant referees (EARs). Do Referees seek advice from EARs or do Referees ignore them?

Incident One (No Foul, No Penalty)

Simply look at what the players are looking at ... and that will give you the answer

Surely a foul Ref!?

OK, I won't complain this time

EAR nods his head to indicate "No Foul"!

EITHER the Referee actually listened to what the EAR said or indicated, OR the Referee didn't see anything and therefore just played on. How do we know whether the Referee is taking advice from his EAR?

Answer One: Debatable whether the Referee sought advice from the EAR (EAR appears to be ineffective and redundant)

Incident Two (Ball Crosses the Goal-line Between the Posts and Under the Crossbar)

Referee immediately looks to his right at his AR and not to his EAR to confirm whether the ball crossed the goal-line

This is exactly the kind of incident that UEFA had in mind when they introduced EARs to help assist Referees

Look at the Referee looking at the AR for confirmation. Why isn't the Referee similarly looking at the EAR for confirmation? Nevermind that one of the main reasons why UEFA has deployed EARs is because they are deemed to be crucial in assisting the Referee in matters such as whether the ball has crossed the goal-line between the posts and under the crossbar.

Nevermind that in this incident, the EAR clearly had the optimum angle of view and yet the Referee still only looked to his AR for confirmation.

Answer Two: The Referee did NOT seek advice from the EAR (EAR is ineffective and redundant)

Incident Three (Foul in the Goal Area)

Referee immediately whistles for a foul against the attacking team on the goalkeeper

The Referee has instantly decided that a foul has occurred on the goalkeeper. Nevermind that the EAR is perfectly positioned to see the incident. In fact, UEFA has officially stated that EARs would have a preventative affect in the number of infringements occurring in the penalty area, and that they could also assist the Referee in identifying such infringements should they occur. In this incident, did the Referee have any use for the EAR?

Answer Three: The Referee did NOT seek advice from the EAR (EAR is ineffective and redundant)


This blog's central thesis about EARs is ...

Central Thesis

My main argument is not the fact that EARs are ineffective and redundant (which, in many incidents, they are ) or that EARs do not help or enhance the game. It is worse than that and much more serious.

My main argument
is the fact that EARs can have a detrimental effect on the performance of the match Referee and hence can contribute to ruining the game since match officials will be perceived to be making more, instead of less, errors.

This post has shown evidence of the concerns stated in the first paragraph (i.e. EARs are ineffective, redundant and do not enhance the game).

Look out for a future post giving details and evidence of the second paragraph (i.e. instances where referees are negatively affected by EARs).

But first it will be interesting to see how the match officials perform in this season's Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday 28 May 2011. It will be the first Champions League final that "uses" EARs.

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