Misconduct in the Barclays Premier League is reaching a fever pitch as teams jockey for European places and to avoid the drop to the Football League.
Two recent red card incidents help to illustrate how red card mechanics can vary from game to game, depending on the situation.
In the first incident, Referee Lee Mason acts quickly and decisively, taking about 2 seconds to decide that Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany should be sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Mason as a very clear view of the entire field, sees the foul, and requires no information from his assistant referees to reach his decision.
In the second incident, Referee Michael Oliver faces a similar yet quite different situation. While he is in good position to see the foul and clearly and confidently points to the penalty spot, he needs time and information to determine if all four conditions for DOGSO have been met (Direction, Distance to goal, Defenders, Distance to ball). Oliver seeks information from the Assistant Referee – likely about the number of defenders – and makes his decision in about 10 seconds.
For our purposes, the “correctness” of each decision is less important than the methods used by each referee to reach the decision. Mason had a good view of everything in front of him and reached a decision quickly. Oliver’s view was potentially obscured with several players in the penalty area, so he took several seconds before sending off Spurs defender Kaboul.
Both of these approaches are quite appropriate for their respective situations and serve as an instruction to us that we needn’t always use the same approach when deciding about a match’s ultimate sanction.
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