Thursday 6 September 2012

Baptism of Fire for Roger East in EPL Part 1

The following incidents occurred during the English Premier League match between Swansea and Sunderland on Saturday 1 September 2012. The match finished 2—2. There were 2 YCs and 1 RC.

The match was 47-year-old Roger East's EPL debut as a Referee. This match appears to be a huge baptism of fire for him, with players testing him constantly and the match throwing up plenty of challenging incidents for him.

In 3', a Swansea attacker (white) knocks the ball past a Sunderland defender (blue 8) and is subsequently prevented from progressing in the penalty area. However, Referee Roger East calls a foul in the other direction and gives a DFK to the defending team. Here are the freeze frames:

Should this have been a penalty … instead of a DFK to the defending team?

A similar incident occurs 12 minutes later (in the 15'). But this time it is a Sunderland player (blue 8) who knocks the ball past a Swansea defender (white 3) and is subsequently prevented from progressing down the right wing. AR1 (Peter Kirkup) calls the foul and Referee East whistles for a DFK to the attacking team. Here are the freeze frames:

This is an example of excellent assistance from AR1 (Peter Kirkup), since it is not clear whether Referee East would have called it correctly, considering the earlier incident in the 3'.

Unfortunately, Swansea defender Neil Taylor (white 3) suffers a freak accidental injury as his left ankle sticks to the ground and his opponent's full weight falls on top of him.

Notice AR1 has flagged for a DFK to the attacker (blue 8)

Taylor's ankle is fractured in three places (a multiple fracture) and he will miss the rest of the season.

This is a good example why Referees never look at the consequences of challenges when deciding whether the challenge was fair or unfair. Referees are trained to look only at the action of the challenge.

Note: Sunderland's Craig Gardner (blue 8) was involved in both incidents. With the first incident, he was fortunate not to concede a penalty (incorrect call by Referee), and with the second he was fortunate to receive a DFK (correct call by AR1).

The injury to Taylor meant there was 6 minutes of additional time in the first half.

AR1 Peter Kirkup and 4th Official Andre Marriner

In the 45+5', Swansea defender Angel Rangel (white 22) appears to push Sunderland attacker Stephen Fletcher (blue 26) in the back and then has no trouble cleaning up the Sunderland attack. Here are the freeze frames:

Referee East waves "no foul" and, with this second penalty appeal in the first half turned down, appears to not want to give any penalties.

This poor first half performance was most probably not what Referee East had wanted. In part two, we will discover whether East's performance picks up in the second half.


  1. I think first situation was not a penalty, correct decision not to call it.

  2. I see a difference between the two incidents: in the 3', Sunderland #8 (Gardner) makes no apparent move toward the attacker; in the 15', Swansea #3 (Taylor) does, stepping in and under his opponent--see the difference in the nature of the contact revealed in the freeze-frames by looking at the player who is fouled. I see them both as fouls, but the 3' incident as impeding the progress of the opponent. The right leg of the defender, the one that could be accused of tripping, seems to stay planted. Perhaps this is why Referee East awards nothing--when's the last time we've seen an IFK awarded to the attacking team in the penalty area, and why are referees so loathe do award them?