January 22, 2016

UEFA to use Goalline Technology at EURO 2016

What has already been indicated on former international referee Kenn Hansen's site in early January has now been confirmed: UEFA's Executive Committee headed by Gianni Infantino has decided to implement Goalline Technology (GLT) at the EURO 2016 finals in France - on top of the usual Additional Assistant Referee (AAR) system.

For now it has not been clarified what kind of GLT system UEFA is going to use - most likely it will be the field-tested Goal Control system based on multiple cameras "under the roof" of the stadiums such as at Brazil's World Cup 2014.

Pierluigi Collina had already made clear that the deployment of GLT would not lead to the abolishment of the AAR system:

"The additional assistants' main task is not to control the goal line and decide whether a ball has crossed it. Rather, they are responsible for monitoring everything that is happening in the penalty area overall, aiding the main referee in making important decisions in the box. Of course, the AARs try to do their best relating to goal-line decisions as well, and what we have noticed is that in order to be prepared to judge goal-line incidents, they need to focus on the goal line before the ball arrives… therefore, they can miss something occurring at the same time in another place in the area. This may reduce the effectiveness of the assistance they are expected to offer the referee. With goal-line technology, the additional assistants are released from this demanding task and can focus exclusively on the control of other incidents on the field.", he told UEFA.com.

While it is quite obvious that most mistakes made by AARs in competitions like Champions League have had little to do with their task to control the goalline - one could call it a political excuse - UEFA's decision to make use of both systems surely creates the biggest benefit for the game. 

The human eye is apparently not capable of taking high-speed decisions of centimetres - this became clear at the last European Championship when István Vad failed to see that Ukraine had scored a goal by some centimetres. But it can surely provide some added support for the match officials - as long as they are concentrated, motivated and experienced.

The system will also be applied in Champions League matches of the season 2016/17 (starting in the play-offs). Later, UEFA will consider an implementation in Europa League as well.

We will see whether UEFA's decision will lead to a higher quality of decisions taken by AARs. Definitely, there will be no second Ukraine-England incident though.


UEFA.com: Interview with Collina

UEFA.com: News on ExCo-Decision
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January 18, 2016

Video Training - 2x SPA or DOGSO? (JUV-GLA & ZEN-POR) - Solutions


The following match situations belong to the category SPA or DOGSO?
You are warmly encouraged to participate in discussion by answering the poll or placing a comment.
Our solution will be published soon.


In SPA vs DOGSO scenarios, referees have to consider many aspects and criteria before coming to a judgment. Being the last man is not enough to deem an attacker as denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

In general, it must be a really CLEAR and OBVIOUS goal-scoring opportunity.

Some criteria are:
- Did the attacker control the ball OR was it probable that he would have controlled the ball?
- Position of the attacker?
- Direction of the ball's and player's movement? Towards the goal or rather towards the side / corner?
- Distance to the goal?
- Position of other defenders and the goalkeeper? Was another player able to interneve?
- Likelihood of the attack to produce a goal if it had not been stopped by an offence?

In this case, there are surely arguments for both. 

Arguments in favour of SPA (Yellow Card)

Arguments in favour of DOGSO (Red Card)

- It is not 100% clear whether the attacker would have reached the ball earlier than the other defender.
- Attacker had full control of the ball.
- The attacker moved towards the corner flag to circumvent the later offender.
- Distance to the goal not that big.
- The ball (look at its effet at 0:25 in the video) moved towards the sideline.
- If he had not been fouled, the attacker might have reached the ball earlier than the other defender.
- The attacker would have had to change his and the ball’s direction after reaching it, which would have cost some time and produced a worse shooting angle.
- In this case, he would have been 1v1 with the goalkeeper.
- The situation is not clear enough to deem it as a clearly denied, OBVIOUS goal-scoring opportunity.
- The attacker had already accelerated, the other defender still had to initiate a sprint to be able to intervene.

- The defender chose this foul as his last opportunity to stop a probable goal from being scored.
In such situations, the referee team's decision should be supported either way. Even with replays, it is actually not possible to come to a 100% clear solution. In the video, you can see the referee having eye- and ear-contact with his additional assistant referee, who is able to assess the ability of the other defender to intervene. The assistant referee can identify the position including the proximity to the goal of the three involved players. Another problem was that the referee did not anticipate the unexpected loss of the ball and was too highly positioned on the field of play (probably 30m away at the moment of the foul).

