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Messages - kelxref

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General Discussion / Re: The VAR thread
« on: Tue 29 Oct 2019 11:58 »
After the controversy over the last weekend, there is a report in the Times this morning that the Premier League chairmen are "seriously considering" changing the policy on the use of pitched monitors, at their next meeting mid November. The article reports on a growing feeling amongst clubs that allowing referees to consult the pitch side monitors will remove some of the criticism of VAR.

Whilst personally (if the report is accurate) I think this is a positive move, it does lay bare the direct control the clubs have over PGMOL policy. Indeed the article quotes one chairman saying "...if it changes the outcome of a game, we will seriously consider making the change". So, the club chairmen not so much have an input on PGMOL policy but actually instruct PGMOL on what they do?

General Discussion / Re: 1st ruled out goal by VAR in PL
« on: Tue 03 Sep 2019 10:08 »
Given the denial of the West Ham's penalty appeal over the weekend, and now several weeks into the season noting how high the bar has actually been set, it made me think back to past incidents that would (or sceptically replace that with might) qualify for overturning the on field decision. Some of you may (BMB in particular) recall Roger East denying Bournemouth a penalty a couple of years ago when the defenders legs were taken from under him with the ball at least a metre away. If that does not meet the standard set then VAR would be completely open to ridicule.

The West Ham incident did also make me think on another point that makes me concerned how VAR is working. Neil Swarbrick recently talked on the BBC about the communication that goes on between the on field referee and VAR, in terms of what the referee actually saw and how this can influence VARs interpretation of "clear and obvious" and whether they intervene. He used the Man City penalty appeal against Spurs as a specific example. Given that I can understand that in the recent Spurs v Newcastle game with Harry Kane's penalty appeal, Mike Dean may well have felt that Kane leant into the defender and helped initiate the contact, so it is at the very least understandable that VAR did not intervene. However, for the West Ham incident, which seemed to me to be so clearly a foul, I just cannot understand what Paul Tierney could possibly have said to the VAR that could have prevented the decision being overturned. It would be interesting to hear Swarbrick explain what Tierney thinks he saw and what communication went on.


Yes I think Gallagher is right. In another thread (First Goal disallowed...) Readingfan loaded a recording from last week on BBC radio interviewing Neil Swarbrick. He refers to the Man City penalty claim and says that MO saw the contact but felt the player fell forward rather than back so exaggerating the contact (not verbatim but that was the gist of it) and so that was why VAR did not intervene.

General Discussion / Re: 1st ruled out goal by VAR in PL
« on: Tue 20 Aug 2019 16:13 »
Excellent post kelxref.

I think there are pros and cons to the approach regarding pitchside monitors and assistants raising offside flags.

On balance, I think I prefer the PL's approach towards assistants raising the flag. I think sometimes in UEFA/FIFA competitions the assistants come across as being indecisive (even though they aren't really) and it is frustrating for people when it seems a move is being let go when there is actually a clear offside offence and I think it is often taken too far in these competitions. I don't really buy the argument about defenders potentially stopping in the PL. They've all been briefed to play to the whistle so if they fail to do so then it's just an individual defensive error as far as I'm concerned, just as if they fail to mark properly at a corner or switch off to a quick free-kick. I won't have any sympathy for a team who concedes a goal due to stopping because of an offside flag and if it happens once I'm pretty sure it won't happen again!

Overall, I think that raising the flag makes the assistants actively make decisions and gives a clear visual indication to everyone of the likely decision.

As for pitchside monitors, I don't think that any decision that has been changed by VAR so far in the PL would have had a different outcome if the referee had gone to look at the monitor. Again, I think this has often been overused abroad, either with the referee being sent to look at a very marginal incident which shouldn't have been reviewed in the first place and they take an age to make a decision or where the decision is very obvious and reviewing it is not really required. Both waste time unnecessarily and I don't think really suit the general speed and tempo of Premier League football.

I think the most important thing is that the on-field referee is comfortable with the final decision being made so if they want to look for themselves then they should be permitted to do so but I think the PL are probably right in their context in looking to limit this.

