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July 2021

Riley talks bollocks. When will football authorities take action?

By Walter Broeckx

This past weekend saw again another debatable/hilarious/angry making decision from a referee. A decision that helped Manchester City to the top of the league table. So of course a decision we do not like to see.

Now on to the decision itself: it was the wrong decision. The laws have changed a bit on how to interpretation has to be on when a player is becoming active when being in an offside position. When he touches the ball it is obvious that he is offside and should be penalised. When a player attacks the ball (going towards the ball) he also becomes active. And when he attacks an opponent he also becomes active and should be called back.

In this incident you could see that all Newcastle players tried to get out of the way. The Newcastle attacker closest to the goal was doing all he could to avoid contact. So he was clearly showing his intent to not become active at all. He also didn’t attack the keeper, in fact he ran away from the keeper.

So if we look at the criteria and the laws of the game and the instruction we can say that he was in an offside position but not active. And thus the goal should have stood.

Now as this was not the first time that Manchester City got lucky with offside calls (we all remember the wrong offside decisions in their favour when they played Arsenal all too well) it seems as if the officials and also the assistants are hesitant when it comes to Manchester City and the offside rule.

From the moment that players from other teams are level the flag goes up and it stays down when Manchester City players are attacking the other goal.

Do we remember the outrageous claim from Mike Riley about 99% of offside calls being correct in the PL? We do. And from our study over 2 seasons we can only come to the conclusion that Mike Riley was drunk, high or misinformed by the people who gave him the numbers. But then he should have known that he was talking bollocks. Because the simplest of studies show that his numbers are wrong.

In the study Untold did over the last two seasons we could only check around 25% of the decision. And so the other 75% were presumed to be correct, simply because we couldn’t prove that they were wrong.

So we gave 75% of the decisions as correct and then from the 25% we could check we could add another 15% that we could see were correct, to make it a total of 90% correct offside decisions.

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Now as you see that from the 25% we could check (because the TV cameras made it possible) we had 10% wrong decisions.  And so you could ask yourself how many of the 75% we couldn’t check were also wrong? If we take it that there was another 10% of those decisions wrong we would end up with a correct offside decisions score of only 80%. A big difference between 99% and 80%.

And even if we don’t want to doubt those 75% un-checkable decisions we still have only a score of 90 compare to the imaginary 99% of Mike Riley. This looks a bit like the results of the presidential elections in the former USSR and other communist countries some 30-40 years ago. One candidate getting the score of 99% of the votes was the rule.

Maybe Riley is dreaming, or maybe he is an unreformed Marxist Leninist and has taken upon himself the right to use such numbers.

Whatever his count maybe for this season I have a clear idea of where he can stick the 99% score.  However decency and decorum forbid me from saying where that place might be.

But what this incident has shown more than ever is how video assistance could have prevented such mistakes. Now I didn’t see the Newcastle match live as I was at a local football match but I can imagine that the game was stopped for at least a minute. First of all because of the celebrating Newcastle players, than the consulting of his assistant and then having to face the Newcastle players anger. I can imagine that it took at least a minute before a ball was kicked again.

But all it took me was five seconds to see that the players from Newcastle we were in offside positions were not active and not challenging the ball or an opponent. It took me five seconds to do this. And it would have taken the ref also just five seconds to see it. Compare five seconds time to losing over a minute with people complaining and arguing. And then they say that allowing video evidence would slow down the game?

I am sure it wouldn’t slow down the game at all. And it would add even a bit more drama to the game. We would get better and more correct decisions on the field. We might even get to the holy 99% score Riley claims in the end.

The only thing that would change would be that refs cannot get away with big mistakes as happened with this one. And so the chance of a ref trying to influence the outcome of a game would be reduced. Now I am not saying that ref Jones did this but if he could have checked the decision and still would have disallowed the valid goal you could be sure that he was trying to influence the outcome. If he would have checked the decision and given the goal he could be seen as a person who is integer and correct.

But now…was he tilting the game in favour of another Manchester club? The shadow of doubt is hanging over him now. It could have been avoided if only the football authorities would want to work on correct decisions in football. For the moment it looks as if they are not interested in this. One wonders why…

Arsenal anniversaries on 14 January…

The Anniversary Files…  (part of the AISA Arsenal History Society blog)

87 comments to Riley talks bollocks. When will football authorities take action?

  • Blue

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. He was interfering with play as Hart could not dive for the ball without fear of hitting the guy on the line, whether he moved or not. Seems you boys are getting worried and clutching at straws. Guess you can cry that the system is against you should City win the PL. There, there.

  • WalterBroeckx

    So blue are you a ref? assistant? Do you know the laws and the current interpretation? I am both and get each season the updated version on how to apply them.

    And your “guy on the line” was not on the line at all. And you call me a liar?

    You can always show me your own statistics about correct offside calls. You could start with the Man City offside decisions…

    In fact Hart couldn’t see the ball coming as he was unsighted by at least 3 City players who obstructed his view

  • WalterBroeckx

    Make that 5 City players blocking his view

    And in the link you can find a few other things about how the laws should be applied

  • Andy

    City fan here (here in peace I might add!).

    First things first – the goal for Newcastle should have stood. Although we won 2-0 so the only difference really was in the GD column.

    It is an interesting debate about active and inactive. My uncle (old school) is of the opinion that if you are on the pitch (let alone in the 6 yard box) then you are active. I suppose it is a question of ‘what is active?’

