“Making the Arsenal” – the book of Arsenal’s decline and rebirth
By Walter Broeckx
In this article I am thinking about the not given goal from Bolton against Chelsea when the ball clearly passed the line but nothing was given. And the not given goal in the top match in Belgium between Anderlecht and Standard Liège when the ball also clearly crossed the line but no goal was given. Just take a look at the picture of this second incident.
Just two examples of two important games in which the ball crossed the line and no goal was given. In Belgium the top ref who did the game and was confronted with the not given goal after the game was disgusted by the mistake from him and the assistant.
And he also said as it happened at 1-0 in the first half that during the half time break they got the news about the mistake they made. And how it gives the ref and the assistant a bad feeling. So such mistakes do have an influence on the ref and the assistants. And so it could change their mindset and make them doubtful about their decisions. And a ref who has doubts during a game is a bad ref.
So we must try to avoid such thing. And then again I can only come up with the question: why on earth don’t they use the images so the 4th official can stop the game and let the ref on the field know that the ball had crossed the line and that a goal will be given? The ref in Belgium, who is also a Fifa ref, also said after the game that in such cases they should be able to use video evidence to avoid such mistakes. So just like a top ref in Holland last season, now a top ref in Belgium is asking and begging the authorities to give them help in such situations.
So the top refs don’t have anything against the use of video images to decide goal line incidents. It is clearly the authorities in Fifa, Uefa and the national football federations who are holding back. And one of the reasons they use is that it would/could change football too much from the way it has been played and the way the refs have done the games all the time.
But now wait a minute… didn’t Fifa and Uefa change things the last seasons? Putting 2 extra refs on the goal line isn’t that also revolutionary? 10 years ago it would have been impossible to even imagine it and now we are used to it in the Champions League. So in a way this also is very revolutionary. As would the use of video evidence be to decide the ball crossing the goal line or not.
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But please, authorities. do something about it because now teams get robbed of valid goals. And in both games I mentioned the final outcome would not have changed. Instead of losing 1-5 to Chelsea it would have been a loss of 2-5 for Bolton. And Anderlecht would have won not by 5-0 but by 6-0 as they trashed their rivals in the second half.
BUT that not given goal could be the difference between heaven and hell at the end of the season. It has happened enough in football that a title, a relegation or promotion has been decided on goal difference. Even Arsenal once won a title on goal difference and even with the numbers going behind the comma. So it does matter a lot if all the goals are given correct. It could be the difference between going down or staying up. Not that I really do care a lot if Bolton were to go down on goal difference but my sense for justice tells me that it would not be correct if it would happen that way.
So the solution to put extra refs on the field invented by Fifa: does it help? Does it make a difference? Well in both cases an extra ref could have been helpful. But in both the incidents the assistant was almost level with the goal line so should have seen it himself. Was he afraid to make the call? Was he unsighted by someone? Who knows but this also is an argument to use video evidence to make sure.
Those extra refs on the goal line apart from looking if the ball crossed the line or not have also the possibility to tell the ref that a foul has been made in the penalty area. But do they signal such things? Well I cannot remember really any penalty given by the 5th/6th official in the last season. So are they also afraid to act?
Another thing that struck me is the fact that since this season the 5th/6th official are placed on the other side of the goal. The 3 ref system was that the ref runs a diagonal line and the assistants cover the other side of the field. Like in this picture below. The red line is the diagonal from the ref and the blue line is the area the assistant covers
And with the refs positioned like last season they all cover this side of the field as you can see in the picture below. The black line is the area the extra ref covers
The lines are not straight and this is because there is not really a line where the influence of this ref behind the goal stops. But as you can see the whole field is very much covered by the 5 refs around the field.
But with the new position of the refs you get more this situation as is pointed out in the next image
And now you see that the 5th/6th ref and the assistant are covering the same space. And that the ref has a bigger part of the field to cover. In fact for the ref this is back to the days before they had the extra assistant behind the goal. So he has to run deeper again and this will make him more tired and a tired ref is making mistakes.
Another thing is that in fact now it could happen that the 5th ref could step on the goal line to try to see something and by doing this could block the view of the assistant who could be trying to see the same thing (a ball crossing the goal line) from his position. So now not only the players could be blocking the view of the assistant but also the extra ref could block the view of the assistant.
And as we have seen with the handball from the Marseille player last Wednesday if the extra ref would have been in his old position he should have had a clear view on the handball and if he would have been a man he would have signaled it. Now he was standing behind the incident looking to a crowded penalty area and couldn’t see it.
So even when Fifa, Uefa try to do something or at least give the impression they try to do something they are doing it in such a way that they could better leave it like that and go back to the one ref and two assistants. It would make no difference any more.
But the most important thing for Fifa and Uefa is in fact by putting those extra (useless) persons over there is to give the impression they care about it and try to do something about it. And by giving that impression they try to block off a real progress that could be made by something that many top refs ask and hope for: the use of video evidence to help them and prevent them feeling stupid when they could not see a ball crossing the goal line or not.That is of course for those refs who want to do their games like it should be done.