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October 2016
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Refs not knowing the change about offside decisions? That makes the PL a pub league.

By Walter Broeckx

The PL is a few days underway and we have seen again a few strange decisions.

We have seen the usual anti-Arsenal decisions in our two matches. In a way they did cost us as the opening goal from West Ham was a gift from the ref by donating them a free kick that shouldn’t have been given. But by gifting them a second goal ourselves this went a bit under the radar of course.

But we have seen, or at least most of us have seen it by now, the goal from Liverpool that was given. A goal that shouldn’t have been given if only the representatives of the PGMO would have known the new instructions.

Now on August 6th, 2015 I wrote an article about the new instructions. And in fact the instructions aren’t that new at all. It is more a clarification on how to interpret the laws about offside correct.  You can find that complete article about these instructions here.

I just take from that article the main thing that was involved in the action at Liverpool.

“Clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent

In the first guidance there are 3 things that should be judged by the assistants (in a split second). Did the player in an offside position attempt to play the ball, was that ball close to him and did it impact an opponent?

The guidance is saying that all the 3 things should be answered with a yes and then the flag has to be raised by the assistant and an offside decision has to be given against the attacker.

If one of the elements is answered with a no then there is no punishable offside decision.”

Now if you look at the video of this goal we can look at the 3 things the assistant or the ref should check.

1. Clearly attempts to play a ball: No doubt about that as he jumps up and tries to make contact with the ball. So a definite: YES.

2. A ball which is close to him: He only missed the ball by half a foot so you can say the ball was close to him. So a definite: YES.

3. When this actions impacts on an opponent: and now you have to look at the opponent. The opponent that was impacted was of course the goalkeeper. And if you look at the video you clearly see that the goalkeeper’s reaction to the possible contact by Coutinho. He changes his hands in an attempt to stop a possible shot from Coutinho. So again a definite: YES.

As I said before if one of the answers would have been a no then there would be no offside from Coutinho. If by some stupid coincidence the Bournemouth goalkeeper had been lying on the floor meters away from the incident and not reacting to what was happening on the pitch you could say that the action of Coutinho had no impact on an opponent.  The same could be said if he had been somewhere in front of his right hand goal post and had already missed the cross. Then the action of Coutinho wouldn’t have mattered at all.

But now a blind man in a hurry could see that the keeper was reacting to the action of Coutinho. So it was a punishable offside decision.

Now as I said in my earlier article the laws haven’t really changed, the IFAB has just given some more and detailed information on when and how to judge the offside decisions. One could say they made it easier for the assistants and ref to know when to react.

As Tony pointed out in his article earlier today the media came up with some excuses. As Tony put it: “The PGMO-supporting press who are forever anxious to nip any suggestion that the running of the game’s refereeing is anything but perfect are already out in force making the excuse that “Referees were only informed of the worldwide amendment a month ago, giving them little time to absorb a highly-nuanced change.”

Now when I read that then I fell of my chair. We are talking here about the referees and assistants of the PGMO. The PGMO who’s job it is to educate the referees and assistants. And who has professional referees in their books. How on earth can they not have had enough time to educate their referees and assistants about these new instructions?

This is so ridiculous that I either could start laughing about it or…start crying. Or maybe both at the same time in fact.

This isn’t some pub league referee organisation where the laws are explained on a small post-it note in the pub. NO, we are talking about professionals who have nothing else to do but to keep themselves fit and up to date with the laws of the games and the instructions. And they are reasonably well paid to just do this. Even though I admit compared to footballers they are just poor souls….

IF the assistant wasn’t aware of the new instructions then there is only one organisation to blame: the PGMO. It is their god-dam  job to make sure that referees and assistants who are sent to matches in the PL are aware and are thought and instructed about the changes.

IF the assistant knew the laws then the PGMO should act and see that he is better trained and educated before sending him back out again. The PGMO sends him out again this weekend so they make no big deal about it apparently.