    Looking at it – Hart didn’t dive for that ball. Was it because he wasn’t sure if Gouffran would get a touch? It all happens in a split second so it’s difficult for the keeper to think “he’s offside so can’t touch the ball therefore I can dive and not worry about him”. Even by trying not to interfere you could say that he influenced Hart’s decision on whether to dive for the ball. Of course, I’m not saying Hart would have got to the ball and saved it.

    I suppose I am trying to rationalise what the referee was thinking. Based on the ref being dropped for the Premier League for a while (as well as my own understanding of the laws of the game) I would still say the goal should really have stood.

    As fans of every club will say – we don’t get THAT many decisions like this go our way so we will take them when we can.

  • city had a goal ruled out on the first day of season against Newcastle so what they say ” things even out ” say no more

  • AL

    Walter, know you mean well but perhaps you shouldn’t have dignified blue’s ridiculous post with a response. When has a keeper ever shied out of making a save coz he was afraid of knocking an opposing player over, sheer lunacy.

  • hart you say, cant dive in fear of hitting the guy on the line – the guy to his left when the ball was coming from the right – well buy a keeper who is not coward, let him go for the ball and then let the ref give it a foul – if he hits the opposition player. Anyway if the ball is coming from the right and hart was looking to his left, its more hart’s fault for the goal for not seeing in the direction of the play.

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Walter. Something has certainly changed regarding ref decisions this year, with the Oilers, Chel$ki and Spurs seeming to benefit – but especially the Oilers. Some of the decisions have been so blatant that Riley should be forced to publically explain the bias/incompetence of the “select 16”.

    From the outside it does look as having “assisted” the achievement of Red Nose XX last year and following the retirement of Red Nose the favoritism has changed to the Oilers this season.

    Ideally, what we all want is no favoritism and fair play for all – but it does look as if some are always favored with others disfavored. Why Mr Riley?

  • I like this site and totally agree with you about replays in situations like this (where the game has already stopped). I’m not going to go into the decision itself (except to say that if he doesn’t move then the ball hits him and no goal. By moving he effectively created that goal and could therefore potentially be deemed to be active).

    However, following that decision, Jones first issued a flurry of cards then refused to penalise Newcastle players for second offences, particularly Cabaye, Tiote and Sissoko, even leaving out Yanga-Mbiwa’s assault on Nasri. So if Jones had played to the same rules that include the ones you’re quoting then Newcastle finish that game with no more than 9 men and City would presumably have won easily anyway. So he certainly didn’t help City in that respect. He more than evened it out in fact.

    Secondly, you say we benefit from offside calls but we’ve had five incidents this season where either good goals of ours have been incorrectly flagged (including v Newcastle at The Etihad) or opposition goals have been incorrectly allowed. The worst of those was at Villa, where their first goal, to bring it to 1-1, was clearly offside. If that had been called correctly, we would almost certainly have won the game. Plus at Sunderland, Bardsley clearly hauls Milner down in the seconds before he scored. That’s another point (at least) denied us. Some you win and some you lose.

  • Lim

    Man City and Chelsea have had outrageous decisions go their way this season, game changing decisions – look at Eto’o kick the ball out of the goalies bounce to equalise against Cardiff, or Ramires injury time penalty dive to equalise against Hull. Then you have City getting mullered by Newcastle but still going in 1-0, and of course the arsenal game that not only had 2 onside goals flagged offside, but also a blatant handball penalty not given.

    As for ‘Blue’ nice to hear Man city fans having a voice. They’ve been silent since the 70’s but now they’re buying their trophies they think they’re important. They’re not. They are the equivalent of a dosser winning the lottery and eating at The Ivy ordering the lobster. They get ingratiated, but never respected or considered anything else but a dosser.

  • AL

    “As fans of every club will say – we don’t get THAT many decisions like this go our way so we will take them when we can”

    Think this season alone you have had four decisions like that(two v Arsenal,one against pool, and this one), and don’t know what many means to you but to me it sounds like that’s a quite a lot….

  • tublu

    walt pretty sad effort here. maybe you’d like every decision checked with a video replay ? We’re not bleating about the fact that le-toon should have been down to 9 men and we would therefore have won 8-1 so we’ll take the marginal ‘goal’ decision with the same gallic shrug. btw pretty clear when you watch it that goufran was interfering with play because it’s quite clear to see hart react to his presence. You gooners ought to worry about keeping the wheels on your rickety wagon ( aren’t we coming up to the annual ‘wheels falling off period’ now ? )
    Watched last night and found the very nervous and slightly self-concious ‘we are top of the league’ chant very funny. enjoy it while it lasts and keep an eye on chelski

  • WalterBroeckx

    City fans should make up their mind. Does it even out or not? 😉

  • MO11

    Walter don’t know why your trying to debate with a guy called Blue, I mean you know who he prob supports. I take it no good Man City blogs to read thats why he comes here to get facts he can’t bear to accept.

    More than Riley’s 99% you know what gets me the most ‘it all balances itself out at the end of the season’

    Football Authorties are a joke.

  • Mike

    @ Blue – LMAO

    Hart did not dive as he knew he could not get near the ball (and had been unsighted by his own players). He was much further away from the “offside” player when the ball was struck and ended up close to the player as a result of meandering across his goal following the line of the ball. Any dive would have needed to have started when he was much further away from the Newcastle player (i.e. where he was standing when the ball was struck) if he were to have any chance of saving it. Irrespective of all that had Hart dived and collided with the Newcastle player he would have had to have dived forward and to his left since the player was in front of him. That would simply not have happened if he was attempting to save the ball since to dive forward would not have been logical or natural since to do so would have reduced the time in which he had to make the save.