Overall, I think that the general standard of officiating in the PL at the start of the season has generally been pretty good. The VAR decisions changed so far have been marginal calls that you could easily understand the officials missing in real-time. I would guess over time we will see more obvious incorrect decisions that fall under the real howler category as we have seen in previous PL seasons.

I think you make some very valid points that made me reflect on my comments. I certainly agree that the "most important thing is that the on-field referee is comfortable with the final decision being made" and on that thought, I would like to think they could make an OFR if they felt it necessary to completely understand the VAR and "sell" it to the players on the pitch. I just get the feeling that the EFL are pushing against this and virtually ruling out OFLs and letting VAR make the decision on both factual and non-factual decisions, so making speeding up the game the paramount aim. And whilst I agree that the way VAR is working in Europe probably uses OFRs too frequently, I think we might be pushing it to the other extreme. As as aside, I note from another board that in a Bundesliga game last weekend, a goal was disallowed for handball based upon VAR input alone. So other countries may be amending their own protocols as they gain more experience on how VAR is working.

On the "when to flag for offside" issue, I agree that the method adopted by the EFL makes the assistant make a call and not tend to use VAR like the old lamppost analogy i.e. to lean on rather than light the way. However, following my example at Chelsea on Sunday, I think it will still need the first overruled offside flag and the protests that are likely to follow, to ram home the point of "playing to the whistle"!

These are early days for VAR in the EFL and as it has in Germany, Italy, Spain and France, it will take time for all sections of the game to get used to it. I agree in the first two weeks of the season the officials have been generally good, and the major controversies are more to do with a law change rather than VAR.

General Discussion / Re: 1st ruled out goal by VAR in PL
« on: Mon 19 Aug 2019 13:57 »
Firstly, I thought that the EFL VAR protocol was to avoid on field reviews except in very rare circumstances (I think I saw a quote from Neil Swarbrick saying that in all the trials last season there would have been only one OFR!), so I think Michael Oliver had no choice but to take the VAR advice. However, personally I think this EFL tweak to the system used abroad and in international competitions is misguided.

On Saturday, whilst it may have taken a little longer it would have been better if the referee had reviewed the incident on screen for himself and taken into account how the the “handling” had occurred. In this case (and I say this as a Spurs fan!) I think there is sufficient wiggle room in the current law (certainly around the word control) to have let the goal stand or even if he did disallow it, to better sell the decision to the players as he has reviewed the incident for himself.

Secondly, the other tweak to VAR that the EFL has made is to get assistants to flag immediately for offside and then get the referee to delay the whistle until any goal scoring opportunity has finished. I cannot think of anything to commend this. You can tell players until you’re blue in the face to play to the whistle and not the flag but in practice it is unlikely to happen. And even if they did, it does nothing to overcome the criticism stated on these boards that late flags leading to potential unnecessary injuries as the whistle is still delayed. Late in the Chelsea v Leicester game yesterday, Leicester put the ball in the net. The assistant flagged immediately the player received the ball, the commentators called the flag before he scored and the Chelsea goalkeeper seemed to me to make a half hearted attempt to save presumably as the flag had been raised. Oliver Langford did not blow until after the ball entered the net (as the protocol dictates). Whilst VAR did confirm the offside, I shudder to think of the protests if the offside were overturned. I can’t see any advantage in this change to VAR - although happy to be informed if my criticism is misguided.

General Discussion / Re: Bulgaria v Montenegro - Ruddy Buquet
« on: Mon 25 Mar 2019 09:21 »
Whilst I agree this was a bad error, I do have some sympathy with the referee and think UEFA is partly to blame for this. Ruddy Buquet works with VAR every week in his national league, he works with AARs in Europa League games, so whilst I understand we can’t yet have VAR in all Euro qualifiers, I don’t understand why UEFA is not appointing AARs for these games. After all they did appoint them for the less important Nations league games earlier in the season, and I think their presence in the game in Sofia would probably have prevented this error occuring.

