As a result of my recent email about AR responsibilities, I received the following question:
When you stated “Support the referee if questioned by coaches/players – NEVER indicate that the referee made a bad call!”, what if I were to signal a foul that clear to everyone but the center waved the call off? How can I support the center ref if he disagrees with my call, especially if I am on the coaches’ side and as the game continues the coach comes over to talk to me during play? They will probably ask why the center did not agree. What should I say?
That is a great question! (And somewhat ironic that it comes at the time of the retirement announcement of Sir Alex – one of the most famous referee bait-ers)
There was an interesting sequence of events in the first half of Manchester City’s 4 – 0 win over Newcastle in the EPL Saturday. Background: Manchester City and Newcastle are at opposite ends of the table, and Man City still has an outside chance at the Premier League title. Newcastle is struggling and does not have the talent possessed by Man City. In the 16th minute there was a clumsy challenge by Newcastle’s Cisse on Man City’s Lescott resulting in a free kick.
The sequence: in the 26th minute, Newcastle’s Sissoku slides into a 50-50 ball near the half line as Man City’s Zabaleta is approaching the ball from Zabaleta’s right. Sissoku arrives just after Zambaleta clears the ball, and fouls him. The tackle looked bad in slow motion, as Sissoku slid studs-first into Zambaleta’s ankle. Man City players and bench personnel complained about the tackle. Referee Neil Swarbrick was in a good position to see the play. He made it clear to everyone that he saw the play and that it was a fifty-fifty challenge. He then had a very strong word to Sissoku to take it down a notch.
The February 2 match with Aston Villa at Everton was exciting, with Everton erasing a two-goal deficit. Fellaini’s goal in added time that leveled the match was an example of the virtues of a slow whistle, especially in the Penalty Area.
In the 90th+3 minute, Everton was awarded a corner kick. Referee Michael Jones had previously dealt with several Everton/Aston Villa dust-ups on set pieces. He was monitoring activity just inside the PA. Everton was using a basketball-style screen to free up attackers rotating to goal. After the first Everton player rotated in, Jones was focused on some minor shoving in the area of the screen. Everton #7 (Jelavic) then rotated through the same screen towards the far post, marked by Aston Villa #6 (Clark). When Jelavic cut towards the near post, Clark, having lost a defensible position, shoved him with two arms from behind, knocking him to the ground.
From the camera angles, it appeared to be a clear foul, and within the view of Jones. Clark demonstrated the classic hands in the air of the offender. Jelavic did not show any obvious signs of a dive, and quickly tried to get to his feet as the ball approached, as the push occurred with the ball in the air. Some referees would have awarded a penalty kick at that moment. Jones did not.