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Sunday, August 28, 2005

The necessity of bookings

I'm a bit puzzled. Watching Spurs v Chelsea on the BBC highlights, I'm adamant that, along with Michael Essien and Joe Cole, John Terry was booked and one other Chelsea player. That is because after Spurs' Andy Reid was shown his caution for dissent, commentator John Motson mentioned that the card count was four for Chelsea and two for Spurs. By that time Anthony Gardner and Reid made up the two for Spurs, Edgar Davids' caution came sometime after. Yet during the post-match interview with Jose Mourinho, the BBC caption displayed only two cautions for Chelsea, Essien and Cole. On the BBC web-site it is the same, and I've looked elsewhere and have found nothing different. I believe there has been a mistake that only Rob Styles can clarify, but he was there on the highlights blatantly showing John Terry the yellow card.

Which brings me to the bookings in that game. Alan Hansen mentioned that Essien was rightly booked for the alleged trip on Davids, and presumably not red-carded, because Terry was likely to make the ball before Davids, making Terry the last man. For me Essien didn't trip him deliberately, I saw the Ghanaian watching the play than Davids and it was an accidental contact.

Didier Drogba turned Gardner well and was blocked by the defender. I felt it was a straight forward free-kick and a word to say 'another one of those and it will be a booking' would have sufficed but the ref felt it necessary for the booking. Then sometime after, Ahmed Mido jumps for the ball with Asier Del Horno and his right forearm comes between himself and the Spaniard, the latter goes down as a result. Mido states he had his arm there to protect himself and Del Horno and this raises again the question of the using the arm for leverage to get height. But from another angle Mido appears to jump towards Del Horno rather than up alongside him for the ball, so the red card was right.

Andy Reid's booking was for dissent when he picked up the ball and dropped it behind him somewhat forcefully. Perhaps another referee would look on that as conduct that warranted a talking to rather than the necessity of a booking but Styles seemed determined to label any breach of the game with the card.

For me, there isn't a favourite referee, just a referee who one would like to rely on to administer the laws of the game with good discretion. I'm not looking for a referee to remain rigid and penalise every contact they see as an infringement, otherwise the strengths and competitiveness of the game would deteriorate to a tedious rate where players are hesitant to make a tackle at all. No, referees are not that stringent but football has an entertainment value, as well as a supporting and competitive one, and referees need to consider those values along with the lawfulness of the game.

In Europe, Pierluigi Collina was reputed as the best official in the game, yet his handling of the Villarreal v Everton 2nd leg Champions League qualifier was put under scrutiny, where some argue he cost Everton their place in the competition. Others like Markus Merck, Urs Meier, Tene Hemmick, Anders Frisk, Kim Milton Neilsen are, or were, FIFA affiliated officials. Urs Meier was criticised for disallowing England's goal against Portugal, which was a wrong decision but one taken at the speed of play. Anders Frisk was under threat from the Roma crowd when he sent off Philippe Mexes against Dynamo Kiev.

The classic decision of Neilsen sending off David Beckham for something of a petulant foot aimed at Argentina's Diego Simeone showed that discretion is paramount when officiating. The law aimed to cease deliberate kicking but Beckham's foot clearly wasn't one of a threatening manner to Simeone's personal safety and should have received a yellow. Compare that to Andy Welsh against Luis Garcia last week, similar conduct. I said in an article before the sending-off was questionable and Sunderland successfully appealed.

Discretion is key to a good flow of a game, helps to maintain the entertainment and progression of the match and the referee is that much more lenient to show the players they can go only so far. Once they overstep, then they have no complaints when disciplined.



Blogger SKG said...

the way the referees have been so far this season, it wouldn't surprise me if at the end of it the number of red and yellow cards issued sets a new record.

today's referee for the newcastle/ man utd game didn't impress me much either.

i know that referees are told to clamp down on bad tackles etc but i think the time has come for the powers to be to start clamping down on bad referees.

8/28/2005 10:34 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tene Hemmink? It's Rene Temmink.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your site!

8/28/2005 11:47 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, anon., I stand corrected. Do you have a comment about the subject, in general?


8/29/2005 12:18 pm

Blogger T said...

To even up the balance on the subject of good and bad referees, a ref that has impressed me since making his debut in the Premiership last season is Mark Clattenberg.

He often is in the right place to make the correct decision, and I respect his no-nonsense approach to players that is neither too friendly nor to school-masterly. All in all he is a good referee.

Redsman, the point you raise about the Terry booking deserves further investigation. Keep us posted.

8/30/2005 11:24 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

To add to the issue above regarding the bookings in the Spurs v Chelsea game, I have had a reply from the BBC football staff, stating that I was right. It was a vague answer but suggested that John Terry was definitely booked and a note of the booking was overlooked in the match report. The implications are possibly minor, Terry is a booking further, than others may be aware of, to a suspension.


8/30/2005 11:44 am


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