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.