Friday 31 May 2013

New 2013 Adidas Referee Shirt

Here's the new 2013-2014 Adidas Referee Shirt which will apparently be used for the new season's UEFA Champions League:

The adidas referee kits used in the 2010 World Cup continue to be used in various domestic leagues as well as for official FIFA tournaments. For example, they are used in Australia's A-League and will no doubt be used for the upcoming Confederations Cup in Brazil.

UEFA appears to have the advantage over FIFA in promoting new adidas referee kits every year, and therefore has better opportunities to make more money.

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Saturday 18 May 2013

Great Assistance From AR

The following incident occurred during the Copa del Rey final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on Friday 17 May 2013. The Spanish Cup Final finished 1—2 aet. There were 6(?)YCs, 2RCs and Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was sent from the technical area.

In the 114th minute, Atletico Madrid's Gabi (red 4) fouls Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (white 7) by kicking him from behind and taking his legs out. Ronaldo reacts by flicking his left leg at the face of his opponent (which we will label the second foul). Initially, the Referee saw the first foul (Gabi's foul on Ronaldo) and played advantage because Real Madrid still had possession of the ball. Here are the freeze frames:

Referee plays advantage following a foul on Ronaldo (white 7)
AR1 looks toward Referee, who did not see Ronaldo kicking his opponent, and therefore flagged

Video can also be seen here:
Red card to Cristiano Ronaldo (Daily Motion)

Notice that the Referee did not know anything about the violent conduct even as he walked up to Ronaldo, and had to get confirmation from AR1 before showing the red card … to Ronaldo's back! Here are the freeze frames:

Never show a card to a player's back

When the Referee played advantage, Atletico Madrid's Adrian (red 7) then immediately fouled Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos (white 4), again from behind. This was Atletico's game plan since they were now winning 1—2, and wanted to wind down the clock and stop their opponents from playing football. Of course Ronaldo had to go for violent conduct, but the match officials should have been acutely aware of the negative tactics from Atletico Madrid, especially in the time after Atletico had taken the lead with their second goal.

However, this third foul was missed by the match officials because AR1 had flagged the second foul after carefully watching the Referee. AR1 was correct in his actions in assisting the Referee. Unfortunately, a side effect of this is that it actually compounded the situation because as the Referee played advantage he was then distracted by his AR1's flag and therefore missed this third foul.

After the third foul, the two players clash heads (Adrian and Ramos headbutt each other) and Ramos falls back theatrically. However, this piece of the action is completely missed by the match officials because of all the commotion coming from the technical areas. Here are the freeze frames:

In the aftermath of Ronaldo's violent conduct, Atletico's Adrian (red 7) fouls Real's Ramos (white 4) from behind. The two players then clash heads.

The funny thing about these incidents is that players and coaches only want to focus on the one incident that they perceive to have gone against them. They ignore everything else … even the major incidents like violent conduct. Players and coaches are so biased toward their own team, that they miss the bigger picture and only want the match officials to see only the foul and misconduct that has gone against their own team. It is funny, laughable and all so very sad when viewed from the armchair.

For example, let's look at the discussion between Ramos and Adrian about the third foul. Ramos simply wanted Adrian to acknowledge that he had fouled him from behind (which is a true fact). Adrian acts all innocent (many guilty players know how to do this) and says he didn't think it was a foul. Ramos insists it was a foul and shows Adrian the back of his foot where Adrian kicked him. Adrian continues to play innocent. Here are the freeze frames:

Players are liars

Notice also during this whole time, Red 8 is hovering next to Ramos to distract him and to support his teammate Adrian. Red 8 then talks about Ronaldo's kick at his captain because, yes, that was an injustice done to his captain Gabi. But that's already been taken care of because the Referee had already shown the red card. It's actually very entertaining watching all this; millionaires acting like children and only wanting things to go their own way without thought about the bigger picture.

In summary, match officials can only do what they can do (which is based on what they can actually see). This means AR1 did a great job in identifying the violent conduct.
Perhaps the 4th Official could have spotted the third foul? Had the 4th Official seen that and assisted the Referee, then that would have been great too. As it is, for this incident, only AR1 comes out looking good.

For all that other stuff (i.e. spotting misconduct in the technical area), it should be the responsibility of the competition organizer to use video footage to identify the players retrospectively and fine them for their unsporting behavior.
From the video, we see Real Madrid's Kaka stopping Atletico coach Diego Simeone. Simeone pushes Kaka back but then Real Madrid's Pepe gets in Simeone's face. Pepe is then pushed away by an Atletico substitute, and another Atletico substitute (red 16, I think) swings a punch at Pepe.

Looking at the positions of the match officials (R, AR1 and 4O) during all the commotion, it is quite impossible for them to see all the incidents that are happening. It is ridiculous to expect match officials to see and record everything. And this is why competition organizers should use video evidence to take retrospective action … and support match officials.

The 4th Official (red jacket) is to the left of the screen and the R & AR1 (blue) are to the right

Do not blame match officials for not being able to see everything that happens in and around the pitch. Instead, competition organizers should be helping and assisting match officials so that correct disciplinary action is awarded correctly to the offenders. By working together (i.e. competition organizers supporting match officials), offenders will not escape punishment and therefore will always think twice about their behaviour if they understand that video evidence will always be used to take retrospective disciplinary action.

Competition organizers should acknowledge that match officials are human and therefore cannot see and report everything that occurs in and around the field of play. They should therefore send a clear message to players and coaches that unsporting behaviour will not be tolerated by supporting match officials and using video evidence to take retrospective action against offenders.