Case Study: Dowd Issues 2 Cautions in 10 Seconds

Select Group Referee Phil Dowd has certainly had his share of big decisions lately, sending off 5 players in his last 4 matches of the season. (In this referee’s opinion, all of those decisions were spot on).

But an incident in the match between Liverpool and Newcastle United was of particular note.

After Liverpool scored the second of two goals within just a few minutes to overturn a 0-1 deficit, Dowd found himself at the business end of some serious dissent from Newcastle forward Shola Ameobi.

While preparing to kick off after the second goal, Ameobi can be seen shouting and aggressively pointing at Dowd.  Such public displays of dissent must be cautioned, and Dowd obliges with a firm display of the yellow card.

But before restarting play – and for reasons that only he will know – Dowd calls Ameobi back for a chat, and is joined by the Newcastle captain.

Perhaps, Ameobi was flirting with a straight red for foul and abusive language and Dowd wanted to make quite certain that both Ameobi and his captain were aware of his precarious position.

In any case, Dowd hardly got a word in before Ameobi said something that made Dowd reach again for his yellow card – resulting in the send off of Ameobi for a second caution.

Perhaps the accomplished lip readers out there can make out what the parties said, but for the purposes of this post, that is beside the point.

Before I get to the point, let me be perfectly clear about one thing: Phil Dowd is an accomplished, professional referee in one of the best leagues in the world.  If he felt a need to call Ameobi over for an additional chat, I am certain he had good reason to do so.

This is a good reminder for the rest of us that a quick restart can often be the best salve for a wound.  Ameobi accepted his caution and had returned to his position, ready to restart play when Dowd summoned him for a further chat.  One wonders if the second caution who have been necessary had Dowd elected to restart play instead of calling Ameobi over again.

For those of us who referee at more typical levels of play, continuing discussion in this manner is very rarely advisable, and for the reasons that played out on our television screens.

P.S.: Have I ever mentioned how little use I have for Alan Pardew?  How many times will he get away with game disrepute?

14 responses to “Case Study: Dowd Issues 2 Cautions in 10 Seconds”

  1. I’ve done it for the same thing. Player cautioned for dissent. About to whistle for restart and the same player decides to do an ironic clap in your direction.


  2. I think the ref lost his red card…couldn’t find it…showed a yellow…called him back and said that was supposed to be a red…off you go. Here’s a second yellow so everyone understands…explains to the captain. Notice how he has problems looking for a red card??


  3. If you watch the video and focus on the captain, the captain comes toward Dowd after the caution, but before being beckoned by Dowd, and it doesn’t appear in a dissenting fashion, maybe more of a “what did he do/say?” type of thing. It appears on the captain’s approach, Dowd beckons the captain closer, allowing for a conversation to happen, and is trying to utilize the captain to calm the player. The player then turns and begins to run his mouth again, and in my opinion gets what he deserves. While I understand the adage “the ball in play is the referee’s best friend” I don’t believe Dowd drug this out longer than necessary, but was rather attempting to exercise proper management, and the particular player chose not to comply.


  4. Looks like the captain came running over together involved so dowd. Didn’t restart until he had a word.with him and ameobi said something else


  5. Obviously Shola Ameobi made additional comments to Phil Dowd which ended in him being dismissed from the field of play.


  6. Any referee is entitled to speak to the captain if he feels he needs help to keep a player on the field of play. It is not the referees fault if the player then decides to carry on his abuse after being cautioned. Managers, fans and players are always complaining that referees don’t talk to them and when Phil Dowd clearly does this, he is now being criticised for this!


    • As I said in the post, I’m not criticizing Dowd. He’s a much better referee than I could ever dream of being. Just using the incident to illustrate what can go wrong in these types of situations.


  7. It looks to me that as Dowd cautions him the first time, as he’s showing the yellow card, Ameobi shouts something in his face. It’s then that Dowd steps back then calls both the captain and Ameobi over and cautions Ameobi the second time. I don’t think Dowd decides to have a conversation, rather it’s that Ameobi’s reaction to the first caution is the second offense. You assume that Ameobi had accepted his caution. In those circumstances I don’t believe a quick restart was either possible or correct.


  8. What can go wrong? The Referee is being approached by another player and his focus is now on why that player is coming from 30 yards away to discuss the issue. The incident is in the middle of the field. It must be dealt with. Referees need to lose the attitude that we must keep all 22 players on the field. Instead of keeping things simple and sending a clear message to all that the type of behavior being demonstrated is just not acceptable. Place the weight back on the players shoulders instead of carrying it around on yours.


  9. Awful officiating by Phil Dowd. You can’t send someone off for asking a question. Fifa needs to fire him immediately.


  10. I think the caution for abuse was enough, to handle the situation the refeee was supposed to move away and signal to restart play. This would have been a sensible decision in my opinion.


  11. Every local league referee in the country cheered when Phil Dowd issued a second caution to a player who thought he now had the whip hand again having taken a caution for dissent, thinking that Phil would not now dare to issue a second yellow and send off a “star” for further dissent. At local level I am certain that “dissent” is the commonest reason for caution, fuelled by premier league stars on TV getting away with it week in week out. Local players believe that they can act in a similar manner but pay the price because local referees are more likely to apply the laws of the game and do not have the pressures from above to keep the Millionaires on the stage for the fans that have paid hard earned money to see them play. So Phil you are our Hero !


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