We had mentioned in a previous blog that referees who make the fewest mistakes will proceed farther in the tournament. Or to put it another way, referees who make significant mistake, excusable or not, are not given further matches.
This was shown by the selections for the knock-out phase of EURO-2012. The officials who made the most obvious errors, many of which were pointed out in our previous blogs, are now going home. Carballo of Spain issued the very severe red card to the Greek player after two very soft cautions, the 2nd of which was not really a foul. Kuipers of Holland did not show a 2nd yellow card to a French player for a very bad tackle, worse than the one he got the first yellow for, and this player then scored a goal later in the match. Stark of Germany failed to sanction the tackle by Ramos, of Spain on the Croatian forward. This was at the least a foul, therefore a PK, but could be definitely considered reckless and bordering on serious foul play by endangering the safety of an opponent; however only a corner kick was given. Lastly the Hungarian referee Kassai; It seemed as though his selection of cautions in the England-Ukraine match was erratic. He gave one for time-wasting to Cole and then one for what was just a foul by Gerrard, but also only a yellow to Shevchenko for a nasty late kick. The latter is understandable given the circumstances regarding Shevchenko, although maybe not to the UEFA Referees’ Committee. But he was sunk by his assistants, one of whom missed an obvious offside, and his AAR who did not signal for the ball having crossed the goal line for a Ukraine goal, when it was cleared away by Terry. His error can be seen in the photos.
The AAR has his head in line with the front of the post and so would not see that the entire ball went over the line, due to the angle he was looking at. By way of contrast the AAR in the Italy-Ireland match (lower) had his head in line with the back of the post and so could easily see that the ball was over the line, although it was over by a lot more. We note that the AARs are actually chosen from the FIFA Referees’ list. Perhaps they should come from the AR list, since ARs are more used to aligning moving objects. Or maybe there will be a new list for specialized FIFA AARs.
The one referee who survived an obvious error was Eriksson, following the caution to Karagounis for diving when he was actually tripped and should have been awarded a PK. It will be interesting to see if he gets any appointments other than as 4th official.
One additional interesting fact is that an AR on Webb’s English team has been replaced by a Dutchman for the quarterfinal match. The English AR had called offside on several situations in the Italy- Croatia match when it appeared that the player was not offside. Unless he is injured, there cannot be any other reason why this replacement should have occurred. Webb is fortunate that his entire crew, including himself has not been dismissed, as happened for AR errors in previous tournaments.
It seems that officials have been penalized for failures to make major positive decisions rather than for making errors of commission, with the exception of the Spanish referee. Perhaps this will send the message to referees to make the tough decisions, and not take the easy way out, especially in international matches. Sometimes the reality is different in domestic league matches though.