There are some readers of this space who are not referees; apparently, they get something out of these rants and bits of analysis. So, it is to those readers that I direct the following comment: there’s probably no better feeling for a soccer referee than to recognize an advantage, signal it, and have the team in possession exploit it by scoring a goal. It isn’t from wanting one team or another to score that this pleasure derives, but rather from a sense that justice has been served. The team in possession was wronged when they were fouled by the defending team, but we had enough ‘soccer sense” to recognize that calling the foul would extinguish a promising attack. This can be counter-intutitve, especially for new referees, who instinctively want to recognize fouls quickly so that players know that they are on top of things.
|Case Study #||5-2013|
|Date||29 Jan 2013|
|Competition||Barclays Premier League|
|Fixture/Result||Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle United|
|Referee/Badge||Mike Dean, FIFA|
|At Issue||A textbook use of advantage leads to a goal for NUFC|
It is with this background that we examine these screen shots below. I must say that Referee Mike Dean is having a great year so far, getting the big decisions right and putting on a basic skills clinic for the rest of us. This is a textbook case of advantage, recognized and properly applied. Yes, we may quibble about the fact that Dean brings the whistle to his lips once he recognizes the foul – ideally, we don’t do this so we don’t confuse the players by having them stop because they think the whistle is about to blow. But the more important point is that Dean gets the decision right. Awarding a foul in this case would have denied Newcastle a goal in a match decided by a one goal margin.