by Tony Attwood
Mauricio Pochettino announced after the match that it was referee Mike Dean who did it all, with two mistakes.
Although, as Walter pointed out in his post-match review, only one of the goals could have been offside, Mr P wanted to go further and say that the free kick involved in the othergoal should not have been given. Hence two mistakes.
But some commentators seemed to think there was a second offside goal too. So just to be complete on that one, before dealing with Mr P, here is the law for the benefit of Mr P and anyone else not fully familiar with it. It is taken from the FA’s official website, and although I don’t normally accept what the FA says as ever likely to be true, in this case I make an exception.
It is not an offence to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
- any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
- any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
- The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.
A player is not in an offside position if level with the:
- second-last opponent or
- last two opponents
But Mr P’s comment raises other questions. Let us assume that his argument that, “If you analyse the game until we concede the goal the team was doing well before. We were better than them but in the end it is a massive mistake like this,” is right.
I think the problem is that if you agree with this argument here, then you have to use it for every game. And this comes back to one of my central theses – that referees make a lot of mistakes. Indeed as our review of the first 160 games of last season show, they make an awful lot of mistakes. But against this we have the argument that “in total, refs make around five errors per game, meaning they are right 98 per cent of the time.” That quote comes from Sky Sports, one of the mouth pieces of PGMO which has put on line an attempt to counter our argument that there is a problem with refereeing in the PL.
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Of course I know some correspondents on Untold have written in and questioned some of our teams’ comments on the video evidence in the 160 game review, but even if those “errors” are allowed (and that it is a contentious issue) we would still not have reduced referee error level to five per game.
The problem is Sky Sports present no evidence to support PGMO’s claim – it is presented in a classic “PGMO know, and this is what they say” approach that all TV broadcasters are now forced to use if they want to continue to hold the rights to broadcast. So we get it all the time.
But back to Mr P. Let’s say that he was right. One goal was offside and one came from a mistake because it wasn’t a free kick. The argument still means nothing,without an analysis of how many other mistakes there were in this game – and in all the other games this season. And that analysis with video evidence does not exist – at least in public. Except the analysis presented by Untold last season.
It ought to exist, both because it affects the credibility of the game, and because the newspapers and TV broadcasters have the resources to produce it. But… oh, they are not allowed to do it by the PL contract with broadcasters. So it is left to a group of referees and others working for free with Untold, to produce the evidence. Those who oppose our view could do it, setting up and running a web site, locating the video analyses, bringing in a couple of referees to do the analysis and so on.
But they don’t – or at least they have not.
And isn’t that a bit odd? When there is so much debate match after match about referee decisions? Isn’t it odd that PGMO and the PL don’t make available video evidence to back up their claim so dutifully presented by Sky Sports that referees make only five errors per game.
I mean, they have all the evidence and all the experts, they could take the first 160 games of each season, as we did, and present the whole thing on line, and then analyse where the errors are and we could all agree or disagree and we could compare results.
Or come to that they could join in using the video refereeing technology in use in Germany and elsewhere – and we could be satisfied that way. Except, oh, PGMO voted against it.
So, sorry, Mr P. We can’t resolve the broader point you made in your interview either, that referees always favour home clubs. We’d like to, but PGMO refuse to allow the TV companies to do it. But now that Tottenham feel that they have suffered at the hands of referees, maybe their dedicated fans will take up the mantle and do an analysis of 160 Premier League games complete with video evidence. Just to see.