England – Germany, who is to blame for the not given goal?

by Walter Broeckx

I think most of the English media will be starting a crusade against Mauricio Espinosa.

Off course he is the one that had to make the decision but let me come to possible other responsibles later on.   Just to clear things it was not a disallowed goal as it was called, it was a not given goal. Just a slight difference but an important one. A disallowed goal is when the ref blows his whistle and gives a foul against an attacker after or at the moment the ball goes in the goal for an offside or a push. A not given goal is what happened today as the ref did not see the ball cross the line and game continued. I really hope I made this clear because the people in my country made a mess of it and also on the BBC they were talking about a disallowed goal. And the first thing you can expect of pundits or reporters is that they know what is what.

The rules and the instructions are clear. If the linesman sees the ball crossing the line he has to make the decision, IF the ref could not see it. The linesman has to raise his flag, try to make (eye) contact with the ref and when the ref sees him he runs towards the middle line a few yards, or many yards in case the other team is chasing him down the line.  Just like in the old days when the linesman had to run to the middle of the field. In such games at the world cup it is very easy to make contact because they can speak with their headsets.

But a very important rule that is told to linesman is that you only can make such a decision with the ball crossing the goal line or not when you are 200% sure. If you are not  200 % sure you don’t give the decision. So far the ruling and the instructions.

As I come to the actual decision on the field I also would like to draw the attention on some things for those who never have stood there on the sideline to make the decision. I am going to give you a few things that could make life difficult for the linesman and the ref. I’m not saying it was like that but I just will give them because I know how difficult it can be.

First off all the linesman is looking at the situation 1,70 meter (5ft 5″) from the ground. So his view is very low if you compare it with the camera’s point of view.

A second difficulty is the fact that a football field that looks as flat as a snooker table on TV is not flat at all when you stand on the sideline. In fact most fields are laid out with a slight angle towards the sidelines (to prevent that there would be too much water on the pitch when it rains) which has as a result that the linesman could be standing some 10 to 15 cm (5 inch) lower than the goal is.

Now this might look not much but this has as a result that the ref is only seeing it from 1,50 meters (5ft)  from the ground. And the lower you stand the more difficult it is. This is also why we have to be carefull with the computer models because they almost always give it from a birds view perspective. Well I did not see any graphics from 5ft-6ft  from the ground and that is the way the linesman had to look at it.

Another problem is the linesman his position. He was standing at the same distance from the goal as the last defender, like he ought to do. But this means he was not on the goal line. And the only place when you have to make a decision where you can be 200% sure if the ball crosses the line or not is when you are on the goal line. But he was standing around 14 meter(15 yards) from the goal line and this means he is looking from a angle towards the goal line.  And in total he is looking at a situation some 45 meters (50 yards) in the distance.

This is all just to try to give you an impression on how the linesman was standing on the field where he was when he made the non-decision. So there are a few options here. The linesman could have thought that the ball did not cross completely the line from the angle he was looking at the situation. If that is the case there is nothing you can blame him for. If you don’t see it, you cannot call the goal.

I cannot tell what he saw or not saw. But I must say that if I take in account all the things that can be used in his defence I still think the ball was so far over the line that he should have seen it.  He didn’t react to the shot crossing the line and this is it. That’s the decision everyone has to live with. Other options are that the linesman was bribed or instructed by someone to give some decisions one way only.

But for me,  the main responsible person was sitting in the stand: Sepp Blatter. Sepp Blatter, and I don’t mean the dog who is flying around South Africa for free with Kulula airlines, but the human being is responsible for this.

He was the one that in March said that all the games should be refereed in the same circumstances and that goal line technology and other technological assistance to the refs was forbidden. On March 12th I wrote an article about it on this site. So if we want to blame someone we could call Blatter responsible for the not given goal.

On March 2nd systems had been offered to Fifa and they rejected them. Arguing afterwards that this is part of the fun of football.  The discussions after the game belong to football. But in this case what can we discuss? I don’t think there is any German who has seen it who will argue that it should have been a goal. I have checked the German TV and they all agreed that they had “ein riesen Gluck” in translation: “we were extremely lucky with this non-decision”. So there is no discussion if the ball did or did not cross the line. It did.

But then I like to come up with the question is there apart from the seemingly blind assistant and Fifa dictator Blatter someone else to blame?

And yes there is an another organisation that can be blamed. And this organisation is the English Football Associations from the home countries. Because the FA is together with the Scottish, the Welsh, the Northern Irish football association and Fifa member of the  International Football Association Board (IFAB). It was their decision in March that said NO to goal line technology. They had the key in their hands to unlock the door and make it possible that the use of technology would enter the game.

Some of these FA’s chose together with the rest of Fifa not to go that way. I think some people from that meeting will have a bad night after today’s game.

So we can blame Espinosa for being blind and I really hope he goes back home to Uruguay.

So we can blame Blatter for his running of Fifa and I really hope he will be replaced by Sepp Blatter, the Boston terrier dog.

