A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Football and video evidence

Post 1

Sho - with added slapping hand

OK. Having a twitter convo with someone. There was a handball / goal incident yesterday (WBA vs West Ham, I think) where neither the ref nor the asst referee* saw it. So the goal stands.
Chap on twitter says "video evidence would stop that"

I say "how?" and my reasoning is that if it goes as Ice Hockey, Rugby, American Football - the ref has to request a look at the video. If he doesn't think there was anything untoward, and the asst referee* didn't flag it, how would video evidence help? Neither of them would ask to see evidence since they both saw what they think/know was a regular goal.

(I think he's arguing with me because my reproductive organs are on the inside - but I want to run my thinking by normal people)

*in this case the Asst Ref should go to specsavers forthwith because it was directly in his line of sight and he wasn't impeded in his viewing in any way whatsoever. I would have been singing "we know where your car is"


Football and video evidence

Post 2

swl

The problem with video evidence is the authorities would probably choose someone even more incompetent than the ref to watch it.

Officially it is the role of the referee to interpret and enforce the laws so any incident is open to the referee's interpretation.

Yes the defender did take a baseball bat out of his sock and clobber the opposition striker but if in the referee's interpretation this was accidental then there's no foul.


Football and video evidence

Post 3

Icy North

You're right, of course, Sho.

Rugby and cricket employ a separate referee (TMO - television match official)) to look at video evidence. In each case, it has to be requested after the play stops. In rugby, the ref requests it if he's not sure (and you can understand he's not always able to see if a ball was grounded for a try under that pile of players). In cricket the teams have a couple of appeals each.

Football doesn't do it because it stops the flow of the game. Rugby and cricket are stop-start, so it's no big deal.

Yes, football referees get it wrong - frequently - but it does even out over the course of a game or a season. I've never seen a referee that was biased, and you shouldn't judge them by the amount of jeering from the mob in the terraces. Partisan crowds will bay for anything. I certainly do.


Football and video evidence

Post 4

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

wibble


Football and video evidence

Post 5

Hoovooloo

Having watched some football (and rugby) it's always struck me forcefully that what people call "the rules" are really just suggestions, guidelines you might say. In the case of rugby they are clearly so complicated, numerous and obscure that most of those watching couldn't, at any given time, accurately describe why a penalty had been given, say, and professional referees are quite open about letting infringements of the rules pass in the name of preserving "the flow of the game". Meanwhile in football the maladjusted millionaires who play are heavily motivated to cheat at every opportunity, and do so basically all the time. Video technology has been available to fix these issues not for weeks or months but *decades*, and clearly the players, officials and fans prefer to watch people constantly cheating. Which is fair enough, if that's what you like, but it's why I (a) don't ever watch those sports and (b) have no comprehension why anybody else would.

Note: I do appreciate that these sports produce sublime moments - Gazza's goal against Scotland in Euro 96 transcends sport and you don't need to be a fan to be impressed. It's just the sheer ocean of dross you have to be able to tolerate to reach one of those moments that I can't stand - life's too short.


Football and video evidence

Post 6

Icy North

I've said this before, but probably the most ridiculously unfair thing about football is when a player gets sent off. If it's early in the game, not only is it a massive blow to one team, but it makes for a dull spectacle, as one side has to play defensive containment for the rest of the game. If however it's towards the end of the game, the team only has to survive a few minutes with ten players. If you're a goal ahead, it's worth cheating - committing a professional foul - to preserve your lead. The short suspension the player receives is nothing to teams who have huge squads of international players.

Yes, they are motivated to cheat.


Football and video evidence

Post 7

Otto Fisch ("Soft play area with free bananas; Iguana Andy and his... iguanas")


Think it's worth distinguishing between questions of fact and questions of interpretation. Whether the ball has fully crossed the goal line or the try line or the base line is an issue of fact, but often penalties, red or yellow card offences, diving etc are questions of interpretation. Even offsides can be.

Another problem is that fans don't know the rules as well as they think they do. And some experts don't appear to either, even though it's their job. I'm still hearing commentators talk about someone being "the last man" when bringing down an opponent, even though that's not a thing (as I believe the kids say). And I think some rules perhaps don't make a lot of sense... perhaps I just don't understand it, but the handball rule in football seems odd and inconsistently enforced, depending on where abouts on the pitch an offence occurs.

I'd love to believe that dodgy decisions even out of the course of a season, but I'm not convinced they do. We're so prone to confirmation bias as a species I'd be amazed if officials weren't prone to it. I tend to think that decisions tend to go in favour of the Big Sky Teams. The thresholds for bookings seem different for different teams, particularly for dissent, and some teams get a weirdly large number of penalties.


Football and video evidence

Post 8

Hoovooloo

I listened to a podcast by David Baddiel in the "Tries to understand" series (which I highly recommend). He "tried to understand" the rules of rugby. And it rapidly became apparent that basically nobody, not even the most hardcore of fans, understands the rules of rugby, and that far from being "inconsistently enforced" they are actually *deliberately ignored* by referees when they feel like it.

See also this Guardian article, where the writer ridicules and slags off an amateur referee for having the sheer gall to know and enforce the rules of the game: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/jan/19/rugby-union-professional-youth-amateur-game


Football and video evidence

Post 9

Baron Grim

The major US team sprots, football (hand egg) and baseball, have relied on "instant replay review" for many years now. It was typically resisted then widely adopted and appreciated by fans, teams, and officials.

I expect the same will be the case with your football. Does cricket have instant replay yet?