Agree one or the other would have prevented this & I further agree that one or the other should have been used but I'm sorry - he is a FIFA referee and as such should be perfectly capable of making these decisions correctly on his own, no VAR or AAR to hold his hand & make them for him.  If he can no longer make decisions on his own then it goes a huge way to proving a point made by many of the detractors to VAR that it will stop in particular less competent referees from making decisions because VAR will make the decisions for them. 

As for calling the Nations League less important I beg to differ, I sincerely doubt the teams that qualified for the Euros via it found it any less important, in fact I think they will have found it a vital lifeline & probably more important than the qualifiers. If only the MLSz had done what the fans asked and appointed Rossi the first time round instead of subjecting the Hungary NT to 10 months of Leekens, Hungary would have potentially qualified during the tournament, instead of messing that up & the qualifiers! It might seem unimportant to the big teams who always qualify for these things but it's certainly not seen as such by the smaller nations where it is potentially the only route to take part in a tournament.

I fully accept I was wrong to imply that the Nations Leagues was less important than the qualifiers. What I should have said was that by not appointing AARs, UEFA is implying the qualifiers are less important than the Nations League. This error could have been avoided and Montenegro will feel justifiably unhappy if it causes them to avoid qualifying.

On your other point, I accept that an absence of VAR or AARs should not be used to excuse any referees' lack of competence. However, this kind of incident using a 3 official system does seem to me to lead to a potential "blind spot" for the officials (i.e. AR running parallel to the penalty area line and the referee favouring the left side through his diagonal). I would be very interested to know what formal advice is given to referees on how to adjust their positioning when AARs are present versus when they are not. I noted on Saturday when watching Michael Oliver (who is regularly using the 3 official system in the Premier League) refereeing Sweden v Romania, how he moved towards the right hand side when attacks built up from that side of the pitch. I felt he would certainly have been in a better position to make the correct call if a similar incident to one in the Bulgarian v Montenegro game had occurred in his match.

General Discussion / Re: Bulgaria v Montenegro - Ruddy Buquet
« on: Sun 24 Mar 2019 09:53 »
Whilst I agree this was a bad error, I do have some sympathy with the referee and think UEFA is partly to blame for this. Ruddy Buquet works with VAR every week in his national league, he works with AARs in Europa League games, so whilst I understand we can’t yet have VAR in all Euro qualifiers, I don’t understand why UEFA is not appointing AARs for these games. After all they did appoint them for the less important Nations league games earlier in the season, and I think their presence in the game in Sofia would probably have prevented this error occuring.

General Discussion / Re: PSG v Manchester United
« on: Thu 07 Mar 2019 18:24 »
Just a thought.
As I understand it, if we are saying that in European matches virtually everything that strikes the hand/arm in the box is going to get a penalty, what is there to stop the more savvy players deliberately kicking the ball at another players hand/arm in the knowledge that a penalty is likely to result?

I think there is a rationale behind the UEFA interpretation of handball which might still let us avoid the savvy or cynical scenario you described. Their instruction a couple of years ago that if a ball strikes an arm or hand that is outstretched should be penalised was the start of this. Taking this together with the IFAB recent changes that penalising both a non deliberate handball that results in a goal scored or gives control of the ball to score a goal, is moving us to define handball not by whether it is deliberate or not but by whether it gives a clear advantage or gain. I think the sort of penalty given to United last night would be difficult to recreate deliberately. However, basing handball on whether it results in a material gain, could for example be framed to exclude someone flicking the ball against a players arm or hand from a short range, which might be what you had in mind in your example.

Personally I don’t think this is a bad move and provides a more objective criterion for judging handball. Consigning the more subjective “intentional” to history as we did with fouling (back in the 20th century) is long overdue in
my view.

General Discussion / Re: Anthony Taylor - Spurs v Arsenal
« on: Mon 04 Mar 2019 13:33 »
Offside simply cannot be given against Kane in this situation, this is covered by Law 11 which states …

In situations where: a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence

He hasn't played or attempted to play the ball, or challenged an opponent for the ball, as he was fouled before the ball got there.  Had the foul not happened then he would undoubtedly have been given offside, but the defender's actions determined the outcome

Grandad Walton says no penalty.... I'm confused!!!!


