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Question Number: 33071

Mechanics 2/15/2019

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Fouls or no fouls ?

In the recent Athletico v Real Madrid match, VAR stepped in to make decisions.

The first was on the Athletico goal.
Decision was goal stands.

First question " why why why why did the AR not raise his flag for offside when it was ultimately what he thought was an issue. Yes, I know the officials (at this level) these days are told to be puppets to the review system (wait, and let others make the decision), but really, if he is going to run all the way keeping up with play and only raise the flag if the ball goes in the net " it is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

If he thought it was offside - raise the flag. If he was unsure - leave it down and let VAR decide. But don't not make a call, and then, make a call afterwards !!

Not his fault - he is no doubt following directions on what to do and VAR is asked to step in.

So what did VAR confirm - that he was not offside, or, that that there was no foul by the attacking team in the passage of play that lead to a goal?
If no foul - then I'm keen to hear the panels thoughts on the challenge for the loose 50/50 ball at the start of the passage of play.
The Athletico player jumps at the ball, and has barely any feet on the ground (with a good amount of body control) and hits the Madrid player in the shin and no ball. Was it enough to warrant a foul. Presumably not (despite possibly ticking the poxes on what does).
Is it therefore about the strength of the contact (not enough)?

Second request of VAR was on the penalty to Madrid.
If there was a foul (looks very straightforward that there was) then it looks to be outside the PA (may even have been multiply fouls depending how stick you are).

Did a foul 'continue into the PA' ? or was there a foul in the PA?
Hmmmm. Presumably yes to one or the other (or both).

So this made me think, it a player is clearly fouled out side the PA with the effect that the player is put off balance outside the PA, and this 'off balance' continues into the PA " yet with no further contact from an opponet " does that meet the requirements of 'continues into the PA' ?

To be clear, I have not issue with VAR being used in these instances - I'm just (sometimes) disillusioned that the officials are asked to rely on it.

Sure, it is a very long way from the park footy that I ref in, but I am asked to make a call on what I see and believe to be 'what occurred'.
My Match. My Decision, My reputation " as Ref Dawson so fondly mentions !

Sure, no player in my games are earning zillions, and the club does not stand to win or lose gazillions on a match official call.

But I wish we could be on the same page as professional footy. Call me stupid.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The assistant referee has followed the protocol as written. ARs have been told to delay the flag in doubtful situation so as to prevent a major error which can not be corrected if play has been stopped.
So let us say that the AR flagged for offside and it is clearly shown that he was in fact in error there is no possibility of correcting it afterwards.
In this instance there was a doubt about the position of the scorer so the AR allowed the play to unfold and then raised his flag after the goal which signaled to the referee a possible problem in awarding the goal. If it was offside the restart is an IDFK. If not the goal is awarded which is in fact what happened here.
That to me is good mechanics and in this case it was slightly longer delay than usual. However a good goal was scored which would have been chalked off had the AR hunched it was offside rather than using the VAR system. I suspect as well that the VAR crew asked for *time* to review which is why the AR raised his flag. The possible foul was not IMO part of the VAR review which was to deal with the offside flag after the goal.
On the penalty call let us be clear on this. Falling into the penalty area from a push, trip, pull, hold etc clearly outside the penalty area is not a penalty kick.
In this instance there was a foul which the referee believed happened inside the penalty area. The defending team clearly protested that any foul contact happened outside the area. The referee was not certain so he asked for a review which told him that he was correct in awarding the penalty kick based on the fact that there was possible contact on the player inside the penalty area. Looking at the video I believe there were a series of contact on the attacker. The final contact appears to happen on or over the line and sufficient doubt not to change the onfield call as there us no clear error shown to be made. Had there been no contact or possible contact whatsoever in the penalty area I believe the penalty decision would gave been overturned. So for me no clear obvious error in the referees decision so no reversal of the call.
One of the downsides of VAR has been the over reliance by some referee in using VAR as a crutch to confirm every big decision. Thankfully with training and development its uses are being improved.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russel the wait see approach is the way to go, you can not undo stopped play, you can reverse a goal IF it should have been stopped as that is what the freeze play does to determine YES or NO. I agree though the idea that referees are now easily influenced by the TV screen image it is why some are reluctant to make the call allowing VAR to do so No more pretty sure, only 100% absolutely stone cold appears to be the new bar!

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