Friday 22 June 2012

Is Forceful Finger-wagging In Fashion?

The following incidents occurred during the Euro 2012 group match between Sweden and England on Friday 15 June 2012. The match finished 2—3. There were 4 YCs.

First Finger Wagging

In the 6', Sweden midfielder Sebastian Larsson (yellow 7) charges his opponent England midfielder Scott Parker (blue 17). Here are the freeze frames:

Sweden's Larsson (yellow 7) charges England's Parker (blue 17)

Referee Damir Skomina correctly whistles for a foul and Larsson is annoyed with the decision.

Larsson kicks the ball away to delay restart of play (notice Parker on the ground behind)

After the foul is given, Larsson kicks the ball away which is technically a mandatory caution. Referee Damir Skomina uses his management skills to defuse Larsson. He also wags his finger forcefully, as if issuing a threat to a naughty child. Here are the freeze frames:

Now don't do that again!

Second Finger Wagging

In the 48' England forward Andy Carroll concedes a free kick for a foul on Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom.

Now don't do that again!


These two incidents occurred very early on in the first and second halves of the match, respectively. In normal circumstances, they could have resulted in early cautions but the Referees at Euro 2012 appear to be under instruction not to 'card early' or if possible to refrain from carding. Skomina's first caution of the match came at 58', with three more cautions during the remainder of the match.

This is probably why Referee Skomina chose to speak with Sebastian Larsson (with forceful finger-wagging threats) and Andy Carroll (again with forceful finger-wagging threats) rather than issue cards.

We also saw Referee Viktor Kassai take the stern finger-wagging route with Italy's 21-year-old Mario Balotelli on Sunday 10 June 2012.

Should Referees wag and point their fingers at players, as if they were teachers or parents scolding young children?

The match officials were:
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant referees: Primož Arhar (SVN), Matej Žunič (SVN)
Fourth official: Florian Meyer (GER)
Additional assistant referees: Matej Jug (SVN), Slavko Vinčić (SVN)

Note: AR1 Continues to Let Down his Team

Slovenly Slovenian AR1 Primož Arhar is a poor role model and insincere senior match official to any young referee. He appears stubborn and set in his own habits. I hope young upcoming referees in Slovenia will look to the attitudes and actions of other senior match officials who are willing to work as a team and follow the correct interpretations of the LOTG.

'nuff said

1 comment:

  1. Hi HK reff. I believe this finger wagging technique is one of individual style and choice. Mr. Skomina presents himself as a man of strict authority and this is present through his style. He demands respect from the players and uses whatever tactic (in this case finger pointing) to gain this respect. Many other UEFA elite referees can be seen using this as well, like Felix Brych and as you mentioned, the recently sent home Kassai. It can be good, and it can be bad, but I believe Skomina uses it quite well and is consistent in his style and ctions to maintain the use of the finger wagging in a positive manner. As for Mr. Arhar, it is actually quite common practice in Europe for Assistant referees to hold the flag in the right hand continuously. The LOTG and the interp of LOTG state nowhere that the assistant must hold the flag in the left hand. The interpretation simply states that "The assistant referee’s flag must always be visible to the referee, unfurled and still whilst running." I think it is unfair of you to criticize Mr. Arhar so strongly. In fact, FIFA have recently released a directive to their Assistant referees to hold the flag in the right hand exclusively when running between the 18yrd line and the goal line because most decisions made in that area go toward the attacking team and are made with the right hand. I suggest you stop criticizing Mr. Arhar for his practices as he is a professional, unlike us 3rd party viewers, and as proven by his appointments knows very well what he is doing, and UEFA, Mr. Skomina, and FIFA have no problem with it. Just to note, Mr. Skomina will also be in charge of tonight's match between Germany and Greece and I'm sure Mr. Arhar will maintain his current practice of assisting Damir.