|Case Study #||25-2013|
|Date||26 Oct 2013|
|Competition||Barclays Premier League|
|Fixture/Result||Norwich City 0 – 0 Cardiff|
|Referee/Badge||Mike Jones, Select Group|
|At Issue||A decision to disallow an apparently legitimate goal is called into question.|
As the match drew to a close, Cardiff played the ball into touch to allow treatment for an injured Norwich player. When play resumed, Norwich took the throw in with the Cardiff goalkeeper fully expecting to receive the ball back, as sporting tradition dictates.
A Norwich attacker deviated from the script, however, and played the ball into an unguarded goal.
This incensed the Cardiff players, who immediately confronted the Norwich player who had shown a complete lack of sportsmanship.
Referee Mike Jones then disallowed the goal, ostensibly under the assertion that he had not given the signal to restart play.
Video of the incident indicates otherwise.
The facts of the matter can’t be disputed. According to the Laws of the Game, Referee Jones had no authority to disallow a perfectly legitimate goal.
But what about the spirit of the LOTG? Could an argument be made that Jones acted in the best interest of the game?
In order for that argument to be made, it still has to have some basis in Law. Referees can’t go around making up decisions because they believe it upholds the spirit of the game.
In this case, I believe Jones made the right decision, and furthermore, there is clear evidence that his actions are indeed in keeping with the spirit of the game.
Recall that the IFAB made a subtle adjustment to the LOTG at the beginning of the 2012/13 cycle with regard to dropped balls. Whereas before this season a goal could be scored directly from a dropped ball, now a second touch is required. The reason for this change? A quick reference to the FIFA memorandum from that year tells us:
There have been a number of occasions where goals have been scored from “uncontested” dropped balls. This has put a great deal of pressure on the referee as he has to allow the goal to stand. We then have the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game. (Emphasis added)
Before you get hung up on the second sentence, let me point out that IFAB solved this problem for referees by making a change to the Laws. In Mike Jones’ case, he had no such change to rely on.
The third sentence makes clear that IFAB does not want teams allowing an opponent to score an uncontested goal. This was the prospect that Mike Jones faced as he dealt with the problem before him.
Allowing the goal to stand would be correct in terms of application of the Law, but clearly would’ve violated the spirit, based on the undeniable guidance from the IFAB.
Mike Jones’ decision is defensible on the basis of guidance from the IFAB.