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Question Number: 34842

Mechanics 1/18/2023

RE: Adult

AEK Fan Club Of NY of ASTORIA, NY USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34839

Thank you for your replies. IMHO the white player clearly dived, he had no intention to play the ball, he turned his body, closed his eyes, and prayed to get kicked.
The initial call by the ref was no penalty, and while #21 white (the victim) yelled at the referee, the referee told him, "You clearly dived, no questions asked".
During the VAR review, the ref was shown the kick only, not the handball, nor the body turning. Just the last 0.5 seconds of the play with the kick

Just FYI, cause I have the feeling that the VAR call has affected everyone's opinion

Thnx again

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Thanks for your continued interest. I think it's worth bearing in mind that this was a judgement call by a referee after a VAR on-field review had given him additional information that he was not aware of in real time. As with any such decision, the fact that it was subject to VAR review and then a change of heart, is evidence that there could be different opinions on the matter, based on point of view.

Otherwise stated, and to paraphrase a remark made by the late Queen of England, "Perceptions may vary."

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

It is extremely difficult to isolate the ball contact on # White from the kick by # Blue so I don't agree with any assertion that the kick only was looked at.
My opinion is given as an independent observer and as a match official and I have been in many of these situations except without the use of VAR. I believe that in a game without VAR this would be called as a penalty in real time.

I would make the following points to conclude my assessment of the situation

1. It was in the 2nd minute of three in added time so any decision here was most likely a match decider.
2. The referee looks like he is going to go give it and raises his whistle to blow it yet does not for what I think could be the following reasons
a. Blue raises his arms suggesting that he pulled back from the kick.
b. The ball is screened between White and Blue so there is no certainty about any handling from the referee's angle of view
c. The referee knows he has VAR to fall back on in what is a critical match decision so he may heve decided to wait and see.
d. Awarding a penalty for it to be overturned by VAR would have caused more of a furore. While the advice is not to rely on VAR yet we know that is not always the case.

3. No VAR official is going to withhold a critical match incident from a referee on review. It would more than likely end very badly for that official and anyway why would that be done? What benefit would that bring to the decision? The process at the highest level is subject to official scrutiny including intense public scrutiny so the totality of the incident would have to be reviewed to satisfy not alone the match observer and delegate but a wide audience. Is a certain DHB going to be ignored so that a penalty is awarded?
In the UK Premier League a foul and a possible red card leading up to a goal was not brought to the referee's attention. The VAR official had to make a statement and apologies for his error which was heavily criticised by everyone in the game. Anyway there is a fraction of a second between the ball hitting White and the kick by Blue and it would take some fast editing skills to limit the review to the kick only on the monitor!
4. The word dive is suggested yet there is no simulation here. The White player is entitled to go for the ball in whatever manner he chose and had there been no contact by Blue that could be simulation as an attempt to deceive the referee by pretending to be fouled. The outcome to that scenario had it happened would have been a caution and an IDFK to the defending team. Referees have zero tolerance of simulation and there is no way that simulation is going to be ignored to reward the player and a team with a penalty. It was one of the reasons why VAR was introduced in the first place to prevent penalty awards on diving. The White player was kicked in his attempt to go for the ball which he is entitled to do and that is a foul all day long.

Final point is that we answer questions for everyone including fans, Some referee sites say that they are not fan forums and that is fine. We give our answers as observers and referees not as fans. I am certain that AEK would have liked a draw here to close the gap on Panathinaikos in that league so to agree with my good colleague Referee Groves' reference to the late Queen Elizabeth "perceptions may vary" depending on what one wants to see.
For days and weeks after a controversial decision, everyone across football has their say. Was it or wasn't it? Should it have been or should it not have been? Despite the hours, replay angles and context available, often these discussions do not result in agreement.
Recent research by PGMOL the referee body in the UK showed that referees make on average 250 decisions per game and get about 5 incorrect so 98% of the decisions are correct. Of those 5 making a critical match error in one of those decisions results in an unfavourable assessment for the referee which none want to receive as it has consequences.

Ultimately in this game the referee made a call with the help of VAR which in my opinion was the only possible call open to the official. Its not easy being a top match official and those officials deserve our respect and thanks for doing a difficult job to the best of their ability. If VAR was not available there would be a huge furore as to how no penalty could have been awarded here.

