Wednesday 24 August 2011

Many Missed Red Card Incidents In One Match

For many years now, the leniency shown by Referees in the EPL has been and still is unhelpful, and possibly harmful, to all other Referees around the world. Experienced Referees all over the world will roll their eyes and heave a sigh, knowing that their jobs are made more difficult by the leniency shown by EPL Referees and broadcast regularly to all four corners of the world. And it's not just Referees who will suffer.

Players, coaches, fans and commentators will also suffer because they will not be able to understand why Referees from other countries "appear" to be harsher when the English Referees are more lenient. Players themselves will be quickly cautioned and even sent off for the exact same discretions that they have previously got away with in the EPL. See examples here of a Law-abiding decision (Referee in Brazil sends off player in the first minute for Offinabus) and a lenient decision here (from EPL Referee Mike Jones).

The leniency example in this post happens to be associated with Referee Howard Webb, but there are other EPL Referees who also show too much leniency. Remember: Professional Referees set the benchmark for the rest of us.

The following incidents, many lenient, occurred during the EPL match between Sunderland and Newcastle on Saturday 20 August 2011. The match finished 0—1.

Watching Howard Webb "manage" and officiate this North-East derby simply made me think about the plight of non-EPL Referees around the world. In a future post, I will address the stance of ex-EPL Referee Graham Poll who said of the North-East derby that the "game was absorbing and a great advert for the Premier League for which Webb deserves great credit".

Incident One: DOGSO with hand (unseen)

In the 13th minute, Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson stops the ball from entering the goal with his left arm.
Referee Howard Webb stoops to indicate that perhaps he did not have a clear and unobstructed view on the incident

Larsson (red#7) tries to influence AR Scott Ledger by claiming the ball hit his face. This is clearly dishonest behaviour (cheating) and the FA should perhaps consider charging players like Larsson for unsporting behaviour and for failing to uphold the principles of Fair Play

The BBC's Match of the Day has a new feature this season, where they attempt to give the Referee's View. NOTE: This is a great post-match analysis tool (to help match officials), but the software programmers must remember to do things properly ... for example, take a look at Sunderland's goalkeeper (yellow)

Incident Two: Studs up challenge (unseen? Lenient)

In the 25th minute, Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye (Black#4) makes a cynical challenge on Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (Red#2). Webb eventually cautioned Cabaye.

Cabaye's (Black#4) high and studs-up cynical challenge on Bardsley (Red#2)

Webb's position around the time of the incident

Incident Three: Studs up challenge (unseen? Lenient)

In the 89th minute, Sunderland's Phil Bardley makes a cynical challenge on Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini. Again, Webb only gave a caution (it was Bardley's second caution of the match).

Bardsley (Red) goes over the top of the ball and into Coloccini's (Black) lower leg

Did Webb have the optimum angle? Should he have consulted with AR Ledger?

Incident Four: Elbow Used As A Weapon (unseen)

Newcastle's match-winner Ryan Taylor elbowed Asamoah Gyan. Since this was missed by the match officials, perhaps there should be another review of the evidence by TV replay?

[Apologies, I do not have a Pic of this incident]

Incident Five: Second caution (Lenient)

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole made some crunching tackles throughout the match. There was a reckless challenge on Joey Barton which Webb, rather predictably (even to the BBC commentator Guy Mowbray who said: "If I know Howard Webb, he will just have a word with Cattermole"), only gave a public warning to Cattermole. Later in the match, Cattermole recklessly scythed down Jonas Guiterrez and received a caution. That could have been his second caution.

Cattermole (Red) on Barton (Black)


Throughout the North-East derby, Webb used his typical lenient approach by being reluctant to give out cards to players, physically man-handling them, and talking to the players (when it is plain for everyone to see that players who are familiar with Webb do not actually listen). Is this technique really what Referees throughout the world should learn to adopt?

Graham Poll says there could have been 4 players sent off with straight reds, and instead says that Howard Webb deserves great credit … presumably for not sending off several players in the feisty North-East derby. Hmmm ... is Poll correct?

1 comment:

  1. Graham Poll, sent home in disgrace for failing to send off a player for two cautions (he waited until the third) in the 2006 World Cup, is not someone any referee should lend credence to as an expert. I imagine that his soul mate Webb (failed to send off de Jong for a karate kick to the chest of Pique in 2010) will take Poll's commenting place in a few years time. I prefer my violence in the boxing ring, not on the pitch. Card early, card often.

    p.s. - Regular reader of your site. Keep up the good work. :-)