But we must also blame some of our the Football Associations for not being brave or clever enough to push the decision through to introduce goal line technology in the world cup.

Long term readers of Untold will know that I, as a ref,  have written on many occasions in the past articles in favour of goal technology, and I will follow this line in the future. And maybe Arsène Wenger who has asked for the  introduction of this technology also in the past will be listened to instead of being made look silly.

PS: After watching the second game tonight with the decisions from the Italian linesman to keep his flag down when Tevez was clearly offside when the ball was played to him and he scored the first goal for Argentina,  I can only stand with what I have said after the England game.

Sepp Blatter can say what he wants but this has been a black day in football history and a bad day for all the referees. I think ALL HONEST REFS will agree that this cannot go on like this and action has to be taken. If not all the qualifying games it should be possible that all the games in the world cup itself have the use of technology to prevent such bad decisions like today. Mr. Rosetti your linesman, in the Argentina-Mexico game,  was of the same low quality as your national football team: very, very poor.

But looking from an Arsenal perspective to the Argentina – Mexico game: welcome back Carlos.


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18 Replies to “England – Germany, who is to blame for the not given goal?”

  1. Good article Walter. I’d love to see a rlinesman’s-eye view of the Lampard goal

  2. The refs seem to be an easy target when it comes to this. Its easy to say that these things get nullified because sometimes the refs allow goals which was never a valid one. But as easy as it seems, there is always a team which would feel very unlucky at the end of the day. The biggest irony is that even though video replays are not used as a help in making decisions, video replays are shown on the big screen in the ground just after the controversy happens. And it certainly doesn’t help in any way. What you get is that all the england fans start booing the ref because the ref’s big mistake is shown over and over again on the giant screens. And this definately will affect the ref’s mindset. A bit embarrassing situation for the ref i suppose. So why does Fifa allow the replays to be shown on the field itself? Surely they dont want some enraged fans to take matters in their own hands. So either fifa should use these video technologies completly or on other hand, do not show the replays on the giant screens.

  3. Phil,
    a newspaper in Flanders have produced some pictures in an article taken from about the point that the linesman was standing. I will give you the link and if you scroll down a bit you will see a compilation of 6 pictures taken in quick succesion. The fact that the linesman is not standing in the picture could mean that he has been photoshopped away or that he is standing on the left side of the picture and this means his view is even more difficult.

    The newspaper is in Dutch so you will not understand a lot of it but it can give you an impression on how a linesman is looking at it and you will notice that on the pictures it is difficult to see the goal line. You can see some lines but the goal line is very difficult to see. It is as far as I have seen the closest point of view from the linesman possible. It is on the page after the text, than some pictures and then the points given to the teams and then you are almost there. Right under a picture with Beckam and Rooney on it.


    Again I dont want to give the impression that the linesman could not see it but I really would not want to bet any money on it either.

    And this only underlines my argument that we DO need some kind of technology to make an end to such situations.

  4. The title of the article is : “Germany’s revenge after the bigges miss ever on a world cup.”

  5. Thanks for the link. From the photo it’s impossible to tell whether it has crossed the line or not. Time to start assisting refs.

  6. One of their arguments is that video replays won’t be available for every game … yet what is to stop any amateur team having a couple of commercial video cameras on the goal line and the ref having access to them should he wish ??? We all know that a video can’t settle 100% of decisions but a clause saying the officials can use videos replays WHERE AVAILABLE would be so easy to implement …

    Ultimately I cannot understand anyone who does not want as many decisions to be correct as is possible …

  7. The only responsible is Platini for refusing the video…
    Ask Arsene about it…

  8. Stop already with the excuses because England like ,Mexico couldn,t score more goals against Germany ,even with the cancelled off side goal Tevez scored or Lampard,s over the goalline one,simple?

  9. Samuel, I think that Germany was the best team on the day. And I believe that they would have won the game in the end.

    But I really think it is time to stop the fact that apart from 3 persons on the field the whole world knows there has been made a terrible mistake. I think every ref would chose the solution where based on video evidence his decision is corrected. Nothing more worse than being on the field as a ref and feeling you messed up but you cannot change it anymore

  10. And just as a ref, and sometimes assistant, if they would put me for the choice that I had to choose 1 mistake to make from both situations yesterday on the fields, I would take the England – Germany game. In this case you can say : I didn’t see it from my position and that’s it.
    But the Italian linesman made a terrible error on what is his main job: looking after offside and he didn’t miss an offisde with a few inches no it was an offside where Tevez was yards offside.

