Case Study: The Advantage of Advantage

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.

5 responses to “Case Study: The Advantage of Advantage”

  1. Outstanding application of advantage by Mr. Dean.

    I wouldn’t even begin to quibble the whistle raise given the situation and position of Mr. Dean and the players – it would likely only result in an advantage 1 out of 5 times given the situational awareness necessary to see the pass, the precision necessary to complete it, and the ability of the Forward to (ahem) remain onside.


    • Great point David. We’ll never know for certain, but I think he was moving to the spot of the foul, convinced as he clearly was that he was going to whistle it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: