Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ukraine's Missed Goal Another Pig's EAR

The following incidents occurred during the Euro 2012 final group match between England and Ukraine on Tuesday 19 June 2011. The match finished 1—0. There were 5 YCs.

Incident One: Cue GLT Talking Point

In the 62', having been pressed deep in their own half by England (white), Ukraine (blue) pass the ball all around and through their penalty area to carve out an attacking opportunity. Once in the England penalty area, the ball ricochets up off the goalkeeper and loops into the England goal. It is then cleared out by England defender John Terry. This is why we need goal-line technology (GLT). Here are the freeze frames:

EAR1 István Vad did not make the call ... or actually did decide to make the call ... depending on which way he looks at it ... !!

Comparison: Let's compare this incident with an almost identical incident during the previous day (see EAR Makes Good Call).

The only difference is that in the Italy—Ireland match, EAR1 Hüseyin Göçek (and/or AR1 Bahattin Duran) made the call even though EAR1 had to 'see through' a player's body.
In the England—Ukraine match, EAR1 István Vad did not have to 'see through' a player's body to make the call. And yet he failed to make a good call.

Also, Could AR1 Gabor Erös have made the call?

AR1 Gabor Erös could have conceivably helped out ... but there are signs he was not focused during the match

What can EAR1 Vad and AR1 Erös see?

This camera view captures EAR1 and AR1 looking at the ball

Incident Two: Sign That AR1 Was Not Quite With It

In the 50' with England leading 1—0 there is a Ukraine corner. The ball goes out of play for a Ukraine throw-in and AR1 gets in the way by telling the Ukraine player to stand to the right of AR1. Here are the freeze frames:

Ball goes out for a Ukraine (blue) throw-in

AR1 tells player to stand to his right — this is not smart and not standard positioning by AR1 Erös

In the end, the Ukraine thrower (blue 9) goes behind AR1 to gain access to his team-mate

What is AR1 playing at? With AR1 getting in the player's way, this is actually a likely sign that AR1 (Erös) was not quite with it—not fully focused—during the match. He also missed some important offsides that could have led to goals (and one that did, but was not given).

Incident Three: Another Sign That AR1 Was Not Quite With It

In the 61' AR1 missed this offside. Here are the freeze frames:

AR1 didn't even signal for a goal kick ... he was that unfocused

This missed offside happened about a minute before Ukraine's missed goal (i.e. Incident One). AR1 was just not with it.


Note: There are reports that during Ukraine's attack, as the ball was played out from the Ukraine left side, the Ukraine forward was in an offside position. The ball subsequently bounced to him, but AR1 did not flag it. If this is true, then once again it shows AR1 was "not with it".

Here is the pic from Dutch Referee Blog who took it from a BBC reporter:

AR1 Erös had the worst performance of the match officials (nobody can love his performance!), but unfortunately all the focus will be on EAR1 Vad who missed the crucial call. However, AR1 could have also helped out with that crucial call, but did not because he was probably totally unfocused.

Question: Are EARs the extra eyes needed in football?

On this evidence (which merely adds to the previously accumulated evidence about the ineffectiveness of EARs), the answer is a resounding "NO". Bring in goal-line technology.

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin (yellow) berates the 4th Official because his team were not awarded a goal

But it is not the match officials' fault; this is the fault of dinosaurs like Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter. They have used their positions at UEFA and FIFA to influence the IFAB and slowed down the natural progression in introducing goal-line technology to the highest-levels of the game. This is just another critical and controversial consequence due to the conservative and non-progressive attitudes of people like Platini and Blatter.

Truth be told, Platini has made a total pig's EAR of his push to experiment with 'additional assistant referees' rather than introduce goal-line technology at the highest levels of the game.

The 'unfortunate' match officials were:
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant referees: Gabor Erös (HUN), György Ring (HUN)
Fourth official: Tom Harald Hagen (NOR)
Additional assistant referees: István Vad (HUN), Tamás Bognar (HUN)

Note: Good Officiating—Allow time for player to get up before showing a card

Immediately after Incident One, play continues with England counterattacking. Referee Viktor Kassai signals advantage with his arms straight up in the air! There is then a tactical foul by Ukraine's captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (blue 4) on England's Scott Parker (white 17) and Kassai gives out the first caution of the match on 63'. Here are the freeze frames:

Referee Kassai is in no mood to discuss!

Always allow the player to get up before showing a card


  1. I have been reading this blog for some time, but until now I have been biting my tongue with regard to some of the more off-the-mark posts. I cannot do so any longer.

    I would encourage you to stick to _objective facts_ as much as possible, and leave the evangelizing to someone else. For instance, your comments about the AAR missing the Ukraine goal are 100% spot-on, but many of your other comments about AARs smack of confirmation bias (i.e. arrive at a conclusion first, then selectively seek out supporting evidence while ignoring anything contradictory).