    In any event, are you really saying that had the Newcastle player not been offside Hart wouldn’t have dived for fear of colliding with another player??? I clearly think Hart is a better player than you do!

    Notwithstanding the Blue attempt to divert Walter’s argument by such a blinkered proposition, the fact of the matter as I see it is that Walter’s underlying premise about it being simple to overcome such errors is absolutely correct. It could be avoided, of course, but this would then mean that the PGMOL would have to be more honest and accountable……………why on earth would they do that? It would mean being more fair and equitable to all teams……………that’s exactly what they don’t want! Oh Walter, how naive 🙂

  • Louis Lawler

    There is something seriously wrong with premier league match officials. Too many decisions are obviously wrong and the bad decisions are not evenly distributed. Your article higlights that the authorities are either complicit or complacent which is worrying as nothing is being done to improve football. In matter of fact it is actually the opposite happing, as football evolves and moves on refereeing is stagnating or at worst corrupt. As such the league table is either engineered or a rough approximation of what it should be. That aside, I dont think you should compare skewed statistics to Marxism or the philosphies of Lenin when you dont know what they are. The last thing football needs is more right wing propagandists otherwise keep up the good work.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting to hear from some City fans on here. That Tiote goal was a mistake from the ref, as was the Nasri tackle. They may well have been honest mistakes but after some of the decisions we got against us at City…and for that matter, the lack of decisions against Chelsea, maybe you can forgive us for wondering if there is something more than just honest mistakes going on here.
    Afterall, we dont want a scenario being created with the refs like we had with the other Manchester Club for so many years. I know half a season, or a few games with decisions in Citys…or Chelseas favour is a very long way from what Fergie has ruled the roost over for so long, but with the evidence this site has provided, we have to be a bit vigilant on such issues. Now Fergie has gone, if someone is going to be favoured in anything like the way he was, clubs with the most money would be a reasonable starting point to take a look at things, especially on what we have seen recently.
    I would love to believe all is clean in this league, but what we have seen with the Utd refs, and other things…well we just know it is not. Corruption can be systemic,favouring the richest and most powerful or it can be the result of the odd private individual with inside knowledge making a fast buck. Keeping the wealthiest happy would not be outside the bounds of possibility on a systemic, or maybe a more individual level

  • Super Singh

    The Premiership will be won by the team that PAYS the best? Sorry I meant the team that PLAYS best. Sorry I was thinking out loud.

  • Edward

    Arsenal fan here : The last Newcastle player is trying to get out of the way so the ball does not hit him … he is therefore interfering with play. Had he stood motionless, I would have condemned the ref, but the player moves. For me, if you have to move to avoid being off side, you interfere with play.

  • marcus

    Football Is Fixed makes some startling allegations:: I quote:

    Sunday, 5 January 2014

    Football Is Fecked
    It is worthy of remembrance that Football Is Fixed was launched on November 11th 2006.

    We have been exposing corruption in world football, with particular focus on the Premier League, for over seven years.
    We have published over 1250 posts in that time (the vast majority now archived).

    The first post ‘Manipulated Markets’ is reproduced in part below…
    … we wouldn’t alter one single word.

    “English Football is currently reeling from the impacts of the Stevens inquiry into the bung culture, the standard and ethics of referees and the revelation that Victor Chandler International allegedly took bets from some Premiership Managers and Players. The words “tip” and “iceberg” spring to mind.
    I have traded professionally on global football betting markets for the past 15 years. In my experience, all the brokers, market makers and bookmakers that I have traded with take bets from insiders in the game. It is regarded as buying information. Undoubtedly, some of this exchange of information borders on the corrupt. The recent betting scandal in Germany and the uproar in Italy’s Serie A show that this isn’t merely a British problem.
    Asian Market Makers regularly accept bets of greater than £1million without blinking (Gianluigi Buffon – the Juventus goalkeeper – was found with betting slips for several million euros in his possession during the Moggiopoli scandal). Inevitably, the liquidity of the Asian markets persuades some football people to enhance their earning capacities. To my knowledge, such individuals include players, managers, referees, bookmakers, agents and the criminal fringe. It isn’t just the Italian mafia centres of Napoli, Palermo and Reggio di Calabria that are actively involved in football markets!
    To date, all attempts to clean up the game have been peripheral. In Germany, some selective sweeping under the carpet and wrist slapping went on in response to the referee Robert Hoyzer admitting that he took money to alter football match outcomes. But, I believe that there are other match officials in the Bundesliga who were merely demoted or, indeed, allowed to continue to officiate. In Italy, in the aftermath of calciocaos, two referees were suspended but the other six who were under investigation are still involved in Serie A.
    Although there are many corrupt players, it is the match officials who are the key component of this crisis. Some have links to individual clubs, some to bookmakers and some to the underworld. There are also many honest people in the game who are just trying to do their jobs. However, until football cleans up its act, corruption will persist. Falling attendances in Italy and England are partially related to deficiencies in the sport on offer. Although the prawn sandwich brigade remain oblivious to anything, the true fans know when they are being short changed. The recent assertion by Graeme Souness that British football is “the most honest in Europe” is simply laughable.”

    We selected the name ‘Football Is Fixed’ in an act of strategic duality whereby the fact that football was/is fixed could be offset by it eventually being mended – so football would indeed become fixed!
    Foolish hope.

