Saturday 17 December 2011

Martin Atkinson Up and Down Part 2

The remaining 2 of 5 incidents (see earlier post here) occurred during the EPL match between Norwich City and Newcastle United on Saturday 10 December 2011. The match finished 4—2.

Incident Four No Handball

In the 60', a Norwich cross hits a Newcastle player in the chest and possibly arm. Here are the freeze frames:
The ball has possibly touched the arm of a Newcastle (black/white) player

However, the arms were not outstretched in an unnatural position and the short distance and high speed that the ball travelled to hit the Newcastle player provides ample information that there was no deliberate handball. This incident is used as a comparison with Incident One (see earlier post here), where a deliberate handball occurred, but was somehow missed by the match officials.

Incident Five Cynical Challenge

In the 66', Newcastle's Dan Gosling makes a cynical challenge (studs up and over the ball) on Norwich's Russell Martin.

Referee Atkinson does not hesitate to correctly send off Gosling for serious foul play

Referee Martin Atkinson was in a good position—at the right place at the right time—to see the incident. However, just how much of the contact did Atkinson see? Was his view obscured by another player? Perhaps or perhaps not? Nevertheless, experienced Referees in similar situations would also draw on their vast experience and knowledge to help them with their decision making.

Here are freeze frames from another camera angle:
Note how the excessive force of the cynical challenge makes Norwich's Russell Martin (yellow #2) pirouette

Here's Dan Gosling's reaction to his cynical challenge and send off:
The reaction of players who are sent off for blatant SFP or VC is often pathetic and is usually a shameless way to gain sympathy from their own team-mates and fans. How can players claim to be innocent when they know they are guilty? One possible reason is that many players lack taking responsibility for their own actions and lack a good sense of sportsmanship and fair play.


It is likely that Martin Atkinson and Mike Mullarkey will be officiating at Euro 2012 next June. Let's hope they can iron out any controversies and missed incidents that are within their control, and simultaneously continue to get critical decisions (such as Incident Five) correct.

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