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.
There’s an index to the recent articles on Untold Arsenal on the grand and gloriously re-designed Index of Infinity, along with info about writing comments, and indeed writing for the site. And stuff.
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England
- Didn’t appreciate KO time, M1 is a disaster, but watching Arsenal is a joy
- Arsenal v Newcastle: the team and league positons AFTER the game.
- Arsenal v Newcastle: injuries, yellow cards and recent form