    We outlined in a recent post six areas that have to be addressed if football is to elevate itself above a version of horseracing with a ball and goalposts (
    The probability of even one area being addressed with integrity is remote!

    But, even if we were to live in a world where betting markets could be regulated to prevent match fixing, the rules to be put in place would be Swiss-cheesed with loopholes to enable the same corruptions to happen again.
    Over time, these loopholes would expand into newly available structures to enable future match fixing…
    … just like capitalism after the Depression.

    So, further attempts to rescue the game are now seen as futile.

    To commemorate this momentous state of affairs, we are renaming our Twitter feed FIXBALL IS FECKED.

    In the future, blog posts will become less frequent but still hard hitting.

    Our time ahead is to be taken up with the FIFAss – a closed-ended hedge fund which is being launched later this month and is already fully subscribed, a mobile phone App offering betting advices, information and support to be released in time for the World Cup, plus club consultancies outside of Britain as the English game is, in the words of Sir Bob Russell MP, “rotten to the core”…
    … listen up – not one bad apple but rotten to the core!

    In example, our primary Asian broker has provided us with details of the 17 largest bets placed on Premier League games this season…
    … 16 have won, one referee has been involved in 8 of the games and another in 6!






    © Football is Fixed 2006-2013

  • Guudmon

    Can u tel us the tackle on varmeline by toure &the 1 on nassri??Mr blue

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pretty hard hitting stuff Marcus. If he is correct, we might as well all give up on the game – I dont know a lot about the author, but the evidence we see all around tends to back him up

  • WalterBroeckx

    the instructions to the refs are that when a player makes it clear by his movement away from the ball that he is not to be called offside. You see that a lot when a player has gone towards the keeper who takes a long punt and the defender heading the ball back up field and the striker still jogging back. As long as he moves away from he ball he doesn’t get called offside. If he moves his body towards the ball then the flag is raised. In a way this is the same situation.

  • soglorious

    Walter, it is an offence to block the goal keeper from seeing the direction of the ball

  • Percy

    What the City contributors are wilfully ignoring is the knock-on effect of Jones’s incompetence. The subsequent poisonous atmosphere in the ground and behaviour of the Newcastle players are the consequence of the injustice Jones has dealt them. As are his later decisions based on the realisation that he has mucked up big time. We don’t know what would have happened, but it is natural to believe it might have been City overcommitting at the end and not Newcastle trying to get a point and conceding a second.
    What is really puzzling is the process that caused Jones to chalk this one off. It isn’t really a hard call. The lino doesn’t flag and Gouffran is clearly a couple of yards away from Hart in the horizontal plane and some way further up the pitch than the ‘keeper, away from the goal line. It’s not a blocked view and he has a minute plus to decide and a chat with his mate. It really is a very poor call. There must be some sort of panic that ensues and that suspends rational decision making. Call in the shrinks.
    Meanwhile, check the similarities on this image of a Tiote goal and Dowd’s call.The Barcode is standing right in front of Chesney. Mind you, what else would Dowd have given in that performance?

  • Mike T

    In your haste to jump on the bandwagon I think that you haven’t thought about what Riley said.

    In a game of football there are maybe dozens of times an Assistant Referee has to make a decision as to whether or not a player is offside. Most of the incidents are not recorded in any of your stats because its obvious that a player is no where near being offside but, the fact that the flag didn’t go up means it was a correct decision.

  • marcus

    Prozone study 12,000 ‘incidents’ per season = about 28 game

    So it sounds like included in their offside decisions are also a lot of onside decisions.

    That seems quite misleading really, but thus they massage and cook the stats.

  • marcus

    By extension, you could say there are 100 penalty ‘incidents’ per game, of which 99.5% are called correctly.

    But these incidents only have to be cases of both team’s players being in the penalty area, and have nothing to do with penalty calls, debatably given and not-given.

  • marcus


    Yes it is terminal I think, and the sooner people wake up and realize this, the better it will be for them.

    What people need to recognize is that Deal Or No Deal is a template for football. It’s the 23rd box that is all important, the focus of the game these days.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Amazing how after a few years MU fans coming out in defence of Riley we now see a lot of MC fans coming out lately in defence of Riley and the PGMOL. Forgetting all what they said just a few seasons ago. In fact the same what we at Untold said till last season.

    But when things seems to be going your way…you suddenly come up with things like: it evens out. Without evidence of course. Untold has produced evidence of the contrary for most teams in fact.

  • bob

    “Maybe Riley is dreaming, or maybe he is an unreformed Marxist Leninist and has taken upon himself the right to use such numbers.”
    Hello? Or maybe Micky R. knows and comes at the sound of KERCHING! That would be something out of say, Adam Smith or Rupert Murdoch. Or, for that matter, most of the medja.

  • bob

    Re-viewing Game 50 at OT reveals a textbook case in willful mass delusion. A Nuremburg rally. Literally. That herd-mentality has now become ManShitty’s way of life. The deep cynicism of seeing no evil when it benefits us – any of us – is the root problem. And the PGMob/F-Alls know this full well. It is their last line of defense. Until we stop being ruled by tribalism first, last and foremost, they will continue to divide and conquer the fans; and fans, in denial, can always accuse one another about being whingers and only caring about their own, no matter what the evidence to the contrary.

  • AL

    “For me, if you have to move to avoid being off side, you interfere with play.”

