Football administration · Referees

Collating Contentious Refereeing Decisions

Continuing from here, I am aiming to collate as many examples as possible of contentious refereeing decisions in top flight football.

This covers matches in:

  • The Premier League
  • The Championship
  • The Scottish Premier League
  • The Football League
  • Serie A
  • La Liga
  • The Bundesliga
  • The Champions League
  • The UEFA Cup

A contentious decision is any questionable decision that is likely to affect the outcome of a match, including penalties, sendings off and offside decisions.

If you are aware of any such examples, please add a comment below. If the incident is described in the mainstream media, or has been captured on video, available on the internet, please add a link.

To me, the reluctance of the football authorities to adopt video technology to address such contentious decisions clearly illustrates a reactionary leadership, lacking the capacity for progressive thought.

How referees and assistant referees are deployed in top flight matches, and how they are selected, trained, remunerated and appointed to officiate matches, are also matters that require serious re-consideration.

A discussion of some of the considerations can be found here.

As an alternative to goal-line technology and “potentially disruptive” instant TV replays, Uefa – initiated by Platini – has been looking at a new refereeing system whereby the referee is helped by four rather than two assistants.

Is the time the referee spends consulting with two extra assistants any less “disruptive” than use of video technology? More significantly, decisions will not be any less contentious.

Until a sensible resolution is found, I find myself watching professional football less and less, and, even at the age of 43, playing more.


20 thoughts on “Collating Contentious Refereeing Decisions

  1. What an absolutely fantastic idea this is; I’ve wondered for a while now whether anybody could ever be bothered actually collating this information.

    FYI, I’ve been doing a little part time work too, on the Scottish SPL. I’m sick of fellow hearts fans (I’m a jambo, for my sins…) going on about how all referees are out to get us. All these decisions go agains us…blah, blah, blah.

    So, I’ve been making a few notes this season of decisions that have gone for us, when they could easily have gone against us.

    Not sure if you have these already:

    Hearts Vs St. Mirren (23rd August) – 2-1
    2 penalties awarded to Hearts (one missed, one converted). – but Hearts never get decisions going their way…

    Aberdeen Vs Rangers (23rd August) – 1-1
    Rangers last minute winner (Beasley) chalked off for offside. TV pictures show it was onside.

    Hearts Vs Celtic (13th December)
    Andy Driver’s goal – touch of offside about it. Very close anyway, could’ve gone against us.

    Hearts Vs Dundee United (20th December)
    Christian Nade attacks Dundee Utd player, only gets a yellow card. Should have had a red card. Gets taken off the park by Lazlo straight away, replaced by Obua.

  2. Excellent idea, the modern game is just too quick to rely on eyesight alone. The arguments against video technology just don’t hold up. The penalty awarded against Middlesbrough on Sat 20th Dec was a good example, by the time the referee had consulted with the linesman he could’ve checked a video replay, just as we TV viewers did, and seen that the handball was unavoidable.

  3. Ridiculous post from KingstonKing above there. Is that the best you can do? Possibly a ‘touch of offside’ about one goal (which was onside) and the referee only booking a player instead of sending him off? And what’s the Aberdeen v Rangers game got to do with Hearts?

    What about Miko’s sending off for two non-bookable offences? What about Stewart’s sending off when the 4th official saw something on tv? What about penalties being awarded then cancelled at the say so of a linesman?

    If you missed the fact that for the last few seasons Refs have had an agenda against Hearts (they even admitted it on their pre-season refs briefing!) then you are an idiot. Yes, things seem to have settled down the last month or so but don’t be so stupid as to insinuate there hasn’t been a problem in the past!

  4. Thanks for the comments to everyone above.

    What I’m looking for is primary material – links to match reports on reputable media websites that describe the incident, or to on-line videos of the incident.

  5. More from Joe Kinnear:

    “I can’t find words to express his (Dean’s) performance. If he gives a penalty for Heskey why couldn’t he for Andy Carroll?

    “Heskey has done well, thrown himself and lost his balance. But he’s 6ft 3in. The referees fall for it. At the other end Andy Carroll’s got hacked down from behind. See it on TV, see it on the tape, it’s a clear penalty. Even Stevie Bruce said the same but we didn’t get it. That sums up his performance.

    “In the last 15 minutes I always thought we’d get something out of the game. Then the penalty pops us, but you have to rely on officials to do their job, what they are supposed to do.

    “They want respect in the game but what would you say after today. I’m too sick to say anything else.”

    Lack of consistency is harder to capture.

  6. Frank Lampard’s 60th minute dismissal by Mike Riley in the game against Liverpool on Sunday was rescinded on Tuesday. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that it was 0-0 when he was sent off, but with the man advantage, Liverpool went on to 2-0.

    It is the second time in the past 12 months that Lampard has made a successful claim against a sending-off for violent conduct. In March 2008, a ban following a red card awarded at West Ham – when an assistant referee claimed the midfielder had slapped Luis Boa Morte in the face – was similarly quashed.

  7. Arsene Wenger is “incensed” with Mike Dean disallowing a goal in Arsenal’s game away to Tottenham on Sunday.

    Emmanuel Eboue felt his first yellow card was harsh. He subsequently received a second yellow card and was sent off.

  8. Not a good week for referees. Two red cards rescinded by the Football Association:

    Aston Villa’s Brad Friedel’s red card at Liverpool.

    Sunderland’s George McCartney’s at Manchester City.

    Referees are seeking “clarification”.

    Cardiff City had two players sent off in their 0-3 home defeat by Sheffield United. It’s telling when even the opposing manager (Kevin Blackwell of Sheffield United) has this to say:

    “It was a good game although there were strange decisions.

    “I am always happy when I come away from home and win.

    “You have to accept these decisions and just get on with it but I thought both red cards looked harsh to me.

    “When you are one on one in the box you are always likely to see a red card but McCormack was right in front of me when he was sent off and I honestly don’t know why he was dismissed.

  9. Howard Webb becomes the latest referee to admit he wrongly awarded a penalty to Manchester United.

    Referee Howard Webb has admitted he should not have awarded the penalty that reinforced Manchester United’s stranglehold on the Premier League.

    Tottenham led 2-0 at United on Saturday when Webb ruled Heurelho Gomes had fouled Michael Carrick, and the hosts went on to win the match 5-2.

    Webb told the BBC: “I’ve looked at it again and I think it was a mistake but we make these decisions honestly.


    “I’m disappointed as I always strive for perfection. I’ll look at the tape in detail later in the week and try to avoid it happening again in the future.

    “I never want to have a negative impact on a game and I get no pleasure from not reaching the high standards we set ourselves.

    “But show me a man who’s never made a mistake and I’ll show you a man who’s done nothing.”

    Video technology for crucial decisions, anyone …?

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