By Tony Attwood
Ten years ago we knew where we were. Refs made mistakes, but it didn’t matter because it all evened out in the end.
Five years ago we knew that referees made mistakes and it most certainly didn’t even out in the end – but no one would talk about it, except us.
Six months ago we knew that referees made mistakes, they didn’t even out in the end, and people were starting to talk about it.
Today we know that if a referee makes a mistake and changes his/her mind having seen a replay then the referee is punished.
But if a referee makes a mistake and doesn’t change his/her mind then the match (or at least a bit of it) has to be played again.
And in this case it is the final 18 seconds. Because it is the final 18 seconds of England Women’s U19 European Championships qualifier against Norway will be replayed after a refereeing mistake.
The match will resume with England retaking a penalty in the 96th minute at 2-1 down following an appeal by the FA. The referee had refused to order a retake of the penalty after encroachment by players.
Law 14 says that if an attacking player encroaches and there is a goal the penalty is retaken. If there is no goal the defending team gets an indirect free-kick.
If the defending player encroaches and there is a goal, the goal stands. If the penalty is missed it is taken again.
So when England midfielder Leah Williamson took a penalty and “scored” but with one of her fellows encroaching, the penalty should have been retaken. But the ref got it wrong and ordered an indirect free kick to Norway.
So what this means is that if the ref applies rule wrongly the side that suffers can appeal. The ref has gone home in disgrace.
Both England and Norway have been ordered to use the same 11 players although as per the rules a different person can take the penalty.
Maybe this has happened before – Walter can perhaps let us know.
Meanwhile an Argentine referee has got into trouble by changing his mind about a penalty award after (according to reports) one of his assistants saw a replay of the events leading up to the penalty on a TV monitor, and told the ref.
And the events involved Arsenal – although that is to say, Arsenal Fútbol Club, usually called Arsenal de Sarandí from Buenos Aires.
The referee, German Delfino, said that Arsenal’s Daniel Valencia prevented a goalscoring opportunity by handling the ball in the area. He was sent off and the opponents, Vélez, were awarded a penalty. The replays showed it was instead the Vélez striker Mariano Pavone who handled the ball, not the Arsenal man.
The referee, having awarded the penalty and dismissed the player wrongly, changed his mind and called Valencia back to rejoin his team on the pitch.
So now, Mr Delfino, who one might have thought would be commended for being courageous, has been suspended for one match for failing to control the game. After that he will be relegated to the lower leagues. The fact that Mr Delfino has denied the issue of seeing the replays has been dismissed also, and he is found guilty through the usual Fifa rule of “because we say so”.
But that wasn’t all of it, because Valencia was sent off again during extra time after receiving a second yellow card for a professional foul, thus becoming the first player to be sent off twice during the same game in the Argentinian league.
On this day
9 April 1904: Arsenal and Preston NE battled it out for top spot in the league in front of 28,000. It was the final game for Tommy Shanks who rather than lead Arsenal into the first division returned to failing Southern League team Brentford.