Case Study: Alternative Corner Kick Positioning

If you aren’t familiar with the wonderful book “For The Good of The Game” do yourself a big favor and find a copy.  Unfortunately, this tome on how to referee is now out of print, but diligent searching should be able to find you a copy.  Alternative corner kick positioning by the referee is one of the topics covered.

The authors are former FIFA Referees Ed Bellion and Robert Evans.  They have long been considered the “renegades” of the US Soccer establishment because of their supposed “unorthodox” views on several aspects of refereeing.

One long running debate involves the position of the referee at a corner kick.  USSF (and other national associations) have long held that referees should be roughly at the top of the penalty area, at about the intersection of the penalty arc and penalty area.  Conventional wisdom dictates that this position allows the referee to keep pace with a quick counter-attack by the team defending the corner kick.

Ed and Robert have long advocated that the best position for a referee at a corner is on the goal line, near the goal post.  They argue that this position allows the referee the best view of the action in front of goal, positions the referee perfectly for any tight calls on the goal line, and discourages shirt-pulling and other nonsense because of the proximity of the referee to the players.

Imagine how warm their hearts must have been, then, when they saw referee Mike Dean take up their recommended position in a recent Premier League match between Swansea and Reading.

I think this position makes a lot of sense, and, in fact, this was the recommended corner kick positioning long ago.  Have you witnessed referees taking this position on a corner?  What is your opinion on corner kick positioning?