November 8, 2016

Refereeing on Champions League Matchday 4 - The Crowd's Wisdom and Our Recommendations

This week's Champions League matches have offered tons of video material - almost every match offered crucial decisions to take for the respective match officials and to assess for you. Check the following videos our users Chefren, DutchRef and RayHD have collected (thanks for that!) and have your say!

Thanks to more than 220 users (this varied from video to video) who voted and had their say!

These are our recommendations and your voting results. Please click on the diagrams to enlarge them - otherwise they are maybe not totally sharp.

Penalty Area Incident - BVBSPO1 > video

Sporting #13 clearly makes careless, unfair contact with Dortmund #22’s leg inside the penalty area. A penalty kick must be awarded. Incorrect decision by the referee.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick 

Penalty Area Incident - BVBSPO2 > video

Dortmund #5 (defender) and Sporting #20 (attacker) are holding, pulling and embracing each other in a mutually unfair manner. The circumstance that the attacker started to hold at least at the same time like the defender – if not even a bit earlier – as well as the consideration that the pass into the penalty area was completely misplaced so that the incident involving #5 and #20 was slightly off the ball make us recommend “play-on” as the most reasonable solution. Correct decision.

Recommendation: No Penalty Kick, Play-On

Penalty Area Incident - PSVBAY1 > video

PSV #3 (defender) clearly holds his opponent Bayern #9 (attacker). Considering the proximity to the goal, #9’s attacking skills, being totally free in front of the goalkeeper with no other defender being able to intervene, #3 thus denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by holding. Incorrect decision by the referee.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick (+ Red Card for DOGSO)

Penalty Area Incident - BENKYI1 > video

Kyiv #24 (defender) clearly holds his opponent Benfica #4 while the ball was in play. The referee correctly awards a penalty kick  and cautions the offender.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick

Penalty Area Incident - BASPSG1 > video 
There are two player duos of interest. One player duo A fell to ground, the other duo B stayed on their feet. The holding between the attacker and defender forming the duo B was rather mutual and not enough for a penalty. The holding related to the attacker and defender forming the duo A, though, is more interesting.

PSG #8 clearly and excessively holds / pulls his opponent BAS #21 while the ball was NOT in play. And this is important. You cannot give a penalty kick for that as the holding happens BEFORE the corner-kick is executed. Just waiving play-on is no good signal either, though. 

What we recommend is the following:

a) Proactively keep an eye on player duos who start to hold (each other) before the ball is in play. The additional assistant referee (AAR) should support the referee in that.
b) The referee should quickly blow his whistle several times signalling “stop stop!”.
c) He should isolate both players and warn both players to refrain from holding (otherwise free-kick or penalty kick!). Body language plays a significant role here. Make gestures that allow the audience to understand your preventive warning.
d) The referee should then walk back to his position and order the corner-kick to be executed / repeated.
e) If then the holding goes on while the ball is in play, the appropriate sanction has to be enforced.
f) If there have been no signs of a potential holding offence of the extent we see in the video, then the referee might quickly get into trouble if he is unsure about whether the ball has been in play or not. Ideally, the team should agree on a communication code for corner-kick or free-kick executions. The assistant could e.g. shout ready or “in play” into the micro (if available) as soon as / shortly before the free-kick or corner-kick is taken. 

Recommendation: None of that” – the corner-kick should be interrupted, an intense warning should be issued and the corner-kick has to be repeated. Play-On is not the ideal decision.

Penalty Area Incident - JUVLYO 

Lyon #5 clearly pushes Juventus #27 in his back. Although the action is no clear deliberate act to foul the opponent (but rather an intuitive action to gain some space and keep the player at distance), it nonetheless makes the opponent fall given the high speed and dynamic of the action. A yellow card is not needed. Correct decision and good body language by the referee.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick

Penalty Area Incident - LEGRMA 

Real #15 makes unfair contact with his hand by significantly touching Legia #32’s facial area inside the penalty area. However, this is actually no reason to fall like that – which does not make the infringement itself better, though. Furthermore, there is not any punishable contact at the bottom. While a penalty kick is fully justifiable due to the contact in the face, it is understandable and, for our taste, much in line with common sense to waive it away either. No clearly incorrect decision - a grey area.

Recommendation: Play-On

Penalty Area Incident - BENKYI2 > video

Kyiv #25 starts to fall before goalkeeper #1 makes inevitable, but no unfair contact with him. Pay attention to #25’s head at 0:30 in the video – he suddenly becomes stiff, pulls it away as if he is severely fouled and then falls to ground like the so-called dying swan. The referee is unfortunately deceived by him and incorrectly awards a penalty kick.

Recommendation: No Penalty Kick, Simulation (+ Yellow Card)

Penalty Area Incident - TOTLEV > video

In this video, the referee chooses a rotten compromise and lets play flow. In such particular situations, a decision has to be taken - either foul/penalty, or simulation.
Having watched the video approximately 20 times, I am pretty sure that Leverkusen #21 touches Tottenham #20’s left shoe. #21 makes a clear step towards the ball, but misses it. His leg is therefore going out and causing the light but effective contact. #20 therefore cannot be blamed for falling, seeking a contact or whatsoever. 
Coming to a conclusion, I can only say “Good luck, Video Assistant Referees”. Extremely difficult situation which makes both decisions acceptable and understandable – penalty and simulation. But Play-On is, although the golden middle – incorrect.

Recommendation: Rather a Penalty Kick

Penalty Area Incident - CITBAR1 > video

Although it is laudable that the referee decides something instead of choosing the comfortable, but incorrect compromise “Play-On”, he unfortunately takes the wrong decision. While it might look different from his perspective and even from the first replay, the second replay clearly shows the punishable contact of #23. #7 therefore does not deceive the referee but has to get a penalty awarded. Unfortunately an incorrect decision - nonetheless, it is better to take a wrong alternative compared to not choosing any potentially possible alternative.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick

Handball - PSVBAY > video 

Not every handball is an offence. Handballs have to be deliberate in the sense of the Laws of the Game.

In this case, we have to highlight some things:
- The whole action happens extremely quickly without much time to think or react.
- Shortly before touching PSV #18’s hand, it is unexpectedly deflected by Bayern #32.
- The arm is slightly outstretched from the body, but in a completely natural and player-typical position.
- The ball moves towards the hand and not vice versa.
- The arm is not tensed but clearly waives away after being touched, which supports that it is an unexpected ball and no deliberate handball. 

All in all, a wrong decision.

Recommendation: No Deliberate Handball, Play-On

Handball - PORBRU > video 

In this case, the arm is unnaturally high and significantly outstretched, enlarging the body surface. Although it is rather accidental, the hand position is simply negligent and therefore deliberate in the sense of Law 12. Referees should be reminded on anticipatively moving to always seek the best position possible instead of being rooted to the ground due to a too stationary positioning. Incorrect decision.

Recommendation: Deliberate Handball, Penalty Kick

Handball - BESNAP > video

Napoli #19’s hand is in a position which allows both interpretations. It might be considered as player-typical in this particular situation to maintain balance. However, it is a bit too highly raised and a bit too far outstretched. It leaves an impression like “it should not be up there” and carelessly prevents a dangerous pass from reaching the penalty area. This is a good example of a handball which is absolutely not deliberate in the sense of the word, but rather deliberate in the sense of the laws. Correct decision.

Recommendation: Deliberate Handball, Penalty Kick

Handball - CITBAR > video

We are aware that this handball is not deliberate if we take the criteria we usually apply for defenders. The hand is in front of the body, not outstretched. It is not moving towards the ball, but the ball moves towards the hand. 

However, it is pretty clear that #10 somehow knows what he does. The ball would be never deflected to #8 in that way from the stomach or any other part of the body. 