One can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

I was not going to continue but to be fair you are entitled to an opinion, you have been polite and respectful so to the degree whether I agree with it or not has no relevance.
However, I want you to think carefully as to how you arrived at yours.
You have discounted the poor play by Blue? Why?
The White player did NOT run into the blue player's leg.
The White player had every right to get to that ball.
The white players eyes were not closed as he barged in. Eyes close and open with contact almost involuntarily. Look at any most any air challenge or hard collision players often close their eyes instinctively.
The White player played the ball NOT the blue player. (You can make a point if the ball was handled be it high up on the shoulder part versus the cup hand push along but in no way easy to say with fact ) It was likely his body turning to not handle in as much as draw a foul?
The White player had played through the ball well ahead of his being kicked.

Your claim
(1) The initial call by the REFEREE was no penalty, (ACTUALLY it was simply allow play)
(2) #21 white (the victim) yelled at the referee, (Why not, he was kicked?)
(3) REFEREE responded "You clearly dived, no questions asked". (Did he really SAY that or just indicated get up not stopping? Simulation is a CAUTIONABLE action! I never saw no yellow card?

(4) During the VAR review, the ref was shown the kick only, not the handball, nor the body turning. Just the last 0.5 seconds of the play with the kick (REALLY?? You actually watched that with him from the touch lines? )

Now if a referee and their ARs are not to be trusted, have no integrity we could just give everyone in the stadium a buzzer and if 50% plus 1 person agree it is or is not a foul use group think to decide! Thus likely team with most fans in attendance wins! lol

A referee must have courage to do what is right at the beginning or end of a match.
If a referee is scared and waits for VAR to confirm or deny an issue, he is failing in his duty . Yet if he is unsure of what took place and wishes additional input to be sure to GET it right that is why the have ARS and VAR, that is an option! VAR cannot undo a referee arbitrary yes it is, no it is not, foul decision. VAR is there only to ensure a correct decision can be rendered using advanced technology highlighting actions or events possibly missed by the on field crew in real time! Hence while offside is cut and dried as yes or no, subjective fouls are not cut and dried! You infer a potential foul of NOT calling a handling, in your opinion simulation, not calling it a trip.

I cannot speak to your direct knowledge of what you state because I cannot confirm it as such. However, even if the first part was true it is not inconceivable he had a poor angle of view but in fact that is irrelevant once the referee went to review the play it is and was ALWAYS his decision as to how to proceed with a restart it was NOT the VARs .

I was actually surprised the PK call was not made as the kick occurred BUT I SUSPECT the referee was screened, he was in line with the blue player and the white player and the speed of play with a partially blocked angle of view may have felt the white player ran into the legs of the player but even on the replay, look where the ball is in retrospect to when and where the kick is delivered? It is NOWHERE near the ball.

VAR indicated he needed to look at something either by omission of an event unseen or at the referee request. Just as an AR would offer advise as a neutral agency not a fan, coach or player speculation. The referee, AFTER review made a decision based on what he thought he saw from before and from the images he was now shown . I have long stated that armchair decisions using slow motion stop start are tainted by the actions not being in real time! Perhaps as you state the referee made the change based on the VAR input, we are not privy to his mindset, but it was not the VAR tv dude screaming at him to change or award a Pk, VAR was only saying look at this, what do you think, not, do what I tell you! The final on field decision was the within the power and authority of the center referee! While I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of events I would hope you at least consider the referee made the decision with integrity, thinking it was the correct decision, to do otherwise is a disservice to the integrity of the referee and the game itself. On field in real time grassroots your perceived version might fly as the referee would have no ADDITIONAL recourse to get it right, here he had, and in my opinion it was the correct decision.

As my colleagues state we address the LOTG in as non biased a way as we can. Yes we understand that matches in real time are different then video and slow motion rewind review and although a referee with integrity tries their best to avoid mistakes they do occur. We simply do not care who wins or benefits personally, only that the game is measured with integrity and openness.

It is ok to agree to disagree for the good of the game but it is important not to think less of those who do not see things the way we do. It is the essence of what is lacking in political discourse, the adversarial role of right or wrong with no middle ground respect. I will defend the integrity of officials as my own experiences have shown me people are often mistaken in attaching motives to our decisions. I realize we can and do make errors but that in most of those deviances of judgement there is no conspiracy to find fault or betray trust. I thank you for the real love you show for the game , the respect in offering divergent views and the time you dedicated to informing & educating us and others . I am sure we will butt head again with our own versions of our honest opinions. lol Stay safe, be well my friend!

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