IF the assistant knew about the change but didn’t dare to put his flag up because of fear for the crowd or whatever else he might have feared then there is something very rotten in the state of football. I don’t even want to suggest the other option as to why he didn’t put up his flag… but it is a word that starts with a b and ends with an s and has an i and an a in between.  But not completely impossible…

However as usual the silence (up to now) from the PGMO and the lame excuses are reflecting very bad on the PGMO and on Mike Riley. I can’t wait for the day he comes up with their new glorious statistics about 99% correct decisions….  Yes, we could have a laugh then if only it wouldn’t be so sad….


Two more anniversaries from the daily selection

19 August 1995: Dennis Bergkamp’s first match for Arsenal.  Arsenal 1 Middlesbrough 1.  He played 33 league games in this first season with the club, scoring 11 goals

19 August 2000: Arsenal started their season at Sunderland with a 0-1 defeat.  Arsène Wenger was accused of violent and threatening behaviour towards the fourth official in a case that rumbled on and on for months to come.

@UntoldArsenal on Twitter.




18 comments to Refs not knowing the change about offside decisions? That makes the PL a pub league.

  • TailGunner

    I thought it was significant that the media in general were solid in the condemnation of this goal. The Mail even went close to libelling Pawson by saying he “stiffed Bounemouth” .
    So perhaps there’s a bit of a sea change taking place and we may see someone even taking up the baton ( as they attempted with diving ) and regularly highlighting these inconsistencies that cause so much controversy.

  • ola

    Nice write up but my question to u is that is it only arsenal the referees are been biased too becos u came up with the west ham match that someow there wia some calls that went against arsenal. can u prove it that no biased call av gone arsenal way this season… I just wan u to know that no1 is perfect and if u are given whistle too, u cant refer the match without some fans of a team that wil complain…. Keep the good work going

  • laos gooner

    I can only agree that questions must be asked of the PGMO. I was able to instruct my players about this rule change and was greeted by multiple requests to clarify why this goal was allowed to stand by them yesterday. My personal opinion is that if my players, of multiple languages and nationalities can ingest and understand such a rule change in a matter of days then we must look closer at the incompetence or match fixing theories as an explaination for what happened on Monday night. This agenda will dissappear completely once the video ref is up and running, which the PGMO is so actively promoting right now. Sorry just could not resist the sarcasm there so I shall leave you all quietly chuckling to myself.

  • rolf

    “As Tony pointed out in his article earlier today the media came up with some excuses. As Tony put it: “The PGMO-supporting press who are forever anxious to nip any suggestion that the running of the game’s refereeing is anything but perfect are already out in force making the excuse that “Referees were only informed of the worldwide amendment a month ago, giving them little time to absorb a highly-nuanced change.”

    Walter, do you believe everything that Tony says?
    This was cut & pasted directly from yesterday’s Telegraph ( with no acknowledgement by the way ) so is hardly the press being “out in force”, unless you consider one solitary newspaper as representative of its peers.

  • finsbury

    There is no rational or reasonable explanation that can be given to explain the IFAB obstruction of aid for the officals in Ass.Football. Not one. You are welcome to try, but you can not succeed.

    For context in cricket we are approaching the twenty year mark since the much respected officials received the aid in order to stop the gibberish and the cheating (if course) and only reinforced the respect of the officals.

    That is why the efforts above to protect this discredited organisation the PGMOB come across as insincere, snide and hopelessly lame.

    Nothing new there then. Same old same old old turds.

  • Ola We have examined hundreds and hundreds of matches including matches not involving Arsenal, with the reviews done by referees, some of whom support Arsenal some not. The web site Referee Decisions has been part of this.

    The results which you can find on Untold show a bias against Arsenal.

    The other point to consider is that PGMO acts in a way that makes match fixing easier rather than more difficult. It restricts the number of refs, it is utterly secretive about its own analysis of refs, it puts out statistics of ref accuracy that are frankly ludicrous be it an Arsenal match or any other etc and they oppose video refs. They could open up and have real discussions with ourselves and others, and the football public in general, but they don’t.

  • Vintage Gooner

    Thanks again Walter for yet another definitive post. The thing I would like to emphasize is as you say this is not a change in the law but a clarification of the existing law to enable easier and more correct interpretation on the field of play. This makes the attempts at excuses even more feeble.

