Friday 15 February 2013

One Stamp, Not Two, And You're Out

The following incident occurred during the UCL Round of 16 first-leg match between Valencia and Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday 12 February 2013. The match finished 1—2; there were 2YCs and 1RC.

Incident One: Offside? Foul? What?

In 72', Referee Paolo Tagliavento whistles for an infringement. Here are the freeze frames:

In some media accounts, it was an offside call (even from the commentary on the UEFA website, it stated offside). The way Referee Tagliavento walks over and positions himself indicates that he has called offside. However, this is far from certain because his arm signal is NOT straight up to indicate an IFK. It appears to be angled to indicate a DFK (and therefore, a foul). But if it was for a foul, the Referee's position to indicate restart is wayward.

This is soft-option officiating because there was a more important decision that the Referee did not call.

PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic stamped on his opponent.
Incredibly, Valencia João Pereira (12) did not appear to be affected by the stamp and got up immediately because he was actually protesting the goal. From his perspective, he was the one who was fouled (and incidentally had played the ball forward, which meant technically PSG's Chantôme (20) was not offside). Here are the freeze frames:

How can Ibrahimovic (blue) play the ball forward?
Instead, it was a stamp ... a cynical stamp

No matter how we look at this incident, the actions of the Referee and his assistants do not appear competent or professional.

Incident Two: Stamp Number Two

In the 90'+2', PSG striker Ibrahimovic has been dispossessed of the ball and makes a lunge at an opponent. Here are the freeze frames:

The AR and EAR both have a good angle of view of the foul. Where is the Referee?

AR signals a foul. Where is the Referee?

AR takes action. Is the EAR effective and doing anything useful?

AR puts up his flag up using his right (why?) hand. Why the right hand? Where is the Referee?

At last here comes the Referee ...

Referee Tagliavento with the whistle in his mouth ... does not look very good!

AR did well to signal this serious foul play

That's two studs-up stamps missed by Referee Tagliavento. In the first incident, the match officials' actions did not look good. With the second incident, although the AR did a great job in assisting the Referee, the EAR is not visibly doing anything (except just standing there and staring) and the Referee is nowhere near the incident. The Referee was not near, and did not have a clear view of the incident. His credibility is low and the Referee further cuts down his credibility by keeping the whistle in his mouth as he approached and sanctioned Ibrahimovic. Very poor impression.

The match officials were:

Referee:  Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
Assistant referees:  Mauro Tonolini (ITA), Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Fourth official:  Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Additional assistant referees:  Andrea De Marco (ITA), Antonio Damato (ITA)

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