    Walter 5:01pm
    Thanks for your response to Edward. I’ve seen the above line being thrown around, as if the newcastle player should have remained still like a statue not to be deemed to be interfering with play. He was well within his rights to keep moving, so long as his movement was backwards, and not forwards towards the goal.

    But like you said, we see players who will have strayed offside come back so they can become active again, and in this case the newcastle player made a movement AWAY from the ball, and not towards the ball. How he can be accused of having interfered with play there. As long as his movement was away from the ball, and consequently away from goal, he did nothing wrong. He might as well have made that backwards movement from the goal line near the corner flag, it would be the same, and don’t think because he made the movement when he was a few inches from the ball makes any difference. If the ball had struck the post and rebounded back into play, and City players had rushed forward making him active again, he would have been entitled to attack that ball wouldn’t he.

  • AL

    “There is something seriously wrong with premier league match officials. Too many decisions are obviously wrong and the bad decisions are not evenly distributed. ”

    Its almost every game. This weekend I watched 4 matches live on Sky & BT and all had controversies;

    1. Utd v Swansea – Valencia was a couple of yards offside when cross was made, and he ended up scoring the goal

    2. Liverpool v Stoke – Sterling blocked a clearance with a raised arm and charged into the box, then tumbled fom minimal contact to win a ‘spanish type penalty’ (according to Rodgers.

    3. Newcastle v City – (read the above article)

    4. Villa v Arsenal – Rosicky is assaulted a few yards from the assistant ref and is left in a heap, the ref waves play on; no foul, no card, NOTHING.

    These are four matches, one day after the other, with massive decisions that did influence the outcome one way or another. I’m not psychic but I can assure anyone who thinks all is well in the epl that this coming weekend we will be here again, talking about another four or more controversial decisions, benefiting all, if not most, of the teams mentioned above. And we get told we are delusional to suggest something could be amiss with the way the refs carry out their duties? Please…..

  • marcus

    Re the Tiote goal, I think you are wrong Walter.

    The offside guy flinches and ducks to evade the ball. That can only happen when he is in the flightpath of the ball. So regardless of whether Hart had a cat in hell’s chance of getting to the ball, the primary offence is that he is interfering in play.

    Brave call by the ref I think.

    Ultimately, if he hadn’t been there, there would have been no problem.

  • Pete

    To relate to an earlier thread (a reply to Rupert I believe), proof that football is corrupt to the extent implied by Marcus’s posting would be a personal tragedy for me.

    The thing about this supposed evidence is that it will clearly be accusing a large number of people of criminal offences. If this can’t be stood up very robustly then the libel risk to the publisher is extreme. And I can understand why the FiF people are concerned as to their personal safety.

    But I would dearly love to know who the two referees mentioned are…

    So, to summarise, I desperately wish this isn’t true but fear it may be – at least to an extent. If it is, then I seriously need to consider whether I want to continue spending money watching football. I will also need to consider whether I want to continue spending my time coaching children to play a corrupt sport.

  • marcus

    Interfering with an opponent
    preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by ….. making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

    The offside guy clearly distracts Hart, so the decision is correct

  • nicky

    I’m beginning to wonder what is going on with refereeing and the city of Manchester.
    Up to the welcome retirement of the arrogant and bullying Ferguson, Old Trafford enjoyed the largesse of referees the like of which has rarely been seen elsewhere.
    Now, United appears to be dumped by the wayside along with its honest and upright manager and is being steadily replaced, in the referees’ “preferred list”, by the only other team in the city.
    Why Riley and his subordinates now find Citeh so attractive should be watched with a beady eye between now and the end of the season, by all of us.

  • bob

    “The offside guy clearly distracts Hart, so the decision is correct”
    Your claimed distraction is Not clear. Yes, the offside guy is left behind by the forward rush of the MC backline to trap him, as soon as Tiote approaches the ball and makes contact. From this view there is no visible evidence that Hart notices his presence; neither before the ball is struck nor while it is in flight. You can say you see distraction; but you cannot see whether or not Hart is distracted. He then points to claim (imo opportunistically) that there’s been a problem — after the ball is well past him and buried in the net. Perhaps you have another view to prove the distraction that you say is clear? I’m open to anything. Just provide the link.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pete, not sure who the two refs mentioned in FIF are, but he seems to really have it in for about four of the current bunch, maybe not fair to mention them by name as I do not know enough about this guy, but suffice to say three of them oft mentioned would come as little surprise to regulars on here…but the fourth would come as a real surprise, almost to the extent I find it hard to believe this particular claim, but if this guy is what he claims to be, he knows a lot more than we do.

  • AL

    I think in the link you posted you will notice the player is already walking from goal backwards. Of course he takes evasive action so the ball doesn’t hit him, but why should he be penalised for that. As for the ball hitting if he’d not moved, I watched gary neville and caragher use whatever software it is they use to show a 3D image of the situation showing the trajectory path of the ball, and both agreed that if the ball was going to make contact with the newcastle player at all, it would have been at best a graze on its way past him. So he may not even have had any need to move even if he’d remained motionless. To say the ref and hart factored all that into their thinking at the time might seem like giving them a little too much credit imo.

  • Tom

    Here’s the link that proves Joe Heart was distracted and prevented from making a routine save on the slow moving and totally mis-hit ball from Tiote. http://www.I'🙂

  • marcus

    A movement which, in the opinion of the referee, …. distracts an opponent.