On the field of play and considering the criteria existing to assess handballs, the referee’s decision to award the goal is fully understandable and rather the correct one. However, this video shows the need to think about what specific criteria should be established to assess handballs of attacking players. We / You / UEFA are pretty good in assessing handballs of defenders. This goal or Neymar’s disallowed goal in CL Final 2015 show that the same does not count for attacking players’ handballs. One can doubt whether the current criteria hold for the cleverness of players like Aguero.

Based on today's guidelines, a rather correct decision.

Recommendation: No Deliberate Handball, Play-On, Goal, Kick-Off

Severity of Offences - LUDARS > video

Arsenal #29’s tackle looks more harmless than it is. High speed, stretched foot, studs shown half a metre above the turf making intense contact with the opponent’s knee. As #29 uses excessive force and clearly endangers his opponent’s safety, he should be sent off for serious foul play (SFP) with a red card. A yellow card is not enough.

Recommendation: Red Card for Serious Foul Play

Severity of Offences - BENKYI > video

In this case, the referee unfortunately has a 0° angle to the tackle and probably relies on his intuition or the delayed input of one of his teammates. Even though he plays the ball, the offender uses excessive force (stretched foot, studs shown) and makes strong, dangerous contact at #5’s backheel and calf 20 cms above the pitch (look at the movement of the foot after the contact...). The yellow card is, based on the replays, an incorrect decision.

The offender clearly endangers the safety of the opponent and uses excessive force – red card for serious foul play.

Recommendation: Red Card for Serious Foul Play

Severity of Offences - BASPSG > video
Basel #6 stamps on his opponent’s ankle with some intention behind it (the ball is already away). Although the contact is rather low, which normally supports deeming it as a reckless tackle, the force is quite high and actually excessive. Due to the type of contact – not only the shoe, but also the ankle is hit – he clearly endangers the safety of the opponent. Although a yellow card is no clear mistake for us - and the majority of you prefer that as well -, we prefer a red card for serious foul play.

Recommendation: Red Card for Serious Foul Play 

Severity of Offences - GLACEL > video

In the reality of the game, the yellow card is fully accepted – nothing else is wanted by either side. Based on the videos, Gladbach #6 sees his opponent coming, takes the risk of endangering his facial area and in the end also uses high force. He does not have any control of his own body and foot. Such tackles should not be tolerated and taken out of the game – we do not have to wait until blood is flowing as referees. Incorrect decision.

Recommendation: Red Card for Serious Foul Play

DOGSO? - GLACEL > video

In this situation the referee proofs excellent match reading and takes a brave decision. The attacker maybe does not have the best shooting angle, but it is still an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Shortly before shooting, he is significantly held by his opponent Gladbach #27 and thus falls, still trying to score the goal. 

The situation would look much more like a stonewall DOGSO if he had just decided to fall without trying to shoot the ball, wouldn’t it? This should not distract us, though. The foul denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity as the attacker is unable to control his shot due to the holding. As the offence falls in a category which still demands a red card for DOGSO (a yellow card is not possible if the offence is holding!), the referee’s decision is fully correct.

Recommendation: Penalty Kick, Red Card for DOGSO

Offside? - PSVBAY > video

At the moment of the header on the goal, the later goal-scorer is in a clear offside position. The goalkeeper’s contact with the ball must be deemed as a deliberate save – i.e. an attempt to save a goal from being scored. For this reason, the attacking player “gains an advantage from being in an offside position”. In this case, his offside position becomes “active” and punishable. 
The goal should be disallowed - incorrect decision.

Recommendation: Punishable offside position – goal must be disallowed

Offside? - ATLROS > video

First of all: The final decision is correct. The ball is enlarged by the defender’s head so that the goal-scorer is not in a punishable offside position.

On grassroots level without communication system, it is justifiable to raise the flag or to make the referee see you have doubts and want to talk via body language.

At this level of football and refereeing, though, the assistant referee should never raise his flag. He practically cannot be sure that it has been the attacker who has enlarged the ball with his head (only if he is sure about that, a flag is justified).

