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Question Number: 32013

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/11/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell (frustrated Socceroo fan) of Sydney, Australia asks...

If anyone knows what happened here - please enlighten me.

WC playoff between Honduras and Australia.

Commentators suggesting the Ref pointed to the spot.
Commentators suggesting the near side AR flagged offside (clearly not offside).

If the CR did point to the spot, why did change his call?

If the AR did flagged for offside, then he will not be getting another appointment for some time.

If the CR thought there was a foul worthy of a penalty (foul from keeper on attacker seems like the only possible foul), but was overturned due to an offside happening first, then why not a red for VC? (he seemed to be motioning an elbow strike).

If offside, why the long debate. Clearly the Hondurans thought either the CR or the AR were making a call against them and hence their collective harassment of the officials.

Was the restart a DFK, goal kick or IDFK ?
I didn't see the refs in the screen at restart. He ran pointing to a location restart that suggests a Goal kick, there was not arm up in the air as if to signal an offside.

If goal kick, (it is possible that is what the ref was initially pointing too, however, that the commentators thought he was pointing to the spot), why did he need to have a discussion with the AR. If the AR had a flag up, surely not for an offside. If the AR said, 'lets chat', then why?

All a mess.

If anyone has official knowledge to the match reporting to be able to clarify - that would be appreciated.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The referee I believe gave a goal kick after consulting with the Assistant Referee. Media is suggesting that. The referee initially gave a penalty kick yet after consulting with the AR changed his mind. If there was an offside the flag would be up and no need for consultation. It probably did not help that Honduran players were looking for offside as they felt that was their only get out of jail card!
Personally I thought if nothing had been given there would have been no issue with the header going wide. There seemed to be some contact by the goalkeeper on the attacker yet it looked more like a coming together in a challenge for the ball rather than foul contact. Not sure what the AR said that convinced the referee to change his mind? That would indeed be rare.
So what I see here is the referee signaling for a goal kick after consulting with the AR. The goalkeeper thinks it is offside from all the kerfufle with the AR and just puts the ball down for the IDFK
It reminds me of an incident in a Scottish game where the referee had second thoughts on a penalty and consulted with his AR. The AR consultation was used to allow the referee to change his mind as it would have looked highly questionable for a change of mind without that.
Anyway bottom line is the penalty kick decision was overturned and I suspect some loss of marks for whatever the reason explained to the match observer.
It has not been a good few days for refereeing in the FIFA WC play off matches with so much at stake.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
your video would not work for me I got a ten minute recap off you tube.
For certain there was NO offside although for bit perhaps it looked like it was once the late defender had moved on up. I think there was a possible discussion about the keeper contacting the head of the attacker after the header? I thought the CR signaled a Goal kick, as it seemed like the most reasonable restart as he moved off? The field was in tough shape but overall I liked the referee's demeanour what I saw on the ten minutes . Although I would like to watch the game in its entirety to evaluate the ARs over all performance. I thought it amusing the referee tried to tell the Honduras players to back off so they CR/AR could have a private conversation. I thought the teams played to a zero zero draw all on their own.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
i watched the game and I still have no idea. Initially the commentators believed that offside had been called. Social media afterwards suggested it was a goal kick - but the location of the restart tells us it wasn't that (it was taken outside the goal area). If the ball had crossed the line before the foul, it can only be a goal kick. This didn't happen, so the only way it could be a goal kick is if the referee changed his mind (and the whistle didn't go while the ball was in play) - but that still raises the question - why did the AR flag?

Overall, this particular AR offered a very poor performance this game. He frequently flagged offside for attackers who got nowhere near the ball and/or flagged much, much earlier than he should. I'm actually stunned that an AR at this level was making such rookie mistakes - although the concern is that he did it so often that these were errors due to a lapse of concentration, but that this AR simply didn't appear to understand the current offside law and was still applying it as it was some 15 years ago.

The reason that's relevant, is that if you consider this decision in the context of the AR's overall performance, then it's not surprising he got this one so wrong. At first I actually thought he may have flagged for the closest attacker (who had nothing to do with play), but it's possible he may have flagged the attacker who got the head on the ball. Either way, neither attacker was even close to offside, but that's my best guess.

Personally, I don't think it was a penalty - I think the referee got out of jail on this one.
I can't help but wonder if, in the conversation, the AR relayed incorrect information or the referee realised his error and decided to go with the lesser of 2 evils!

I know it's frustrating to have such a critical decision overturned - but had the referee not initially awarded a penalty here and simply went with an uncontroversial goal kick, I am absolutely certain neither yourself nor anybody else would even remember this challenge.

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