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Question Number: 33017

Other 1/28/2019

RE: Rec Under 10

Winston Mohammed of London, London UK asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33016


Thanks again for the replies, wonderfully helpful.

Amazingly I still have people at our club debating this.

Can you just confirm, beyond all doubt, that it is absolutely feasible for two referees to come to different conclusions regarding the same incident.

For example, with the Salah incident, its possible that one referee interpreted that as a foul but another did not, and neither are actually wrong?

Really appreciate your help!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Winston
Without getting too philosophical who s the judge of *wrong*?
Just finished watching a game on TV where I saw the most obvious penalty call not given by a referee who was stood some 10/12 yards away from the foul. For the life of me I could not see what he saw that made him decide to not award a penalty kick.
Was he *wrong*? I would like to hear his explanation to the match observer as to what he saw that made him not award the penalty kick. In his mind he was not *wrong* and I believe he made the decision in good faith. Did he convince himself that the defender slipped and from his lying position could not avoid tripping his opponent so it was maybe unintentional? I do not know. Did he gave a brain freeze? In my opinion he was wrong to not award the penalty kick yet he did not think so.
In the Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday game Referee Andre Marriner awarded SW a penalty in the FA Cup fourth-round tie before the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) correctly overturned the decision after replays showed that the Chelsea player Ampadu had, in fact, won the ball first. On the same incident another referee in Referee Mariners position might not have awarded the penalty. VAR proved what was the correct decision yet that technology is only available to a select few games. Referee gave what he thought was correct in good faith from what he saw and he subsequently with his change of mind said he was *wrong*.
In my game yesterday there was a penalty call which I did not give as I did not think it was a foul. The player subsequently said that the contact took his boot slightly off as the defender stood on his heel. I did not see that and had I done so I would have awarded a penalty. I told the player so and in good faith I gave what I saw (did not see) which resulted in play continuing. I have an inkling in hindsight that the player was being truthful in the boot story yet the call opportunity had passed. Another referee may have *seen* the foot contact and awarded the penalty. Personally I would not interpret my decision as *wrong* just not having all the facts to make the correct decision at the time much like Referee Mariner. Another referee could have seen the key factors which would allow him to make the correct decision which then makes my decision *wrong*. It does not work like that though at least without VAR which is only available for a limited amount of high level games. I asked a referee colleague after the game about the incident and he said that he did see it as a penalty.
There is a saying that the referee is always right and the right decision is to believe that. Even if the referee is wrong the game requires that the decision is respected. It cannot be any other way. I have refereed for a long time and I never once knowingly made a wrong decision. My integrity is very important to me so I protect it strongly. I have like every referee have made mistakes that were pointed out to me afterwards by impartial third parties who said that I missed something which caused me to make the *wrong* decision. My referee colleague at the weekend also told me that I missed a caution for an incident off the ball. I spoke to the player, did not caution him which was the *wrong* decision for what I now know happened. I did not see the incident so to me I made the right decision.
To me once I make what is in my mind and view was the right decision at the time is all that matters. Others can and do have a different opinion.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Winston,
As ref McHugh says, it's a somewhat philosophical question as to what constitutes 'right' or 'wrong,' in terms of decisions made under the laws of the game.

The Laws themselves use the phrase that:

''The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play [...] are final.''

Now, does saying the ref's decision is final mean the same as saying the referee is always right? It's a debatable point.

I think the way I might phrase it is that two referees could indeed see the same incident, come to a different conclusion and neither would be technically incorrect.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Winston,
short answer is YES!

A referee with integrity calls what they see based on what they know. Some see better than others, others know more than others. I often reflect that a referee is a playing condition the players need to adapt too. Much like the pitch condition or the weather. It gets slippery & soft when wet and fast & hard when its dry. You get cold in freezing rain and you sweat buckets in the hot days of summer but you adapt and play.

When I use the phrase, 'Your match your decision your reputation!' it is in essence how you are held accountable for your actions on the pitch.

A referee has three stages of respect , first is their self respect, as my colleagues note our integrity is very important to us. We strive not to allow our decisions to be influenced by what others want. We do listen to what is said, for it is not to say we are perfect, but we also reflect the who, how, what, why, where of it in totality. Whether or not we gain notoriety or a solid reputation this remains our guiding light!

The 2nd stage of respect is the POSITION of a referee itself, which demands respect but it is a conditional one based a great deal on the circumstances, work effort , and the character of the referee themselves!

Where the 3rd stage of respect is by those watching & playing who can see by the EFFORT , ABILITIES, ATTITUDE , PRESENCE, in effect the actual character of the individual refereeing is a myopia of small details and critical thinking under pressure interacting with those on & off the pitch. This is where the reputation is born.

I often point out that a match is viewed or perceived much differently by those who have a vested interest in the outcome versus a neutral official trying to apply the LOTG & not stifle the creativity, spirit and fun of a game! At World cup level the pressure is intense due to the nationalist fever that grips the world in a passionate and often very volatile embrace. Yet no doubt we have all watched FUN games at the local soccer venue go off the rails at the bombastic and idiotic rantings of those unable to agree to disagree.

A spectator sees what they THINK they see!
A parent or coach see what they WANT to see!
A player sees what he Feels!
A referee (with integrity) sees what he sees

There is a school of thought the national tendencies of certain countries to evaluate fouls are often conditional to how they play. One being more technical the other perhaps more direct or physical. Yet in watching international matches I think the playing fields are perhaps evening out in that score? The LOTG are evolving and technology being introduced to fix certain injustices have in themselves proven to be fallible. Perfection is a never going to be achieved only a balance of justice where the scales are weighed reasonably equally albeit not exactly. As my mentor & friend Esse found out making the correct call is not always seen as the correct call unless a camera shows it to be so. The PK he awarded in the last minutes of a 1998 WC qualifier showed just how the WORLD sits in judgement and not in a FAIR or JUST way!

Many of the LOTG are subjective which is WHY one referee will see an incident differently than another.

I have seen many a quality slide tackle called a trip and many a trip given free passage as a decent slide tackle.

I have seen deliberate handling awarded as a PK when in my opinion not a chance in hell was it a foul. I have seen clear blatant handling missed through not being seen as opposed to not being recognized.

If I understand you correctly that is what you are on about. That IF two referees have exactly the same view of exactly the same criteria with exactly the same knowledge & resources to draw on HOW can they arrive at different decision?

It might be the match itself?

A well played fair match and in the very last minute an orangy foul occurs where red is a consideration you go yellow wheres as the other match was a brutal affair to begin with & that same player/tackle gets shown a red card & sent off

It might be the offside interference in this match as just sufficient given the pace of the players involved & how close the transition was .

Same for DOGSO. A very fast player is in on goal whereas a slightly slower player maybe easily caught up before recovering the ball .

On a shot at goal perhaps the ball had swerve on it and was always going wide. Even though it was caught in the PA by a defending player . He goes off where the other guy in he next field gets to stay.

You go to shoot you, draw back your foot & I tap your ankle, slight nudge in the back slight pull not all fouls are dramatic sweeping thunderous tackles.

There is the gut check where if it has a taint or smell to it one referee will say that is enough whereas another maybe thinking in a more tolerate environment the players are expecting th foul to be called or equally not expecting the foul to be called.

He got the ball first but given THAT action of the leg in the follow up trip prevents the recovery thus one referee sees it as a foul, believing there was always
a trip on the player where another referee sees a legitimate tackle and the stopped player showed to much of the ball thus play on.
It why the LOTG read the decision of the referee is final SIMPLY because the game could not go ahead.

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