    On the cricketing analogy I confess that having watched some of the ashes coverage this year I have found the clarification not only valuable in terms of ascertaining the correct decision has been made but also highly informative and educational with regard to the somewhat arcane rules particularly regarding LBW decisions.

    So we might hope that similar use of technology to ensure correct decisions in football would ensure watching fans, players and eventually even referees knew the laws and the correct application of them.

  • Al

    Why does the English media feel it necessary to defend the pgmob? Especially if it involves offering lame excuses such as the above? This is an absolute disgrace.

  • Mandy Dodd

    In a way, it is good that this latest piece of PGMOL incompetence/bias/bowing to the crowd/match fixing occurred against the plucky underdogs of Bournemouth, meaning at least there was a media reaction, if it had been against us, little would have been mentioned about the officials, just the standard anti Wenger/ozil/arsenal bollox that poor results lead to.
    If there is an agenda to help this northwest giant though, they need to be careful, in doing so, they just might damage another one come seasons end. Utd look shaky to me, and it seems Pedro as well.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Good question Al, either they believe the PGMOL is doing its best, or they are part of the same agenda……follow the money!
    One might argue that some individual refs are doing their best, but it is very hard to argue that of their organisation.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Liverpool have a plan for us according to Sky Sports

    Wonder if hoping for yet more sympathetic officials is part of that plan?

  • goonersince72

    Thanks for some sanity. This situation, as any with the (Un)PGMO, is a f**king joke. And Mandy Dodd, glad you posted the Sky link, I raced to see the ref assignments after I read that. Is that attitude tolerated in any of the other top-flight leagues? We know the answer.

  • Mandy Dodd

    No worries Gooner72. Think we have Oliver for the Liverpool game, tho stand to be corrected. He actually put in a strong performance when we played up at Utd in the FA Cup last year, not tolerating the usual shenanigans we usually get up there…..or at least he was that way in the second half. But Liverpool worry me, not because they are better than us, they are not, but they have a horrendous run of fixtures coming up, are clearly a media darling, and seem to me at least, to get a lot of overall favourable treatment from officials . A couple years ago springs to mind, they got a penalty virtually every time Suarez or Gerrard went down, thirteen pens in that league season, that is a lot of pens for one team. That year was surely set up for them, making our league look better Ito give the appearance not only Oilers and Utd win the league…..but then….Gerrard…Rogers….Palace, and the rest is history!
    I would imagine there are those with vested interests, and protectors of the brand who at least require Liverpool and Utd up there fighting, and if they can give us a bloody nose, so much the better, but we shall see come Monday!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    What bothers me the most about this is Rodgers comment that the new rule was confusing…what bollocks. I should hope, though probably in vain, that a manager should be able to comment without prevarication on this matter. This isn’t a case of defending your own player…it’s a case of seeing that Liverpool was extremely lucky that it wasn’t called offside. Why couldn’t Rodgers just say that?

  • nicky

    @Vintage Gooner,
    You are quite right of course.
    I would like to see the assistance of greater technology in order to obtain correct decisions in football.
    Unfortunately, up to now , it would extend the playing time beyond an acceptable level.
    In the interim,Perhaps (say) 3 reviews per team would be permitted.

  • BNG

    if offside was removed totally from football it would stop 90% of problems……..just a thought

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Why not just have offsides only from the 18 yard line or in the final quarter and incorporate the use of video technology of a grid or mesh pattern of heat/ movement sensory electronic but invisible rays that detects it. Something along the lines of selective sensory security alarms.
    Maybe akin to that technology being used in photo finishes in athletics and horse racing ,aided by the eagle eye used in tennis , badminton , field hockey and cricket.
    It still would need to have a 4th referee or arbitrator for the final say and confirmation .

  • @Walter, what about mike deans horror movie when (Darmian) caught, in fact was struggling was it amavi or gueye in front of Dean.
    I waited for any comment or replay by the so called penalists and nobody talked about it,i was watching on Bein Sport and now they talk about coquelin! Which was worse:??