Instead, he should wait and stand still to signalize doubts. In that case they can exchange doubts and the referee can, via micro conversation, quickly inform him that it has really been the defender who has made the header.

In the fourth minute of additional time at 1:1 in Champions League, any potential hope for a decision that might disallow the winning goal should be diffused and choked off before it develops.

Recommendation: No punishable offside position - goal must be allowed

Overview: All results


  1. On the handball videos there should be more options.

    "No penalty, no time to react."
    "Penalty, unnatural position of arm"

    1. Thanks for the proposal, but in that case we would have around 50 alternatives.

      Next time we'll use a linear scale with 6 steps or so instead of a multiple choice / dichotomous format.

  2. At handballs to include YC and RC.
    Great job!!!!

  3. As friendly appointments are already coming in, it's time for MD4 predictions ;)

    FRA-SWE: Mazic (SRB)
    NIR-AZE: F.Borbalan (ESP)
    SMR-GER: Gözübüyük (NED)
    CZE-NOR: Makkelie (NED)
    ARM-MNE: Oliver (ENG)
    DEN-KAZ: Vincic (SVN)
    ROU-POL: Skomina (SVN)
    ENG-SCO: Karasev (RUS)
    MLT-SVN: Stavrev (MKD)
    SVK-LTU: Bezborodov (RUS)
    GEO-MDA: Stieler (GER)
    AUT-IRL: Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
    WAL-SRB: Brych (GER)
    ALB-ISR: Lechner (AUT)
    LIE-ITA: Raczkowski (POL)
    SPA-MKD: Buquet (FRA)
    CRO-ISL: Kassai (HUN)
    TUR-KOS: de Sousa (POR)
    UKR-FIN: Soares Dias (POR)
    BUL-BLR: Göcek (TUR)
    LUX-NED: Gil (POL)
    SUI-FAR: Turpin (FRA)
    HUN-AND: Aranovsky (UKR)
    POR-LAT: Tudor (ROU)
    CYP-GIB: Yefet (ISR)
    BEL-EST: Collum (SCO)
    GRE-BIH: Rizzoli (ITA)

    1. For your info, Sidiropoulos has a match on 11 November.

    2. OK, SVK-LTU would be my guess for that.

  4. First of all, this is my first comment on this blog. I follow it since about three years and really appreciate your work here. You get quickly informed about almost everything important in (european) refereeing, I really like this great page. Please continue your wonderful work.
    I want to give my opinions about some of the mentioned situations.
    - I watched the match between Dortmund and Sporting live on TV and was really disappointed about Makkelie’s first PA decision. For me, this is a clear foul. The second situation looked for me in live speed like a foul. But I think replays proved me wrong, the holding by defender is not enough and the attacker holds a bit too. But I think Makkelie should try to start 100% concentrated in the match, I had the impression he wasn’t. The rest of the match he hadn’t any big problems, so I think he was not concentrated enough to evaluate the first situation correctly.
    - PSV vs BAY: The holding on Lewandowski should be punished with a penalty, I think. It was too blatant and disturbed Lewandowski in his action. The handball penalty whistled by Rocchi was simply wrong for me. The defender hadn’t any time to react, further the ball went to the hand and not the hand to the ball. The PSV player even tried to avoid the contact. In my opinion never a penalty. I can’t explain the offside mistake of Tonolini, I remember him as a highly concentrated AR. He must had a completely blackout. He looked also quite unsure when he moved to the midline and when the BAY players protested.
    - BEN vs KYI: The penalty for Benfica was correct for me. The second one for Kyiv was wrong, I fear. In my opinion the attacker looks for a contact with the keeper and goes down far too easily and early. But I won’t blame Turpin for that because I decided after the replays, which he don’t have. The foul situation from your videos was really awful solved. Why the hell didn’t Turpin stop play right after the incident? There wasn’t any advantage or something like that! The YC he issued is OK. The player wants to play the ball and the red player “runs into his tackle”, I hope you know what I mean. It was a kind of an accident, but nevertheless a dangerous action by the blue player.