It is often proposed to freeze the mental image at the accurate moment of the foul. By freezing the moment of the foul as placed above, you should come to the conclusion: Clearly the last man, no chance for the other defender: DOGSO, Red Card. This is correct, but only one side of the coin. 

Freezing your mental image tells you nothing about the movement of the players, the movement and effet of the ball or the distance between the attacker and the ball (maybe he poorly controlled or touched it, which makes the ball bouncing away 5-10 metres away from the attacker's feet which leads to a reduced control of the ball).

All this has to be integrated though! Freezing the moment of the foul is nonetheless immensely important because the players' positions can dynamically and quickly change after the foul which would influence the judgment. You therefore have to know who was where even some seconds later.

From my point of view, this is one of the most complex SPA vs DOGSO situations of the past Champions League seasons. Referee Thomson only cautioned the offender. I strongly support this decision due to the ball's movement and effet as well as the mere circumstance that this is everything but a 100% clear, obvious goal-scoring opportunity. As stressed above, both decisions should be accepted, of course. Somehow, this is an orange card...

Life is rarely black or white, but of course a referee has to know what decision he should better take. If I had to commit myself to a decision, I would recommend a yellow card.

Around 70% of you preferred a red card.


The attacker was in full speed and therefore faster than both other defenders. The defender tripped the attacker who additionally was in full control of the ball and his body. The other defender had no chance to intervene in a fair manner - a good sign for that is that he even has to jump over the falling attacker which means that he was some metres behind him. The distance to the goal is moderate, given the attacker's speed, it was however likely that a goal could have been easily scored in a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper.

Although the situation was surely difficult for the referee and additional assistant referee, who had a 0-20° angle on the situation (which makes it difficult to estimate the exact player positions - the first assistant referee had better chances in terms of that), the referee should have sent off the defender for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.  

Red Card.

This is UEFA's official solution as well.

Interestingly, here 50% voted in favour of a Yellow Card and the other 50% of a Red Card.
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January 16, 2016

Green Card for Fairplay introduced in Italy's 2nd Division

Reward instead of punishment: The Serie B match La Spezia vs Bari officiated by Aleandro Di Paolo was no match like the others: For the first time, a green card has belonged to the referee's equipment apart from the usual colors yellow and red. With the deployment of this additional card, the Italian football association sends a signal for the benefit of fairplay.

Actions like all-time World Cup record goal-scorer Miroslav Klose's honest confession that he had handled the ball into the goal missed by the match officials are soon honoured by a green card issued by the referee.

Fairplay such as saving a referee from a serious error, supporting opponents who are injured and comparable actions thus will be rewarded in future - instead of punishing missing fairness. Who will be green-carded is at the referee's discretion.

At the end of each month and the season, there will be a winner with the referee department and ethics committee awarding a prize to one of those who got into the book of the referee - but exceptionally in a positive way.

In my view: A really nice action but at the same time a sad proof of the shortcomings of fairplay. If you have to make incentives to act fairly, this says quite much.

What do you think?
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January 13, 2016

Severity of Offences: Tackles without Control of the Body

Last week, I posted a tackle taken from Sunderland v Liverpool FC in the English Premier League and asked you to vote what decision should be taken from your point view. Out of 500 voters, 57% voted for a red card for serious foul play, while 41% deemed it as a reckless tackle requiring a yellow card only, which shows that it is a) a matter of interpretation and b) therefore some sort of grey area. Taking up the current debate about - and maybe even hyping of - the idea of video referees, I am wondering what decision he or she would make. The following solution is not the end of all wits and surely not the ultimate truth (which is by the way expected from video referees).

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January 10, 2016

News from IFAB: Video Referees and Further Proposals

At last, football's lawmakers - the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - have cleared the way for Video Referees in football. A concept that is already applied in sports hockey or rugby thus might soon take the heat off referees in critical game situations. Moreover, further proposals have been lodged with the intention to remove inconsistencies from the Laws of the Game.

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January 4, 2016

Cüneyt Çakır elected as The 3rd Team's European Referee of the Year 2015

Today we honour Turkish international referee Cüneyt Çakır as The 3rd Team's European Referee of the Year 2015 as a result of our internal votings. Italian Nicola Rizzoli and Germany's Felix Brych have been ranked as no.2 and 3 respectively, with two Englishmen just behind and a Polish talent making place 6.

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