Football and video evidence

Post 10

Icy North

One thing the rugby referees do is shout warnings, like "Leave it, Blues!" when a player is in an offside position and about to commit a foul. Or "Use it!" when a team is hanging on to a ball too long in the ruck. Some of the refs (notably the Welshman Nigel Owens) never stop yelling throughout the match. It seems to reduce the number of penalties and keep the game flowing, but you wonder how much they are subliminally orchestrating the play.


Football and video evidence

Post 11

Sho - with added slapping hand

I don't think most football players cheat, but I do think that some of them (probably a lot of them) do indulge in gamesmanship.

There is a fair bit of diving - or really making a meal of falling over but so many of them do that, it's getting silly. Some refs are pretty good about spotting it and we regularly see warnings, if not yellow cards for it.

Sendings off and yellow cards too early in a game irritate me, they can kill a game as (was it Otto or Icy?) described upthread. I'd like a bit of sin-bin action like rugby and ice-hockey. But when there is a bad tackle early on what's a ref to do?

I also applaud the handing out of yellow cards to players who roll around on the ground waving a pretend yellow card at the ref in an attempt to influence him.

Gladbach had a player sent off last season against... ah, can't remember (it was Xhaka for anyone who knows footy - surprised, right?) at the time they were 1-2 down and went on to win 3-2 so it is possible, but it is hard flipping work. It was one of the few thrillng games I've seen with a player missing.


Football and video evidence

Post 12

Icy North

{But when there is a bad tackle early on what's a ref to do?}

I think there should be enforced substitutions instead, and then a punitive suspension (5+ games) for the player.


Football and video evidence

Post 13

Baron Grim

I don't watch football, but I do like the occasional miracle cure.

http://youtu.be/EC6N22irYmw

http://youtu.be/XLDdmpV_fkE


Football and video evidence

Post 14

Icy North

It's a lot of fun in the crowd when a terminally ill player hops to his feet. We all shout "It's a miracle!" in Life of Brian style.


Football and video evidence

Post 15

swl

We sing "Dig a hole" when a player's lying mortally wounded after tripping over his own feet.

There was an opposition player a couple of seasons ago who dived spectacularly in the box, even letting out a piercing shriek as our defender leaned against him causing his legs to snap apparently. As he rolled and wailed barely 10 yards in front of us and the referee was surrounded by protesting players he looked up at us and grinned. Damned near caused a riot as fans surged towards the pitch.


Football and video evidence

Post 16

swl

As to the bad tackle early on, in 1986 Uruguay singled out Charlie Nicholas in the first minute for a horror tackle. The Uruguayan player was sent off but Uruguay went on to kick lumps out of everything that moved the rest of the match but the ref barely reached for his card. By rights he could easily have sent off at least two more players.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fujRt5TF6jM


Football and video evidence

Post 17

Sho - with added slapping hand

I like the idea of a sin-bin, a 10 minute power play can make all the difference.

Over here they tend to sing "auf wiedersehen" when someone gets stretchered off, which I really really hate. Happened to one of our players early on last season and it turned out he had one of the worst injuries to his knee that I've ever seen. Out for months. At the time a lot of people said the player who did that should be suspended for as long as our guy was out of the game. (5 months, harsh)

mind you, appalling refereeing being the norm means that when you see a game like the recent Gladbach/Leverkusen ding-dong (Gladbach down 2-0 at half time went on to win 2-3 - no yellow cards at all despite a robust game, excellent refereeing)


Football and video evidence

Post 18

Hoovooloo

"I don't think most football players cheat, but I do think that some of them (probably a lot of them) do indulge in gamesmanship."

Gamemanship is the opposite of sportsmanship. It's for people who want to cheat but lack the courage. Scum, in other words.

"when there is a bad tackle early on what's a ref to do?"

Enforce the damn rules of the game and punish infractions, how about that for a radical idea?

"yellow cards too early in a game irritate me, they can kill a game "

Then BLAME THE PLAYERS. Blame the managers, too, for encouraging them. And blame the doltish fans who keep watching the game and shelling out ludicrous money to do so, reinforcing the idea that cheating is the way ahead. And blame the pundits who criticise referees rather than players when cheating is punished and has an effect on the way the game is played.


Football and video evidence

Post 19

swl

So you're in two minds there Hoo?


Football and video evidence

Post 20

Otto Fisch ("Soft play area with free bananas; Iguana Andy and his... iguanas")


Issues about 'gamesmanship', sporting behaviour and cheating are much more complicated and nuanced, and not a black and white straightforward issue at all.

Some sports have social norms that aren't part of the formal rules. In cricket, you're supposed to walk before waiting to be given out if you know you're out. In football, you were (less so now) supposed to put the ball out of play so that an injured player to get treatment, and the opposition are supposed to return the ball afterwards. These vary from place to place, setting to setting, and over time.

I know from my own experience that it's easy to be sporting and admit the ball touched me last before it went out when my team is well ahead and/or when I'm not aggrieved at some real or perceived refereeing injustice earlier in the game, and/or when I've seen opponents do the same and/or depending on the importance of the game. And this isn't just me - I'd expect and accept the same consistent inconsistent behaviour from opponents.

And in some sports the rules just aren't clear or don't make obvious sense. I don't accept that any 'contact' is an excuse to sprawl headline in the penalty area, but sometimes penalties aren't given despite a clear foul because the player stays on his or her feet and still suffers a disadvantage because of the foul. Diving with no contact is at one end of the spectrum, not making superhuman efforts to stay on your feet after a clear foul is at the other, and there's a lot in the middle. And in some football cultures, it's perfectly acceptable to dive and trying to deceive the referee is part of the game.

All much more complicated.


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