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George P.

I find that occaisionally my subconscious says: "The game's almost over, lets ignore that and get the heck out of here." When I follow that advice, things often arise to bite me.


The way I interpret the way the kung-fu action was handled is that it was par for the course in what seemed to be consistently inconsistent decisions from the center referee regarding aggressive/physical behavior.

Three decisions stand out - forgive me if I have them out of sequence -
1 - The decision to not punish Gerrard for his reckless (borderline excessive) challenge. To my knowledge, not even a foul called.
2 - The decision to send off Lampard straightaway for what most of us feel was an aggressive, but legal, challenge.
3 - The decision by the center referee (and AR) to not send off Bosingwa.

Regardless of whether these decisions were due to poor positioning, poor focus, or whatever, their cumulative effect was telling. The inconsistent handling of these events left the players with absolutely no idea where the "line in the sand" was drawn - so they'll continue to push the limits. And then when players don't feel the referee is protecting them, they will tend take matters into their own hands. Thus starts the cycle. So when a match starts getting out of hand physically, it's extremely hard to get the genie back into the bottle.


Watch it again. What shocked me when I saw it live is that the AR did signal the foul - against Liverpool! Watch the flag whip up, shake, and then snap to the left (6:50), indicating free kick for Chelsea. Restart was indeed a free kick for Chelsea, not a throw.
The ball was clearly still in play when the AR reacted, he was reacting to the player, not the ball, and clearly signalled foul - that was not a ball-out call. I can only think that he got the direction wrong and failed to correct himself.

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