Tuesday, 30 April 2013

EARs Do Not See … or Hear … or Assist!

There is a dedicated Referees' Blog called The Third Team which produces excellent insight, great comments and useful assessment reports that can help any match official improve themselves. I thoroughly recommend The Third Team.

One example from The Third Team is an excellent analysis regarding Referee Victor Kassai's handling of the Bayern Munich and Barcelona Champions League semifinal first-leg match on Wednesday 24 April 2013. The match finished 4—0; there were 7 YCs.

HKRef would just like to highlight the incident leading up to Bayern Munich's third goal in the 73'. Here are the freeze frames:

Arjen Robben (red 10) scores Bayern Munich's third goal

Let's look at the Additional Assistant Referee or EAR (blue). During the play, what is he looking at?

Thomas Muller (red 25) deliberately bodychecks Jordi Alba (blue 18) who was focused on chasing Robben (red 10)

The Additional Assistant Referee (or EAR) is simply ball-watching. He does not appear to take in the overall event that is developing in front of him. Only when Barcelona's Jordi Alba hits the ground does EAR1 turn his head quickly to glance back before following the ball again.

This is yet another example—to add to many others accumulated from nearly 1,000 matches (e.g. here, here and here)—that demonstrate the ineffectiveness of EARs. Players secretly laugh at UEFA's claim that the presence of extra match officials act as a deterrent to unsporting behaviour in and around the penalty area.

This blog's central thesis about EARs is:
    Central Thesis
    My main argument is not the fact that EARs are ineffective and redundant (which, in many incidents, they are ) or that EARs do not help or enhance the game. It is worse than that and much more serious.

    My main argument is the fact that EARs can have a detrimental effect on the performance of the match Referee and hence can contribute to ruining the game since match officials will be perceived to be making more, instead of less, errors.

I feel sorry for Pierluigi Collina, chief refereeing officer at UEFA, having the task of promoting the use of EARs simply because his boss Michel Platini insists on using extra match officials. The use of EARs (and goal-line technology) is more a political agenda amongst those in the upper echelons of power, rather than a genuine attempt to really help match officials.

Ultimately, match officials require clear, consistent and credible support from competition organizers (e.g. taking effective retrospective action to punish players and clubs for unsporting behaviour) so that all players and clubs will eventually think twice before deciding to deceive Referees. If UEFA, FIFA and other competition organizers fully support Referees, and are seen to fully support Referees, by being willing to take retrospective action then in general players and clubs will automatically behave themselves and there will be more Respect for Match Officials. It is that simple.

The match officials were:
Referee    Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant referees    Robert Kispal (HUN), Gabor Erös (HUN)
Fourth official    György Ring (HUN)
Additional assistant referees    Tamás Bognar (HUN), Mihaly Fabian (HUN)

Although this blog is highly critical of the use of EARs, HKRef has thought about situations where EARs may indeed prove useful. Take a look at this analysis where EARs May Be Useful.


  1. Muller foul could be restarted with IFK?

  2. Thank you Anon.

    Please ask yourself on what grounds should the foul be restarted with an IFK?

  3. To me is difficult to distinguishes between "Impeding the progress of an opponent" and other offenses for which is awarded a DFK. In the case of Muller, it can be considered as charges an opponent, but also "Impeding the progress of an opponent", or not? I would welcome an article that deals with this.