    More to follow...

    1. - BAS vs PSG: This match I also saw live, and i think Hategan showed a expected level performance. The holding on Janko isn’t enough for a penalty for me, but there are arguments for a penalty though. The 2nd YC was a good decision in the context of the game, it has been quite fair. I think that you can support both decisions, YC and red. Hategan had choosen the easier option for him. The player was sent off and won’t play the next game, also the same effect as an RC.
      - JUV vs LYO: Supportable penalty call by Kuipers. Really good body language to sell the decision. Well done!
      - LEG vs RMA: I decided for simulation in the mentioned scene. The players went down far too easily without a really impact from the defender.
      - CIT vs BAR: Kassai should have awarded a penalty for ManCity for the tripping on Sterling. But from his view, you can see this in one of the replays, it really looks like simulation. An understandable call, but nevertheless wrong. Further, never a deliberate handball before the goal. The attacker didn’t really enlarge his body surface and had the arm near the body.
      - TOT vs LEV: In the penalty situation, I decided for play on because it wasn’t really clear in the replays and I didn’t find a contact which brought him to fall.
      - POR vs BRU: In my opinion Mallenco should give a penalty in the mentioned situation. The arm was outstretched and the player could have avoided the contact.
      - LUD vs ARS: RC, for me. Xhaka didn’t want to play the ball and stretched his leg when the ball passed him already. Further, he hits the opponent around the knee.
      - GLA vs CEL: A really tricky foul situation. The player goes clear for the ball, but in a very dangerous way. I accept the YC. The penalty was correct, the RC at least “supportable”. The attacker was about to shoot from a not so dangerous direction but a shot is a good scoring opportunity. So I would accept both, YC and RC.
      - ATL vs ROS: Great work from Thomson to allow the goal. I would’t blame the AR for his offside flag, the situation was difficult to see from far away. Very well done from Thomson!

      Sorry, the text got a bit long now, but I tried to solve every scene understandable

    2. Welcome David and thank you for your precise comments! :)

    3. Hi David. Welcome here and your comments are really good. Only your comment about lack of concentration during the PK in the Borussia match is to easy in my opinion. TV showed four replays and only one replay showed that clearly that it was a PK. It's all about the right position and angle. Why should Makkelie in such an important match not be 100% concentrated. Enjoy the forum as I always do also.

    4. Although I believe that you can see the punishable nature of the tackle in 3/4 replays - which does not matter of course as the officials only had 2 perspectives - it is quite probable that the observer will mention "be concentrated from the start" as a point for improvement I think. Makkelie made a focussed impression at the lineup, anthem and coin-toss, though.

  5. OT

    15 November

    Referee: Artur Soares Dias
    AR1: Rui Licinio Tavares
    AR2: Paulo Soares
    4º official: Hugo Miguel
    VAR: Manuel de Sousa

    1. Soares Dias gets a bit of a biggie here!!

    2. Thanks for this appointment, very good game for Soares Dias even though just a friendly. Three years ago Benquerença was in the middle for this game at the same stadium, 15 November 2013.

  6. UEFA Observers for U21 PlayOffs

    Serbia-Norway: Bertrand Layec (FRA)
    Norway-Serbia: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

    Austria-Spain: Haim Jakov (ISR)
    Spain-Austria: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

    1. Very difficult to make predictions for these matches. I would say "normal" observers, no hints for guessing something more.
      However, I think we can expect mostly experienced Category 1 officials, perhaps the ones who are considered for a promotion.
      I can report the choices made 2 years ago, there was a different format with 7 play off games and a total amount of 14 referees appointed.
      Sidiropoulos (GRE), Karasev (RUS), Soares Dias (POR), Özkahya (TUR), Liany (ISR), Estrada Fernández (ESP), Hansen (DEN).
      McLean (SCO), Turpin (FRA), Makkelie (NED), Oliver (ENG), Zwayer (GER), Vad (HUN), Kružliak (SVK).

