Tuesday 25 June 2013

FIFA Guidelines For Referees: Positioning for a Penalty Kick

The following incident occurred during the FIFA U20 World Cup group match between England and Irag on 23 June 2013. The match finished 2—2, with 5 YCs.

In the 74', with the score at 2—0, Referee Roberto Garcia (Mexico) correctly awards a penalty to Iraq. Here is his correct positioning for the penalty kick.

Some of the comments from readers (who I assume are referees) for the recent post Positioning Guidelines for FIFA Referees reveal a surprising lack of basic knowledge of the LOTG.

Please consider why FIFA recommends Referees to stand approximately in this position for penalty kicks.

Next, consider why FIFA recommends Referees to stand in a different position for Kicks from the Penalty Mark.

FIFA Referees are supposed to have attained a certain standard of competency. Therefore, whenever inconsistencies are observed, the purpose of raising its awareness is so that the rest of us can learn from the mistakes of high-profile Referees (without, hopefully, performing the error ourselves).

We should also be concerned about why FIFA Referees are not consistent in their knowledge of the LOTG.
Who are the ones instructing the Referee instructors and assessing the Referee assessors?

The match officials were:
Referee: Roberto GARCIA (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis CAMARGO (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto MORIN (MEX)
Fourth official: Wilmar ROLDAN (COL)

Friday 21 June 2013

Positioning Guidelines For FIFA Referees

The 2013 UEFA U21 European Championships held in Israel was home to some wonderful matches from players, some solid performances from match officials, and some fantastic entertainment in general for everyone involved.

For informative and insightful analyses, I suggest visiting The Third Team website. It is a great website looking at refereeing from Europe. They also have some dedicated and passionate "blog observers" who produce useful and helpful assessment reports.

My observation here is just a comment on the consistency of knowledge amongst all the upcoming referees from Europe. The natural assumption is that all FIFA referees are familiar with the LOTG—especially with the interpretations—and with special guidelines or directives that arise from time to time.

On this basis, it is puzzling to see the positioning of Referee Matej Jug (Slovenia) during penalty kicks. The following incidents occurred during the 2013 UEFA U21 Final between Italy and Spain on Tuesday 18 June 2013. The match finished 2—4, with 7 YCs.

Penalty One

In the 37', Referee Jug is perfectly positioned to make the correct call. Here are the freeze frames:

Notice the Italian players surrounding and hounding the Referee

Look at Referee Jug's positioning

Penalty Two

In the 64', Referee Jug is far behind from play as an Italy defender trips the Spain attacker. Here are the freeze frames:

A couple of seconds after the foul. Referee Jug comes into the frame. Who made the penalty call? The EAR or AR?

Referee Jug keeps his whistle in his mouth (see similar "whistle in mouth" case here). Something else (not a second whistle) dangles on the other end. What is it? It looks like a dog tag or key fob.

Again, notice the Referee's positioning


Referee Matej Jug (Slovenia) and his colleagues who officiated at these U21 Championships are the next generation of top FIFA referees from Europe. They are currently categorized as Elite Development FIFA referees. The fact that there are still obvious inconsistencies with the interpretation of the LOTG should raise some concern. All match officials at international level should have sufficient training and knowledge to be consistently correct in the basic positioning concepts as described in the LOTG.

I can perhaps excuse the blatant performance of older match officials who stubbornly refuse to change their ways even in the face of the most up-to-date FIFA guidelines. The example here would be the stubborn and slovenly AR Arhar who previously worked with up-and-coming Slovenian Referee Damir Skomina (example here).

However, for Elite Development FIFA Referees, there can be no excuse for any inconsistencies with regard to the standard interpretations of the LOTG. If this basic procedure (i.e. positioning for a penalty kick) cannot be followed consistently amongst all FIFA referees, then what does it say about the referee assessors and instructors of the next generation of top FIFA referees? This blog has previously mentioned consistency problems amongst the next generation of referees (see here).

The match officials for the Final were:
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Fourth Official: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
UEFA Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Petr Fousek (CZE)

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Lebanese Referees Guilty of Accepting Sexual Bribes For Match Fixing

In April, news surfaced of the arrests of match officials from Lebanon who received sexual bribes in return for fixing matches. They were caught in Singapore prior to an AFC Cup match between Tampines Rovers (Singapore) and East Bengal (India).

Three months later, the match officials have been sentenced in Singapore. The two ARs, Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, were sentenced to three months in jail. The judge deferred sentencing Referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, who is considered the "most culpable".

More must be done to track and hunt down the real perpetrators, such as Eric Ding Si Yang, 31, the Singaporean businessman who allegedly supplied the prostitutes, and his associates.

Related Posts

China's Golden Whistle Gets Jail Sentence

China's Golden Whistle Admits Accepting US$44,000 Bribe

Suspect Referee Performance: Nigeria v Argentina

Life Ban For Player Found Guilty of Match-Fixing in Hong Kong


Lebanese referees admit agreeing to fix soccer match for sex in Singapore (SCMP; paywall)
Tuesday, 11 June, 2013

Agence France-Presse in Singapore

Three Lebanese referees pleaded guilty yesterday to accepting free sex from a gambling-linked global syndicate in return for agreeing to rig a match.

A Singaporean district court judge jailed assistant referees Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, for three months.

He deferred sentencing until today for referee Ali Sabbagh, whom prosecutors said was the most culpable.

The assistant referees broke down into sobs and repeatedly looked up as if to thank God when Judge Low Wee Ping said they could be freed by today, after remission for good behaviour and due to time already served while awaiting sentencing.

Turning to Sabbagh, 34, the judge said: "I need time to consider your sentence. I don't, for the moment, accept that you should be sentenced to six months."

Deputy public prosecutor Asoka Markandu described Sabbagh as the most culpable as he was the one who was approached by the syndicate and persuaded the two linesmen to accept the sexual bribe.

The three men were arrested and charged on April 4 with corruption for accepting sexual favours in exchange for agreeing to fix an unspecified match.

They had been abruptly pulled out of an Asian Football Confederation Cup match that they were scheduled to officiate on April 3 between the Singapore-based Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal.

The three match officials were denied bail and have been detained at Singapore's Changi prison since April 4.

Eric Ding Si Yang, 31, a Singaporean businessman who allegedly supplied the prostitutes, has also been charged with corruption and granted bail.

Defence lawyer Gary Low cited his clients' previously unblemished records, their guilty pleas and the fact that their acceptance of the sexual bribe did not ultimately result in any football match being rigged.

"The gratification was arranged by Mr Ding Si Yang with a view to fixing a football match in the future," Low said. "Our clients did not reach an agreement with Ding to fix a particular football match.

"In these circumstances, our clients' conduct did not in any way affect or influence the outcome of any football match," the lawyer added.