    The offside player is not simply eggressing from the zone. He flings his arms up and ducks, because he is evading the flightpath of the ball. If he has misread the flightpath, that is his problem. The ref sees this as a distraction, rightfully so I think

  • Gord

    From the image that was in the Daily Mail, I would suggest the proper thing for that player to have done to get away from the path of the ball, would have been to fall onto the ground. Standing up (well, running), he is at risk of deflecting the ball.

  • Tom

    U nailed right on with your “tribalism “comment.
    As soon as a club gets a bunch of calls go their way, it becomes all good again.
    Same with managers. Rogers was just the other day calling into question PGMOL ‘s integrity but no sooner than he got a penalty for a blatant dive – oh! I’m sorry – a “Spanish penalty” , it’s all good again.

    The interesting bit about Man City getting all those game changing calls is that Pellegrini is the most laid back manager in PL and isn’t the type to ever intimidate referees , unlike Ferguson or Mourinho.

  • Percy

    You’re flogging a dead horse with your defence of the Jones decision. In an uncharacteristic move Alan Wiley, a colleague of Riley at the PGMOL, the same Wiley who was the subject of the infamous fat, unfit referee rant delivered by Ferguson, has come on the wireless to discuss same. He has detailed the salient points, outlined The Law and unequivocally acknowledged that the goal should have been awarded and that Jones was wrong. Also, he thought Mbwia should have been red carded. Jones, consequently will be off the EPL list this week end.

  • Jacky Blue Eyes

    Why hasn’t everybody got over this yet? The points are safely tucked away in City’s box and will be for the rest of the season. I know I am biased but I do think Gouffran was impeding Harts judgement, not that it makes any difference because it is the refs job to sort that out. The refs have to sort out a couple of hundred decisions every game, and it does seem to ‘even out’ over a season or 2. The question I pose to Arsenal fans is, do you believe the football your team has been playing deserves the top spot? City have been entertaining all spectators with their football this season (including the 6-3 which even with poor decisions City should have won heavily). Get a grip, the best team will win the league, not the team with the most decisions going in their favour. If you believe that it is biased…. sour grapes.

    Good luck Gooners, I have been patiently waiting for Arsenal to mount a serious challenge for the title and hopefully you can pass february this year without breaking down… like the old Skoda you seem to have been this past decade.

    Sawadee Khrap

  • marcus


    Then he doesn’t understand the laws of the game Percy!

  • marcus

    The reason why Jones has been sanctioned is that 1) he missed a blatant red card, and 2) he had a clear view of the incident in question

    The law states ‘in the opinion of the referee’

    Therefore he basically allowed his assistant to overrule him. Little wonder the incident caused uproar. But in terms of the rules of the game, and the linesman’s opinion, they are perfectly justified.

    However, it would only make sense for Jones to cancel the goal if he hadn’t seen Gouffran’s distractions

  • Tom

    You may understand the laws of the game but perhaps it’s the game itself you don’t understand

  • marcus

    Lol, very gnomic Tom

    You mean maybe switch and bait?

    Even the the Rileys are doing that

  • Percy

    To be fair to the refs I think they all know the Laws to the last i dotted and t crossed. It’s their opinions, eye sight and decision making that is questionable. Have you been to SpecSavers lately?

    I’m not sure which of the two incidents you refer to when you say the lino ‘overruled’ Jones. It didn’t happen with the offside if that’s what you mean – the assistant did not flag for offside. As we saw, and Wiley confirmed, it was Jones’s decision which led to the subsequent raising of the flag. Wiley did not say the suspension had anything to do with a disputed red card or that there was any input from an assistant on that incident. He did not raise the question of Mbwia’s tackle – it was put to him by the interviewer for his opinion.
    It’s clear that several Newcastle players were in an offside position: but that does not mean an offence has been committed. The Offside Law, like many other Laws, has a number of Interpretations and Guidelines attached to them that referees are required to adhere to to decide if there is an offence, here they are:

    1) “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate
    2) “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball
    3) “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball
    i. that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position
    ii. that rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position
    4)A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

    1)is a no; 2) didn’t happen – in fact Gouffran clearly moves away from Hart and the ball. He certainly doesn’t duck, which is immaterial anyway; 3) and 4) are not relevant.

    As I said in my OP, this is not a difficult decision to make and it is hard to understand what Jones is thinking. If he believes that Gouffran has played the ball and/or has obstructed Hart’s view or is challenging him then he has made a poor judgement.

  • Tom

    Allow me to elaborate then.
    Football is a spectacle sport enjoyed by billions and the most common complaint lodged against it by some is that it has become to tactical , not free flowing enough and in some cases goals are at a premium. Here you have a spectacular goal disallowed on the smallest of technicalities possible .

    Players live for those goals as they give them a chance to become part of the folklore of their respective clubs especially when those goals come against top opposition.
    Tiote has done before too , against Arsenal in the infamous 4-4 , so you can’t say it was a lucky hit either.

    To disallow a goal like that during a game when things are moving fast is one thing but to stand by this decision in the aftermath with all the benefits of instant replay from half a dozen angles is another thing entirely.

  • Mahdain

    What a damning post marcus i.e. FiF one.. You gotta wonder why the referees dont unite and demand technology from FUFA,EUFA and the football authorities as a whole. It would help reduce mistakes and expose cheating refs for what they. We all know why the football authorities dont want technology but that doesnt mean the refs associations cant force it. They can always go on a strike and tell Blatter and Platini to stick their human element up where the sun doesnt shine..

