Friday 15 March 2013

EAR Ache

The following incident occurred during the Europa League Round of 16 2nd leg match between Chelsea and Steaua Bucharest on Thursday 14 March 2013. The match finished 3—1, with Chelsea winning 3—2 on aggregate. There were 4 YCs.

In 73', Fernando Torres (blue 9) is tripped in the PA by defender Szukala (red 4) right in front of EAR1 Antony Gautier. Szukala has slid in and cannot control the momentum of his body and therefore clips Torres, who goes down. Referee Stéphane Lannoy gives nothing and EAR1 does not assist.

This blog reiterates that additional assistant referees or EARs are ineffective. Uefa's Michel Platini, via Pierluigi Collina, continues to advocate the use of EARs. The evidence is, and has been, mounting against the beneficial presence of EARs despite Collina's cherrypicking.

Similarly in the Champions League Round of 16 2nd leg match between Manchester United and Real Madrid on Tuesday 5 March 2013, there were several incidents where the EARs could have helped the Referee … but again the EARs proved ineffective.

The Europa League match officials were:
Referee    Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)
Assistant referees    Frédéric Cano (FRA), Michael Annonier (FRA)
Fourth official    Eric Dansault (FRA)
Additional assistant referees    Antony Gautier (FRA), Ruddy Buquet (FRA)


The following incident occurred during the EPL match between Aston Villa and Liverpool on Sunday 31 March 2013. The match finished 1—2.

Referee Lee Mason—without any help from EARs—correctly awards a penalty for a foul on Liverpool's Luis Suarez (black 7) in the penalty area.

Aston Villa's Nathan Baker (claret 32) lunges in. Pics courtesy Sky Sports.

The foul inside the PA is almost exactly the same as that experienced by Fernando Torres (above) … the only difference is that Torres did not benefit from the added presence of an EAR or from the "competence" of the Referee (Lannoy).


  1. You really say that this is a penalty? No way.

  2. hkref, you are definetely incorrent this time.
    1. there was no contact to make Torres fall.
    2. If you follow the replays more closely, Torres apparently moves his rigth feet to inciate a contact. Look where he lands his feet for when makes breaking move and then he tries to extend his leg in pursuit of touch the sliding defender.
    In my opinion this could have been YC for simulation.
    Penalty kick would be disasterous decision. Even non-decision is better then the one you proposed.

  3. Thank you Anon and dubhe. Both your comments support the fact that the EAR, who had a near and clear view of the incident, is completely ineffective in assisting the Referee. And that is the point of my post.

  4. In response to Anon and dubhe, I will UPDATE this post with another very similar incident.

    A defender who commits himself by sliding into a challenge is, by definition, not in control of his momentum. He only has himself to blame if there is contact with an opponent.

    Again, I wish to reiterate that the presence of EARs are ineffective (generally, their decisions taken to help support Referees are more incorrect then they are correct).