Saturday, September 29, 2007


Taking Charge

Well then. Another grim game to add to the list of exercises in extended trench warfare that have characterized this A-League season so far. As a Melbourne fan commented on the Sydney FC forum after the game, surely it was not necessary for Melbourne to take the field with no fewer than three defensive a home game.

It's surely time for the coaches and players to adopt a rather more positive approach, but as I mentioned recently, the permissive refereeing has not helped matters. Last night, Ben Williams, generally one of the better refs in the league, let the ugly challenges get out of hand.

In the official summary of the game, linked above, one thing that strikes the eye is that all the yellow cards bar one were issued in the second half. This is consistent with the policy of many A-League referees, who seem to think that an accumulation of poor challenges is necessary for a yellow to be incurred, rather than a single egregious foul.

It's an attitude I've always had a problem with. If a referee shows early in the game that he is not going to stand for rough treatment, the game surely has a better chance of proceeding without too many bruising fouls.

I remember that there was concern before the 2002 World Cup final that things might get a little "difficult": very wisely, the referee on that occasion, the legendary Pierluigi Collina, flashed two yellow cards very early in the game for nasty challenges. The players got the message, and the game went on in relative peace thereafter.

Ben Williams did not mete out sufficient punishment for harsh fouls in the first half last night (particularly with regard to tackles from behind), and the consequence was plain to see.

An incident early in the second half perfectly illustrated what I believe to be the problems with the refereeing in the A-League this season.

Danny Tiatto, bursting through on the left, was viciously body-checked by Daniel Piorkowski, blatantly leading with his elbow. It was the clearest of cautionable offences.

Tiatto, in retaliation, followed through with a rugby tackle on Piorkowski, before slamming his elbow into the latter's face, in clear view of the approaching linesman. The Queensland man, incidentally, had already been booked.

After the smoke had cleared, Williams entered into a long discussion with both men...and sent them both on their way. No cards at all.

That is not, as some would have it, common-sense refereeing. That is an abrogation of responsibility.

Hey mate, have to agree .

Last nights game followed the trend of recent A-league matches, that of no meaningful possession building and a game riddled with over-physical challenges.

Its realy the 'soft fouls' that arent being called (which should be) . For example a player being impeded, or being backed into by a defender... These challenges are not called
Thats probably the most alarming thing

Sometimes the big fouls are called on (like really bad challenges) but often the result is no more than a talking to.. when it shouldve been a yellow card. Or a yellow card when it shouldve been a red card..
(e.g Tiatto and Muscat)

Commentators dont really help at times, saying things like "There wasnt much in that". I mean, to us it may look like that, but if a player gets clipped and tripped up.. then its a foul.. i mean this is a limited contact sport.. and thats the way it should be....

We are way too uptight about this whole diving thing since the WC (which by defintiion is a player going down with absolutely no contact). No one dives in this league really, even that Daniel guy who recieved the yellow card.. in my opinion (also the NZ commentators said at the time) he was clearly clipped and yet still got the card...
You're so onto it with this one Mike. I've just bought Collina's book, The Rules of the Game, and even after a brief perusal and reading of the first chapter, I reckon every referee should read this book. The message is to assert authority and get control of the game early. Once things are allowed to 'flow' for a bit, it's too late.

Last night's game was embarrassing for both teams, for the A-League, and for the game of Association Football. The juxtaposition with the women's soccer we're seeing at the moment is stark.
I liked ( I think it was ) Hills comment on the coverage about the Piokowski - Tiatto incident.

Something about maybe the ref didn't want to book Piokowski cause then he'd have to book Tiatto and send him off.

If that's the excuse then it's not good enough.

A cautionable offense is a cautionable offense no matter the sittuation.
Spot on Mike, Williams had a stinker.

His non awarding of what I thought were two legitimate Roar penalty claims when the score was 1-0 were, in my view,the decisive moments of the game. It's something I'll delve into in my weekly wwrap.
I had a feeling a situation like this would develop after the Asian cup - where we witnessed the worst of the worst when it comes to diving and simulation.

I think I remember Matthew Breeze or one of the Australian referees stating his view that this was a virus of the game that must be stopped.

Like all things there must be a balance. You can't decide to allow the softer fouls to go unpunished without expecting the players to start embellishing in the physicality.

Goals in football are hard enough to score without being overly physical, but when this type of refereeing is ensuing, it's damn near impossible.

Physicality will always be easier than the technique of scoring goals. The referees have to consider what kind of football the fans want to see.

Even though there was plenty of diving in the Asian cup, there was always plenty of outstanding football to be witnessed. I think the Australian culture of hate towards diving will be enough to stamp it out.
Good news

The Wellington vs Perth glory match was quite possibly the closest ive seen to proper reffing in the A-league.

alot of niggly challenges were called up, the ref wasnt afraid to dish a few cards out and YES FINALLY a red card came out... deservedly so

And still the commentators were complaining about the card... to me it was completely fair.. he got booked earlier and was holding the guys shirt and hacking him
It's interesting that the Anglo-Saxon culture take cards way too personally. You always hear the commentators trying to justify that the tackle wasn't intentional, or there was no malice in it.

The fact is that most of these tackles are just purely wreckless. The tackler may be going for the ball, but at the same time they may be putting the health of another player at risk.

Again, we must question the type of football we want to see.

This kind of leniency will only force coaches to select players that can handle the physical tackles and compromise the overall skill of the team on the park.
I can't agree that Williams is one of the better refs. I still haven't gotten over his sending off of Michael Baird for diving in the penalty box (straight red) in version 1. Clearly, Love dived and then gave us all a big wink.

And Perth don't agree with the 'anonymous' comment here on the ref of their match
'Adding to the Glory’s woes was the sending off of Dino Djulbic early in the second-half after receiving two yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes. The uncompromising central defender received his second caution from referee Peter Green following an incident involving Phoenix players Daniel and Felipe, despite replays indicating that Wellington’s two Brazilian imports had simply collided with each other.'
Unfortunately the refereeing in the a-league to date(all years) has been below par. With supposedly 2 'fifa sanctioned' refs in breeze and shields, you would expect a better standard. But these 2 guys appear to be very inconsistent. Its frustrating to watch games when you are just waiting for the official to stuff something up.
These guys need to to do a lot better.
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