Our review of the CAN-USA Women’s Olympic football semi-final continues with a look at an off-the-ball incident.
In the 54th minute of the match, Canada is awarded a free kick in the USA half. The CAN attackers line up on the penalty area line (aka 18-yard line) and prepare for the kick to be delivered. The kick sails high and slowly rolls over the goal line for a goal kick.
Off the ball, however, CAN #14 commits a fairly atrocious act of violent conduct, which, had the referee seen, surely would have result in #14 being sent off. The referee and AR are following the ball, which is appropriate in this case, as an attacker and the GK are moving toward the ball. This may explain why this act of violent conduct wasn’t detected.
I believe the lesson here is that we always have to be vigilant. Some players are very deft at getting away with this type of behavior. This speaks to the need of the crew to constantly maintain focus on the field.
To be clear, I am not criticizing the crew in this match; I don’t believe there was much that could’ve been done differently. I’m using this incident as an opportunity for all of us to learn from.
In a recent Premier League match between Sunderland and Newcastle United, referee Martin Atkinson typified the English style of player management: cool, calm and collected, despite circumstances that tested him.
In the 25th minute of the match, Atkinson sent off Newcastle player Cheick Tiote for violent conduct when the player went into a challenge studs up after the whistle sounded for a foul.
The send off is fairly straightforward, as we see in frames 1-6 of the gallery (click to enlarge).
In the ensuing nonsense that seems to accompany all soccer/football matches these days, Newcastle player Shola Ameobi (#23) approaches Atkinson aggressively and enters his personal space to argue against the send off of his teammate.
The intensity level was quite high, with Atkinson having just sent off a player, early, in a derby (rivalry) match. In spite of these conditions, Atkinson remains a picture of composure. He shows #23 a yellow card for dissent, and keeps the card out as a clear threat that he is willing to use it again. All without a raised voice, “away” gestures, and or even the appearance of concern.
While Atkinson’s approach may not work in every situation, it is clear that his composed demeanor helped calm the situation. As much “stick” as the referees seem to get in England, it is clear the FA and PGMO are doing something right.