  11. I have a very different point on this one…if they allow these technologies to come into the game, it is going to improve the performance of the Referees. Once the referee knows that whatever happens, he won’t be blamed for the decision (right or wrong) as he will be corrected immediately by the help of 4th referee (who can watch replay and clear the issue). So, it will take the extra pressure off the referees and they will feel secured. We see many times referees giving an unfair advantage to some teams unconsciously because their minds are dwelling on some wrong decision made earlier in the game, that’s why we see sometimes after 2-3 penalty appeals, referees eventually budge under the pressure and give the penalties when they are not deserved…

  12. Sameep, you are right and you express what I meant by the correct words. The tension by some refs is big and the bigger the game the bigger the pressure. I have heard of refs who are really sick before a game and throw up before going on the field. Just from the tension and this is on lower level than the world cup. One of the reasons is the fact that you know that your (possible wrong) decision can cost a team and also your own carreer. To be clear I’m only talking of games where the ref is totaly unbiased.

    Because the ref knows that all the eyes are on him and this can have an effect on your performance, just as it can be with the players. Some refs can cope with this and other have more problems, just like with players.

    But if you know that you can rely on something that can help you can feel more relaxed.

  13. It’s absolutely crazy that couple of individuals like Blatter and Platini can put their own petty egos ahead of the overwhelming public opinion and the opinion of virtually every professional in the game. Football is being made a laughing stock among the major sports of the world. Tennis has it’s Hawkeye technology, Rugby Union has the TMO (in my view the best route for Association Football to go). These enhancements provide a huge degree of excitement in themselves as the crowd anticipates the outcome of a call at Wimbledon or awaits a confirmation of a TMO decision. I’m not advocating the use of video confirmation for any decisions other than those relating to the validity or not of a goal. The game has already stopped when a goal is scored, if a TMO type official were to have the straightforward task of deciding 2 things :(1) Is there any reason why the goal should not be awarded? (2) Is there any reason why a goal should be awarded?. it would solve a huge amount of injustices and almost equally as importantly, perceived injustices.
    If each time the Ref signals a goal, the TMO had to confirm its validity. it would not delay the game a jot. 99.9% of goals would be automatic clear as day outcomes with the confirmation call a mere formality that would be given to the ref while the celebrations were going on. In the extremely rare cases as happened on Sunday, the TMO could interrupt the ref to say a goal should be awarded.

    The argument that such technology would not be available in every match at all levels is a nonesense, we already have technology in use at the top level where officials are in communication via their mics and earpieces. This is not available in every local park. It doesn’t lessen the value of a game where it’s not available. It just DOES enhance games where it is.
    Many many Irishmen have had this reason to feel aggrieved last November when Thierry Le Cheat stole our dreams, many around the world smiled in a pseudo-sympathetic way and told us to get over it. Blatter laughed, Platini shrugged and shuffled in embarrassment. Sure it was only a tiny nation what matter?. Now a major power has been robbed, hurts doesn’t it? Maybe somebody will finally act to rid the game of these 2 viruses. and allow the beautiful game to enter the 21st century.

  14. In my opinion it is the ref’s fault. You can talk about video technology as much as you like. But for a football to hit the bar – ground – bar, the ball has to have a backwards spin which means it has crossed the line. The ball can’t hit the bar – line – bar, due to physics. The angles won’t be correct.

  15. couldnt agree more dec, apart from with your last statement, i’m english and i know me and most of my friends were utterly disgusted by the cicumstances involved with you not going to the world cup. Events like that and the awful decision on sunday make football a farce, its time for change. Im pretty sure someone could create an iphone ap anyway which would overcome their bullshit “we couldnt implement it at every level” argument.

    I’m not angry that we lost the match, im angry at the decision which ruined the match. Sure at 2-2 at half time the match would have been far better for fan and neutal alike (we were so shakey in defence though i suspect even france could have scored against us), but better match or no, win or lose, we did equalise, the whole world knows we did and so anything which happened afterwards has no validity, anyone who still thinks that decision didnt completely change the match is a fool. I do know that the germans would have had their confidence damaged and I do know that we wouldnt have been pushing so hard to score which would have also made the german third goal less likely.

  16. Oh, incorrect there Fedda, it all depends there as to in what angle of incidence the ball hit the crossbar, which part of the curvature of the crossbar the ball hit, and what kind of spin Fat frank put on the ball while he kicked it. And THEN there is the issue that this ball is shite and unpredictable. So it could very well have happened. 🙂

  17. Spot on Eddie, (I should have acknowledged the support we got from genuine football fans everywhere, especially here. It was much appreciated.) the sense of injustice is rekindled when the event comes around and everyone is getting excited preparing for the party and then taking part. English fans will feel that no doubt when the quarter final comes up.
    The second goal for England within a couple of minutes of the first would have rocked a young German team to the core and might have even woken up some of the non-performing big guns of England. No doubt it would have been a different second half. The thing is you deserved the chance to find out and the whole world knows it. Only the ruling junta at FIFA seem to feel nothing needs to be done about it.
    Best of luck to RVP in the match of the tournament next Friday.

  18. If you trully wish to assertain blame then you should look in the direction of “Neuer” and “Tevez” true sportsmen who should both receive awards for honesty. All other arguments are a waste of time. We all think football can represent honesty hard work and fair play yet whilst we have dishonest players we need technology to overcome their moral standards. such a shame that we are not talking about how honest neuer and tevez are.

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