      So, my predictions for this year:

      Serbia - Norway
      Kulbakov (BLR)

      Austria - Spain
      Buquet (FRA)

      Norway - Serbia
      Taylor (ENG)

      Spain - Austria
      Martin Strömbergsson (SWE)

  7. WC Qualifiers

    Cyprus - Gibraltar
    Referee: Əliyar Ağayev (AZE)
    Assistant Referee 1: Zeynal Zeynalov (AZE)
    Assistant Referee 2: Rza Məmmədov (AZE)
    Fourth Official: Orxan Məmmədov (AZE)


    Czech Republic - Denmark
    Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)
    Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
    Assistant Referee 2: Roland Riedel (AUT)

  8. WC Qualifiers : Delferiere (Belgium) appointed on 13/11

  9. For the Porto v Club Brugge Handball incident the link is blocked so I just guessed without looking at it.

      The video works. Try again...

    2. Nope, it still says Harmful Website Blocked

    3. OK, it depends on your PC's protection, I will try to use a different video host in future.

  10. If I am not wrong, Aghayev will be the first cat2 referee in last two european qf? This is a good sign for him...

  11. Dear David I totally agree with you and with all other comments by Niclas, Ray and Chefren. By Dortmund it's clear minimum 1 big mistake bij Makkelie and we can discuss by the another moment with holding. Let we give the advantage to the ref. But for me it is incredible to read comments by JORDAN to say no penalty bij min 3th. I think then you know enough ...... This is a 7,9 or 7,4 for Makkelie

    1. You are new here and attacking Makkelie as it's seems. Are you perhaps trying to put yourself ahead as being a referee to? Strange way of talking and I am sure that Niclas Ray and Chefren will think the same. Also your name Clown sounds really strange to me. But if this is your way to make comments you are in the wrong community. Better to leave here.

    2. In the profile of Clown is written: Het lijkt erop dat je het einde hebt bereikt. Can somebody here explain me what language this is?

    3. Dutch and it means: "It seems that you've reached the end"

  12. OT
    Very, very interesting situation in Premier league match Arsenal-Tottenham. Clattenburg whistled a foul in favor of Arsenal, instead of giving advantage (yes, he missed it again) and he made gesture as he apologized for that. From that free kick Arsenal scored from own goal by Tottenham defender. Moreover, two Arsenal players were offside and the big question is did they influence the defender. I believe he wouldn't react like he did if there were no attackers behind him, who were offside.


  13. Not influence. Goal correct.


  14. My predictions:
    Czech R.-Norway, Mazic
    S.Marino-Germany, Boiko
    N.Ireland-Azerb., Vincic
    Armenia-Monten., Gil Manzano
    Romanian-Poland, Clattenburg
    Denmark-Kazakstan, Collum
    France-Sweden, Matéu
    Bulgaria- Bielorr., Aytekin
    Luxemb.-Nederland, Gestranius
    Malta-Sloven., Alon Yefet
    England-Scotland, Rizzoli
    Slovak.-Lit. Karasev
    Austria-Ireland, Hategan
    Georg.-Mold, Stavrev
    Wales-Serbia, Orsato
    Turkey-Kosovo, Taylor
    Ucrania-Finl., Madden
    Croatia-Iceland, Turpin
    Liecht.-Italy, Bezborodov
    Albania-Israel, Aranovskiy
    Spain-Macedonia, Zwayer
    Chipre-Gibraltar, Aghayev
    Grecia-Bosnia, Kassai
    Belgium-Est.- Eriksson
    Hungary-Andorra, Göcek
    Switzerl.-I.Feroe, De Sousa
    Portugal-Letonia, Tudor

  15. Simply, THANK YOU for all the videos!! great job!

  16. Huge job; very interesting and instructive. Thanks a lot and congratulations

  17. Job well done! This is very professional and educative.


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