Judgement is often a question of angles

It is a few years since we’ve had a Berks & Bucks FA referee on the Premier League, so we were pleased when Graham Scott was promoted at the beginning of this season. However, Graham came in for considerable criticism when taking his fourth Premier League game at Swansea v Sunderland.

Some of the criticism was ill judged in that he was blamed for what some thought were offside goals by veteran striker Jermaine Defoe. Replays show that only one of Defoe’s hat-trick was possibly offside and that was very tight after a mistake from the Swansea goalkeeper who parried a shot in his direction. The point however is that the goals would have stood whoever was refereeing. Offside is the particular responsibility of the assistant referee and no referee is going to over rule his assistant in such circumstances.

A criticism with perhaps more substance was the penalty awarded to Swansea for the perceived trip on striker Andre Ayew who was being closely followed by Sunderland defender Wes Brown. When Ayew went to kick the ball he tripped over and it seemed that his foot had become entangled with Brown’s. One of the television’s camera angles showed that no contact was made. This is the crux of the matter; the referee only has one angle to see what happens.

Take the case in the Everton v Manchester City Capital Cup game where Kevin Mirallas brought down Jesus Navas for what should have been a penalty. From the referee’s angle however, immediately behind Mirallas, it looked as if the Everton player had played the ball. The question of angles is impressed on all referees and particularly those at the highest levels. Fitness is important; keeping up with the play is important but even more important is the angle of view. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you’re not in the right place. That’s not making excuses for Graham Scott, just stating a fact.

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