    Similarly, AR1 did indeed miss the offside on the long pass leading to the (non-credited) goal -- that much was clear from the TV replays. But "Could AR1 Gabor Erös have made the call?" No. Setting aside your apparently blind faith in freeze-frames for the moment, you can see that Erös was running toward the goal line when the shot was taken, and was about 5m from the flag at the moment crossed the line. Since this was far less clear than Lampard's non-counted goal at WC2010 (maybe 50cm versus 2m over the line, respectively), it is unreasonable to imply that he could have made that decision accurately from his position.

    Further: Kassai's delayed yellow card to Tymoshchuk was handled perfectly; why imply that his advantage mechanics were somehow incorrect? Every guide to procedures I've ever seen describes the advantage signal with a phrase along the lines of "an upsweep of the arms," combined with a forceful verbal signal. Suggesting that his signal was somehow wrong because he swung his arms too high (and they were _not_ "straight up in the air," as you write -- try sprinting with your biceps around your ears sometime, which is what "straight up" would mean, and see how that affects your stride) is the very epitome of trifling.

    I would also encourage you to check the LOTG from time to time before commenting on the aforementioned objective facts. For instance, in your recent post entitled "'Trifling' Condition At Corner Kick Leads To Goal" (, you have ignored the dicta of Law 1. The lines on the field "belong to the areas of which they are boundaries," which means that a ball is properly positioned on a corner kick (that is, considered "inside the corner arc") if any part of the ball touches the corner arc (or, more precisely, if a perpendicular dropped straight down from any part of the ball intersects any part of the arc). A moment's thought about the spirit and letter of the Laws would thus avoid the pedantry, not to mention sparing you the issue of making a statement about the LOTG that is factually incorrect.

    In short, I would encourage you to be as objective in your analysis here as you would be on the field of play. Leave the evangelism to someone else; this blog will be immeasurably better for it.


  2. Thank you Anon-Chris for your comments.

    1) Regarding EARs. In my posts I have stated that the growing evidence in the use of EARs point to their ineffectiveness . I have data that show EARs are not significantly better at performing the duties that they have been assigned to perform. But we are all waiting for UEFA to publish these results (where, incidentally, Pierluigi Collina at UEFA has just informed the world's media that they have a dataset from "approximately 1000 matches") to show just how exactly these EARs have improved things on the pitch. Somehow, I do not think the full dataset will be willingly released anytime soon.

    I do not ignore "anything contradictory" to the ineffectiveness of EARs. On the contrary, the simple fact that my recent post EAR Makes Good Call exists (plus other posts that give credit to EARs) completely negates your mistaken belief about my "selectively seek[ing] out supporting evidence while ignoring anything contradictory".

    2) Ukraine's 'missed' goal. There is nothing wrong in stimulating some thought and discussion by asking the question: "Could AR1 Gabor Erös have made the call?" In fact, I encourage more thought and discussion. The fact that you are shocked by this line of questioning reveals a closed-mindedness and inability to share constructive comments. You may strongly believe Erös could not make the call; whereas there will be other people who believe otherwise. Also, others still will know of previous similar situations where the AR has made such calls from similar touch line positions as Erös. In those past situations, there were no EARs as there are now and so the ARs had to deal with it themselves.

    Furthermore, I gave readers 'food for thought' by asking everyone to consider the 'state of mind' of Erös during some incidents mentioned in this post (e.g. incidents two and three) prior to the crucial "missed offside/goal" incident.

    ... to be continued ...

  3. ... continued ...

    3) Kassai's actions at advantage play and the tactical foul. I agree with you that Kassai's "delayed yellow card to Tymoshchuk was handled perfectly". I clearly said: "Always allow the player to get up before showing a card". My mention of Kassai's advantage signal is again for open-minded readers who may wish to wonder why Kassai's actions appear strange and 'non-standard' to some. Anon-Chris, I would also encourage you to check the LOTG from time to time.

    4) Spirit and Letter of the Law. Your comments about my post entitled 'Trifling' Condition At Corner Kick Leads To Goal reveals pedantry on your part. To re-quote yourself: "A moment's thought about the spirit and letter of the Laws would thus avoid the pedantry." In my posts about this issue (regarding ball placement at corner kicks), being pedantic is the least of my concerns when compared with the spirit of some players, who show themselves to be "less than sporting". Those readers of this blog who insist and claim that "part of the ball is above part of the line" are the ones being pedantic, whereas my emphasis is merely to open discussion about professional players' attitude and behaviour towards the Laws, opponents and match officials.

    I thank you for your comments, and also for your patronage in sparing your time and wanting to read my personal blog about officiating. However, your "advice and encouragement" on how I should express my own thoughts about the beautiful game oversteps the mark. And what if someone else "evangelizes and waxes lyrical" somewhere else? What then Anon-Chris? Will you then hunt them down and criticize them for having the courage to express their own thoughts, simply because you "cannot bite your tongue any longer"? Leave the evangelism to someone else; your comments will be immeasurably better for it.