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Question Number: 31257

Mechanics 2/14/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Video refereeing - what would be the out come of the Bellerin / Alonso clash from the recent Arsenal v Chelsea match.

Some debate as to should the goal stand, and possible valid points on either side of the debate. Still, it has me wondering, how would an incident like this be treated if we do introduce video assisted refereeing.

Of course, until it is introduced, we can only guess. However, I think this particular moment would be one for the governing body to use as an example of determining what kind of 'moment' could / should be in the parameters of what can be reviewed.

As to the moment itself, I heard one person make an interesting point " if it had been out side the box, and a defender on the attacker, it would quite probably be an attacking DFK.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
Incident like this highlight the real challenge of matters of opinion. Obviously there was contact between both players who both had their arms raised. I do not think that the Chelsea player deliberately attempts to foul his opponent and this should be called as a foul. It could also be seen as a coming together of two players in an aerial challenge.
If pressed on a call based on video replay I would say that the goal should be disallowed and a direct free kick to the defending team. That is based on the opinion that the Chelsea players actions can be seen to be careless in challenging for the ball.. Some see it as reckless while other see it as use of excessive force.
The sympathy I have for the referee is that in real time on the field of play this can look like a coming together

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
I've been debating this in other locations - interesting to note that the responses from referees cover all sides of the spectrum - we have votes for no foul, foul only, foul and yellow card, foul and red card.

For me, this is Serious Foul Play.

The intent of the attacker is not relevant. Hasn't been for quite a few years. Don't get me wrong - the wise referee can spot when something is intentional and that's typically treated more seriously, but it's not a prerequisite. Plenty of correct red cards have been issued for innocently mistimed tackles.

The attacker is leading with the forearm. That's a simple fact - and you cannot lead with the forearm around the opponent's head when going for an aerial challenge. If this isn't a foul, or even 'just a foul', then we're entering very dangerous territory where players may as well elbow their opponents in the head at every free kick.

He's come across at a fair bit of pace and lead with the forearm. Hitting the head of the opponent was the only possible outcome - and that, combined with the force in the jump, means it has endangered the safety of an opponent for me and the force used was excessive for the challenge.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
I too lean towards my colleague REF Wrights point about going in leading with the arm or chicken wing elbow pointing . Just as keepers are taught to jump with a raised knee to protect themselves in a possible collision, both are in fact dangerous actions.

I get why, you are looking for separation and height as well as a degree of protection from the imminent collision. The fact a ball is available to be challenged, both players can be over eager to be the one to win that challenge! Both could be partially or totally at fault. That as always is a matter of opinion for the match referee!

In such a case whether video review could overturn a decision based on the OPINION of the match referee on a play he actually saw is likely to pen a Pandora box of what ifs! I recall the red card for a arm into the face of a Mexican player by a Panamanian player in the very contentious Gold Cup where Mark Geiger, a USA referee, was 25 yards away at least. I saw no indication the AR was the one communicating it MUST be a red card but of course no explanation was forth coming only the B.S. news blurb that Mark had told the Concacalf president he had made mistakes without actually telling us WHAT they were! ?????? Sigh. I watched it from various angles and speeds but could not say this was a definite red card but as a match official in real time Mark had little hesitancy and who are we to say he was incorrect? We may agree to disagree but our opinion simply does not matter in these cases.

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