Saturday 3 December 2011

Insightful Camera View Showing The Ineffectiveness of EARs

There was one incident during the Europa League group match between Sporting Braga and Birmingham City on Wednesday 30 November 2011 that provided an insightful camera view of the performance of the EAR.

In the 10', a Birmingham attacker (blue) is hauled down by a Braga defender (red 5) in front of the EAR. This was mentioned in the previous post as Incident Two.

The EAR was in an excellent position and had a near, unobstructed view of the incident.

In such a clear cut incident as this, would you buzz? Here are the freeze frames:

Look closely at the hand holding the magic wand ... is there any sign of clenching?

Looking at the replay, there was no evidence that the EAR used his "magic wand" (the EAR's magic wand first appeared on 12 May 2010 during the Europa League Final). In normal circumstances, if you press the large bleeper button on a radio flag your fingers automatically clench and as a result your grip on the handle becomes tighter. From the freeze frames, there is no evidence that the EAR buzzed because it appears the EAR is still lightly holding the handle.

One could argue that the EAR used the CommLink instead. But was there evidence throughout the match that the officials were talking to each other through their CommLinks during important incidents?

Also, one could perhaps argue that the EAR buzzed a little later (when out of the camera frame). But would that have been decisive enough and helpful to the R who, remember, is still far behind the incident?

The question remains: Who actually made the call? During this quick breakaway we know the Referee was behind play, and the AR and the EAR were close to play.

This was a great opportunity to show that EARs can be effective. However even with this camera view it still seems that EARs are ineffective. Since the start of this "experiment" in 2009, there is very little evidence to show that EARs are useful … however, there is plenty of evidence that suggest EARs are useless. There is even evidence to demonstrate that EARs have a detrimental effect on the performance of the match Referee.

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