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Jim Gilbert

Impressed with the fitness of the referee who was deep at the other end but caught up after the long lead pass and was already at the top of the other PA when the shot was taken.
Jim: Ed and I have been trying to convince referees that going deep at one end does not mean that you neglect the other. It's all about your fitness, and fitness is not difficult to obtain. Cheers, Bob.


Fitness is not the sole factor in determining the quality of a referee. In many respects it is one of the least important. Match/man management is the most important. Followed by foul recognition.
[ . . . removed as offensive . . .] that teaching point that if you are close to the play you can sell the call. How about improving foul recognition?
We did not suggest that fitness is the sole factor, but it is an essential one. (And the easiest to gain.) Many referees say that they are applying "man management", when in reality all they are doing is turning away from making a tough decision As an aside, if you make ad hominem insults in comments in the future, you will not be allowed to publish on this site. RE.

Gil Weber

Bob, I agree that here in the US our referee instructional system has burned all four "Ds" as absolutes into referees' minds. While distance to the ball and number of defenders seems pretty straight-forward, certainly distance to goal and direction are not. The Torres goal demonstrates that at least for those two "Ds" a bit of common sense and experience needs to be applied.

I remember watching a game maybe eight or nine years ago with Gabriel Batistuta playing for Fiorentina. He dribbled the ball into the opponent's penalty area far to the goalkeeper's left, and heading toward the goal line but certainly not toward the space between the goal posts. The GK came out to challenge, missed the ball, and put Batistuta off balance.

Batistuta managed to hurdle the bad challenge, kept his feet, and caught up to the ball very close to the goal line (still not moving at the space between the goal posts). From a position out toward the edge of the penalty area and near the goal line (meaning practically an impossible angle) he managed to put the ball into the net. It was a goal of sublime skill from an enormously talented player.

Now, had the GK's challenge flattened Batistuta would that have been DOGSO-F? In this case Batistuta's skill demonstrated that despite the direction not being toward the space between the goal posts it was for him a goal scoring opportunity, and had he been flattened the GK should have been sent off.

Yet had the same scenario developed in a game that most referees here officiate, and had the attacker gone down, would a foul so far out on the periphery of the penalty area, with the attacker moving at the goal line but certainly not toward the goal, would that have been DOGSO-F?

Probably not.

In evaluating DOGSO-F I suggest the wise referee should add a qualifying "S" to the "Ds" -- the skill level of the players. The direction and distance to goal need to be considered not as absolutes (for example, not always requiring heading to the space between the goal posts) but, rather, judged in light of what those players seem capable of given their skill level.

Of course that becomes very subjective -- something learned with experience and impossible to teach in a classroom. But then isn't so much of refereeing subjective -- IITOOTR?

Gil Weber
Exactly! Cheers, RE

Brian Smith-White

Another example of "going at the goal" failing as a definitive criterion from an EPL match within the last two weeks. The defender is tracking the attacker from the 18 to the 6 (or maybe a step closer to the goal line). The path of the two is toward the goal line, slightly away from the goal mouth. The attacker continues one step more toward the goal line and pfft (a shot across the goal mouth at the far post). The ball goes past the near post, past the keeper and into the net on the other side of the goal mouth. The attacker's forward motion takes them across the goal line between the near post and the intersection of the goal line and the 6 yard line. Clearly not moving at the goal. If the defender had dumped the attacker rather than failing to follow - would that have been DOGSO? Clearly not as 'obvious' as the Torres example. But about as obvious as Gil's example.


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