  • marcus


    Lots of fantastic goals are disallowed on the smallest technicality.

    If you are one inch offside, and the flag goes up, that’s it. Never mind what precedes and what follows.

    Sometimes great goals are disallowed even when a player is marginally onside. Those are just the rules.

    If Van Basten’s goal had involved him being a yard offside, the ref cannot say:

    “Wow. I’m ignoring the assistant’s flag because that goal was just awesome”

    You can bring in video technology to make things fairer, but in Rugby, if the guy scores a wonder try and his toe snicks the paint of the line, they don’t give the try. Simple as.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Here’s Graham Polls take of issues surrounding the Newcastle Vs City game…and his view of different styles used on refs by different managers….make what you will…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just looking at that FIF post again,wondering about the last sentence ….about the info they have collated and stored remains their collective security. One interpretation of that is quite sinister .The site author claims he and his team have received threats from some quite unpleasant individuals due to their work.

  • Tom

    “Lots of fantastic goals are disallowed on the smallest technicality” you say and then give an example of a goal scored some 26 years ago that wasn’t disallowed. Why?

    We are past a halfway mark in the PL so you should be able to give some examples of those fantastic disallowed goals this season . Would you care to?

    “If you are one inch offside ,and the flag goes up ,that’s it…”, you say again . I think you just confirmed what I suspected all along . You don’t understand the game and the rules as they should be applied .
    In the event of such a close call the advantage should go to the attacking team .

  • bjtgooner

    Very interesting thread and the link from marcus puts a new dimension on everything – is Riley in too deep to get out & has no option but to do as he is told & at what level was a retired manager involved – or is he still involved?

  • bob

    Hey dude!, that link don’t work. Geesh. 🙂

  • bob

    And, to thicken the plot, seems like “tribalism!” (by definition) is always what the other guy is guilty of. We’re a crazy species, I’m tellin’ ya, mate.

  • nekuhan

    @ Mandy Dodd 3:46 pm – You are right there! But it was so obvious, as I wrote it one other friendly Arsenal blog on 13.01.2011, quote:
    “Since David Dein’s departure, ARSENAL FC has no real influence, no clout at FA, Premiership, with referees, compared to MU and Chelsea.
    Alex Ferguson has 24 years of lobbing experience and probably has a half of the referees in his pocket if not on his payroll. He is continuously bulling FA, referees and media when needed.
    Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has billions and probably uses them … when needed.
    Watch out on M.City when their owner Sheikh Mansour picks up the rules quickly.”
    So here we are. No need to be too smart to see it, but it is destroying the football game and in orchestrated way preventing ARSENAL FC from winning the new titles. Disgusted!

  • menace

    It amazes me that so many refer to the Laws of offside when the primary Law of the Game is that the referee is God on the Football Field!!!

    What is not Law is the FA reaction and subsequent action when God did not see an incident. Agbonlahor’s elbow deliberately struck into Rosicky’s face, resulting in a broken nose is assault in Law. It is something that the Police should act on. However, as it occurred on the sporting field it is the responsibility of the Football Association and its appointed officials to deal with.

    The corrupt monopoly PGMOL is an abomination of sporting involvement. Together with the agents in football they should be dropped in mid Atlantic and left to the mercy of the almighty.

    @marcus in my opinion, your logic & interpretation defies common sense.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Percy made it clear. Thanks Percy.

  • Mike T

    @Percy & Walter

    Best I say that dis-allowing the goal was wrong

    The 2d point about interfering with play actually reads :

    Interfering with an opponent preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent

    To be fair it is beyond argument that the player made a movement other than just retreating from the goal.

    You can argue all day about was the ref right but as I have said before in other threads most rules in football ( handballs ,fouls , off sides etc) are based on the referees opinion and if in his view there was a movement that distracted Hart then the offside call was correct or should I say a defendable decision

  • Black Hei

    I don’t think the ref favoured City. Mbiwa tried to do surgery on Nasri and got away! Na$ri is now out for couple of months I think.
    These kind of tackles are happening too often. Giroud got his shin scrapped by Toure (BTW, I think Toure didn’t mean it; he was probably fatigued and mistimed his challenge) while Arteta got his ankle done by Mikel.

  • Stuart

    Black Hei,
    Just a quick thought. Being fatigued is not an excuse, if the player is fatigued and goes in for that sort of challenge then really that is wrecklessness.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nekuhan, can only agree with you on David Dein, in many things he did in his various positions of power,he backed this club at all times and sometimes to a fault, seriously annoying others, including Mr Scudamore in the process. I wonder if we still pay for this, especially when the aforementioned and the likes of Kenyon and Gill have recently wielded the power Dein once did.
    We now have Mr Gazidis building a very impressive powerbase, but maybe more fair minded and able to see the bigger picture than his predecessor, and possibly even involved in a bit of damage limitation, who knows? But whatever he is doing does not seem to be working for now with the PGMOL at least.
    Lots of recent talk about how refs have treated us in domestic games, but it regularly happens abroad as well, the ref in Naples did his utmost to send us out of the ECL and could easily have succeeded. We take a kicking all game, and MA is sent off for what…his second tackle? Sounds so depressingly familiar. Fortunately, our current crop are much more experienced and streetwise than other recent teams, the likes of Gervinho, Diaby have been lambs to the PGMOL slaughter

  • JB

    FIF named Moss as one of the refs involved in the key matches. 8 of them I believe.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, Moss gets a few mentions, must admit, I always thought he was one of the better and less biased refs!