I think Walton’s column is beginning to make Keith Hackett’s look much better than I first thought! Following on from his justification of the appalling dissent against Adam Nunn a few weeks ago as being part of the emotion of the game, his analysis in this morning’s column seems to me to completely ignore the current law as quoted by rustyref. The photograph he shows (number 2) at the moment the foul is committed seems totally at odds with his narrative. This picture shows Kane has his feet on the ground when he is fouled but according to Walton he is already attempting to play the ball despite the laws explicitly allowing a player to move towards the ball without making them actively offside. Kane appparently is also challenging an opponent making him active before the foul. Kane may be a talented player but not sure even he can offer a challenge to the defender to his right who is a couple of feet away whilst incidentally he is staring skyward. Or perhaps it is the defender who commits the foul whoWalton thinks Kane is challenging, introducing the novel (well it is for me) talent of being able to legally challenge an opponent who is behind you.

General Discussion / Re: Anthony Taylor - Spurs v Arsenal
« on: Sun 03 Mar 2019 07:01 »
3 key match incidents today: Tottenham penalty - correct decision by Taylor, however imho it should be flagged offside by beswick! This is where the law is wrong because Kane has interfered with an opponent in then as that mustafi has to challenge Kane for a header.
Arsenal penalty: wrong decision. Very little if any contact exaggerated by aubameyang not enough to warrant this decision! As it was, penalty given. Vertonghen a good 5 yards inside the box. Don’t need VAR to see it was clear, just poor officiating.
Red card: correct decision. Studs up straight leg over the top of the ball, catches him on shin. Didn’t see the whole game but sounds like a mixed bag from Taylor!

Time for him to have a few weeks off from refereeing premier league games just to recuperate and get ready for crucial end of the season!

I would say the decision was wrong for the first penalty (with the offside) rather than the law.

I think this debate mirrors the one about one of the Schalke penalties in the Man City in the Champions League last week. To quote Mr Rossetti (the UEFA head of refs justifying the Schalke penalty) on the laws

“if a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence”.

The problem I have with the argument that Kane is interfering because he is distracting a defender who has to stop him challenging for the ball, is that it will throw into doubt all those goals currently allowed (seemingly without controversy) where a free kick is sent into the penalty area with one or more attackers in offside positions and another onside attacker scores the goal. Surely those defenders are distracted by the players in offside positions giving a freer route to the other attacker scoring tho goal? If we want to penalise Kane I cannot quite see why we should not disallow these other goals either.

Under the current interpretation of the offside law like it or not I think Anthony Taylor got that decision right.


No game for Oliver and Pawson maybe European games in the following week or non PL games.

Hopefully both on European games.

Whilst this may not rule them out of European games next week, I think Oliver (referee) and Pawson and Tierney (as VARs) are at a FIFA seminar in Doha.

General Discussion / Re: The VAR thread
« on: Thu 17 Jan 2019 08:31 »
On bruntyboys post about the « orange » cards and not going to OFRs,
I think in the end we will have to change to the protocol used in the World
Cup to avoid this potential inconsistency. I think I read somewhere that the
Bundesliga attemped to avoid OFRs when they started with VAR but abandoned
it after a few weeks for this very reason.

Also I do think it is possible to give a yellow card after an OFR. I seem to recall
in the World Cup Ronaldo was given a yellow after Diedhiou was asked to review
a slap (for a possible red card) and he deemed it worthy of only a yellow card. So certainly
it appears to have been permissible under the protocols used at the World Cup last year.

General Discussion / Re: Viktor Kassai M/C City v Shakhtar
« on: Wed 07 Nov 2018 21:17 »
Agree. Embarrassing decision. Victor Kassai was not in the best of positions directly behind and in line with Sterling. I cannot believe he didn’t get some input from the AAR (Bognar?). On the BT coverage it showed the AAR (who had an unobstructed view) making a gesture looking as if he was supporting the penalty!

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