Unfortunately our advertised guest speaker, Eamonn Dolan, Reading FC Academy Manager, had to call off his proposed visit due to footballing commitments with the first team. Stepping into the breach was our very own Stephen Green who will soon be celebrating 30 years since qualifying as a referee.
Stephen brought forward a session we were due to run later in the season and as a follow up from part of what Jim de Rennes’ session had covered in January – The challenges when officiating at corner kicks.
As a collective we considered the issues and fouls that may occur at a corner and, with a little use of our imagination, encouraged members to take up position in our imaginary penalty area.
The first thing we would be looking for was said to be goalkeepers being blocked by an attacker. This invariably leads to a defender trying to get between the goalkeeper and the attacker, which creates all the pushing and shoving that often takes place. It was here that Stephen suggested we can be proactive by reminding the players of the consequences if they carried on after the ball was in play.
It is also common to find defenders standing nearer than the permitted distance to the corner arc. Here it helps to check the distance from touch line to the edge of the penalty area prior to the game, which gives a rough guide so that the encroachers can be encouraged to retreat without have to go over and pace out the distance.
Then we had to keep an eye on attackers on the edge of the penalty area waiting to run in and jump once the ball was played into the penalty area. By now we had almost as many members on the floor as sitting out.
Now we have to think of our own positioning. Of course, said Stephen you don’t have to deal with all this at the same time, but when considering the best position to keep an eye on all these possible activities, our other function at a corner may be as goal judge.
If we are working with club’s assistants the big question is where do we stand? Remembering that players who are likely to transgress are probably watching you as well. Which matter is most important, which outcome most likely?
Stephen’s view was that the goal line was more important because even if there was a quick breakaway it was unlikely to lead to such a crucial decision having to be made as whether the ball has or hasn’t crossed the line.
Our thanks to Stephen for providing an entertaining and thought provoking evening.