  • Pete

    Any more (refs) for any more (suspicious betting patterns)…?

  • marcus


    How foolish of me to doubt you.

    I see they have amended the offside law

    Once again I defer to your superior knowledge.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The advantage of being updated each season comes in handy Marcus 😉

  • Percy

    @Mike T
    Mike, where did you get the following:
    ‘making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent’
    it might well be an added instruction handed down by the PGMOL but it does not appear in ‘interfering with an opponent’ within the Guidelines that I downloaded for 13/14 at the beginning of the season. There is a similar Instruction given in the specific note dealing with attackers who find themselves in the goal net and therefore off the pitch and behind the keeper. It makes more sense for it to cover all situations, to my mind, and I wonder why it isn’t clearly stated as such.
    While on the subject, it also annoys me that the Law does not require an attacker in an offside position to be flagged as soon as he moves towards the ball or an opponent. The daft situation where an attacker can run thirty or forty yards chasing the ball and a defender or keeper has to react, risking a coming together and injury, only for the lino to then raise his flag when the attacker does touch the ball or interferes the opponent is crass. It delays the game and risks an unnecessary confrontation.

  • Mike T


    It was in guidelines that pre dated the guidelines you highlighted. FIFA wanted to make the guidelines easier to follow.So apologies from me in quoting them. Irrespective as I said in my earlier post the goal should have stood

    What is interesting is that having now goggled the matter it seems that in July 2013 that English referees warned that the changes would cause even greater confusion!

  • Gord

    I still see subtlety in the word “play”. In the Newcastle situation, the player is attempting to run away from goal, the ball seems to come quite close to him. To my mind, this player would have been far better off to fall to the ground in an effort to avoid being made part of play, than to run.

    But, if a player had of been in about the same position and facing goal, interpreting “play” is more interesting. Some would suggest that just facing goal is announcing an intent to play the ball. If the player was to arch his back in preparation to head the ball, that would be an even stronger announcement. But neither is actually touching the ball. Both actions would interfere with the ability of a goaltender to decide on an action.

    If what Marcus flagged and you already knew about is the best that FIFA has come up with, I would say it still isn’t good enough.

  • Mick

    Interesting article here re match fixing from a Newcastle perspective….–integrity-of-english-football-in-serious-jeopardy/32403

  • marcus

    That is a subtle point Gord. If you feint the ball, you are playing the ball.
    If you duck or avoid a ball, you are playing the ball.

    So I feel you are right. There is ambiguity.

  • Rupert Cook

    What we see is that Arsenal fans will exercise their bias and interpret what happened to suit them and City fans will do likewise.

    If the goal had stood would Newcastle have won or drawn or lost anyway? Who knows?

    As for our performance against City we were totally overwhelmed. They were far superior on the day. We can only hope we can contain them in the return match and forge a victory.

  • Gord

    Arsenal apparently hired Andy Rolls from West Ham (not a player).

    Sure, West Ham has been busy with injuries this year, I’ve no idea if this person brings much other than a lot of recent experience. But, welcome to Arsenal.

    Oh, Andy Rolls, please ignore the AAA.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Gord, I shouldn’t think Andy Rolls has any idea what the AAA is like the majority of people. And why should he fear the Amateur Astronomers Association? You see google AAA and nothing comes up related to Arsenal so therefore it doesn’t exist. Google knows.

  • finsbury

    Lots of methane exhaled from the AAA as Per usual- but where are their numbers? Oh! Silly me. Numbers don’t count in football, I guess, that must explain why all the plundits keep on trying to ignore the table these past few months. But what if Giroud gets injured. OMG? Panic!

  • finsbury

    When Riley first made his 99% doublespeak comment we (ok, it was me!) giggled at the consideration that they must have used every pass made during a game to make such a calculation.

    It appears that where the PGMOB are involved that truth is indeed stranger then fiction.

    If they like writing letters of apology after a bungle has been made slightly too obviously then the PGMOB should surely be happy to write a letter to all football fans apologising for abusing our ears and eyes with such gibberish?

  • finsbury

    Several close offsides calls in the last game not replayed*
    The frequency of this particular occurrence is starting to be a leeeeetle bit obvious?
    I suppose the puppeteer has to try and mix it up from season to season somehow. Staggering Bob’s Rednosed XX between an Oiler season was another incredibly subtle and cunning plan, not predictable at all! This Utd squad (minus a midfield unless you want to count the fourty four year old Scholes) only won the league by, what, eleven points? It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it.

    *I’d have thought the TV companies after spending some farking money on their footy licences would want to show off all the cameras that they have installed around the ground, taking every opportunity to give the viewer that immersive 3D Dolby stereophonic experience of the game from the comfort of their mobile phone? Broadcasters not wanting to show off their tech and equipment during a sports programme? We see the opposite in other sports. Strange.

  • Gianni Dioro

    Here is a great video taken by a fan seated behind the goal area:

    You can see how only City players block Hart’s view of the ball and how far Hart is on his goal line from where the ball went into the net at the opposite corner. Hart was stranded.

  • finsbury

    Random thought for the day:

    Why have there been so many Scottish managers in the PL?
    Please don’t misunderstand. Some of my best friends are Scottish *coughs*. Seriously. Most games I go to I go with a friend who is a Scottish Gooner (his dad did a good job!).

    Football in Scotland has been far far poorer then in England for a wee while now, yet there are far more Scottish managers in the PL then English. Are they that good?
    I’m confused.