Saturday, October 27, 2007


The Three-Second Foul

The refereeing in this year’s A-League continues to disappoint.

In last night’s Melbourne v. Newcastle game, we had another sendoff which was, in itself, unobjectionable. But events surrounding the dismissal again raised concerns that referees have been taking a selective (to put it politely) approach to sanctions this season.

Here’s the situation: Steve Pantelidis, making a run out of defence, is held back repeatedly by Joel Griffiths (who is fast becoming the A-League’s most unpopular player, thanks to his assorted antics). No reaction from the referee, Matthew Breeze.

Finally, Pantelidis lashes out, as most people do when being harassed physically for a considerable period of time.

Of course, retaliation such as that generally incurs a red card. It did in this case.

But no sanction for Griffiths, despite his quite deliberate and continuous attempt to block Pantelidis’ run.

Yet the referee must have noticed Griffiths’ obstruction, because immediately following the send-off, there was…a free kick to Melbourne!

So why the hell didn’t Breeze call the earlier foul?

It is just unreasonable to expect players to endure several seconds of unpunished fouling without attempting to extricate themselves in some way – and it will usually be a forceful way. The rules are clear, but the refs have to use some common sense.

Breeze hardly distinguished himself in other areas last night either. Griffiths was later given a yellow card for a legitimate tackle, and an obvious penalty for Melbourne was not given.

This is the same referee, too, who failed to send off Jade North for a blatant head-butt that occurred right in front of him in last year’s minor semi-final, and who famously considered assailing a linesman’s genitals a fairly trivial offence a few rounds ago.

At what point in this competition do a referee’s performances earn him a spell on the sidelines?

Having said all that, it was difficult to feel sorry for Melbourne and Ernie Merrick after last night’s game. Three defensive midfielders on the park again, and a painfully obvious lack of width; even the full-backs weren’t of much help on this occasion, with Matthew Kemp on his wrong foot and Joe Keenan looking decidedly one-dimensional of late.

Time for Adrian Caceres to start, I feel.

83 mins to bring on Caceres....I was stumped!
the thing that really gets me, is in the gab between the nsl and the A-league, whenever I suggested referering standards needed to be improved I got told there was more important things to worry about.

Breeze is fucking shit. End of story. I'm constantly amazed at him being held in high regard. Along with Shields, who is also awful.

There's 35 refs on the list.

time to give some of the others ago.
I also agree that Caceras needs to start. Also with Panta out I wonder whether the exiled Milicevic may have to be considered.
Merrick is simply being obstinate like one John howard.

Griffiths should have been booked, a yellow, which would have meant next time you're off mate.

An elbow is ALAWYS a red card no matter what the provocation is.
New a-league blog, related directly to the refs performances.
forgot the address

The website you put there says the panel consists of 12 refs and 22 assistants. With 35 there, they clearly can't add. Never mind that there have been 36 officials involved in this A-League season so far!

Alright, so the Refs are those that have either refereed a match or taken the position of 4th official (as this is the official who would replace the main referee in case of accident, injury, etc.)

The list I came up with is as follows:
Angelo Nardi (WA)
Ben Williams (ACT)
Chris Beath (QLD)
Craig Zetter (SA)
James Lewis (NSW)
Kevin Docherty (VIC)
Mark Shield (QLD)
Matthew Breeze (NSW)
Michael Hester (NZL)
Peter Green (QLD)
Peter O'Leary (NZL)
Simon Przydacz (NSW)
Srebre Delovski (NSW)
Steven Gregory (WA)

Angelo Nardi has apparently removed himself from the panel, leaving 13 Refs.

Beath, Lewis, Docherty, Hester, Delovski, Gregory are the ones yet to have a run.
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