Case Study: AR2 Sends Off Rafael

Case Study # 18-2013
Date 5 May 2013
Competition Barclays Premier League
Fixture/Result Man Utd 0 – 1 Chelsea
Referee/Badge Howard Webb, FIFA
At Issue AR2 Sian Massey is heavily involved in sending off Man Utd’s Rafael

For the second time in recent weeks, an assistant referee played a crucial role in the decision to send off a player.  The AR in this case was Sian Massey, the only female referee in the Premier League (who, interestingly, is a center referee when she works women’s matches).

The send off is rather straightforward, David Luiz’s silly playacting notwithstanding.  Massey can clearly be seen shouting “FOUL” into her headset, followed by “THAT’S RED!”, to which Referee Webb dutifully produces a red card.

But not before a little pushing and shoving between Chelsea’s Oscar, who was waving the universal “give him a card, ref” signal, and Man Utd pensioner Ryan Giggs, who took exception to this display of dissent, and remonstrated with Howard Webb by doing exactly the same thing.

Referee Webb showed a remarkable amount of restraint in dealing with the pushing and shoving, given his penchant for manhandling players in the past.  Makes one wonder if someone has spoken to the former policeman about proper arrest technique.

Click/tap on the photo to view it fullscreen.  Please no letters from United or Chelsea supporters.  Just having a little fun during the run in.

5 responses to “Case Study: AR2 Sends Off Rafael”

  1. The play acting is what gives the sport a bad name with non-knowledgeable watchers of big matches. I say Yellow Card for Rafael. And maybe if the AR had signaled after the first or second or third or fourth incident this wouldn’t have escalated. You could see it coming as soon as this play continued to the corner. The final seconds of the match, the scoreline, the taking of the ball to the corner… you could see what was coming watching it on TV. Plus – easy call for Howard Webb. He gets enough stick from non-United supporters as the team’s 12th man. The Red Card shows, “See, I can give United a Red Card.” The Title is already United’s, the match is basically over, so, no big repercussions for the next games coming up.


    • I agree with you on one count: an earlier foul called by Massey or Webb could’ve prevented the whole thing. I also would’ve liked to have seen her talking to the players, as she did earlier in the match when van Persie and one of the Chelsea players got into it.

      On the other hand, this type of contact is generally accepted in the English game. And kicking out like that right in front of the AR is just plain dumb.


    • I believe we often look way too hard for a reason not to go red. Managing well before the need for any card is obviously best and I agree if you can get through any match with no cards it is usually a good thing, but red is red and as the pictures show there is absolutely no play on the ball. Even if the ball were still at Luiz’s feet it doesn’t give the right to kick the back of his leg (maybe then a case for yellow could be made) and regardless of what happened during the run up to the red card foul (the bumping or fouls if you want) there is NEVER justification for retaliation to go unpunished.


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