Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The mystery of Deco's red card

I've just finished reading several thousand words on free kicks by Julian Carosi, a referee/writer who's perhaps the most knowledgeable ref outside the elite panel in Britain. He confirmed the view that Chelsea's Deco should have not received a second yellow card for a free kick offence from veteran Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo, one of Fifa's top officials. (
Awarded a free kick just outside Roma's penalty area, Cantalejo signalled clearly to Deco that the free kick was to be a "ceremonial" one, not taken until the wall was in place and all was ready. He could clearly be seen showing Deco the whistle, the universal signal to wait until the ref gives permission for play to restart.
But Deco, having apparently agree to this, then took a quick free kick. Cantalejo quite correctly stopped play, but he then cautioned Deco and sent him off. It's that punishment that I don't understand.
As far as I can see, the correct sanction is simply to order the free kick to be retaken, and the offence does not result in a caution. I would be delighted to be proved wrong if anyone out there is reading this.
The free kick is generally what it says: Free. Players are free to take quick free kicks. It makes the game exciting. But if there is a reason not to take it quickly - an injury, player to be disciplined etc - then the ref shows the apparent free kick taker the whistle and tells him to wait. It's all pretty universally understood.
Perhaps Deco was booked for unsporting behaviour, for trying to trick the referee. But in fact he should sinply have been hauled back to take the quick properly. Deco would have stayed on the field and who knows what might have happened.


H said...

My $.02, FWIW, YHTBT, etc:
Taking the kick after being 'clearly shown' that it was to be ceremonial could easily be put into the category of 1) Dissent or 2) Delay; both of which are (can be?) YC offenses.

OTOH, maybe by that point the referee had just had enough and put an end to constant small issues that add up to a big one which leads to the catchall USB (been there, done that).

I think that it is the players responsibility to keep themselves on the field, not the referee. Sitting on a caution and acting like that is stupid. Why take the chance? There is no requirement that the second caution has to be of such magnitude as to be equal to a straight send off. A player sitting on a caution needs to make sure he doesn't earn a second caution, not be able to act with impunity figuring that the referee will 'keep him on the field' with the 'that is not bad enough for a send off' mentality. Keeping that player on the field is a disservice to the next referee . . .

Steve the Ref said...

Agreed, h! Personally, I would consider the offense to be delaying the restart of play, although USB (attempting to trick the referee) sounds like a reasonable explanation as well. I couldn't agree more that it is the PLAYER'S responsibility to act within the scope of the rules if he wishes to continue playing. It is not up to the referee to twist and contort the rules to "allow" some knobshine to continue playing merely because he has already earned a caution. As a ref, I have no vested interest in seeing you continue to play. Presumably, you, as the player,have such an interest. In that case, start acting like it.

Fat Ref said...

a touch confrontational today Steve. Guessing you didn't get a big breakfast! I would argue that if we are struggling to find a law with which to batter the aforementioned "knobshine", perhaps that's an indicator we're trying too hard. I'm not going to give you delaying the restart when he took it too quickly. I'm guessing USB was what went down in the book.

Steve the Ref said...

Well,he's delaying ther restart because when he takes the kick early, knowing full well that you have instructed him to wait for the whistle, you must then whistle the ball dead AGAIN, and wait while everyone mills about in "confusion" and tries to figure out how far 10 yards is, again, etc. You'll probably waste at least 30 seconds doing that, thus the card for delaying. USB would certainly fit the bill too, so I wouldn't object to that either. In any case, he's clearly attempting to gain an advantage by circumventing the rules, so a card is clearly in order. Again, it should be Deco's responsibility to see to it that his behaviour is keeping within the rules. Rules, I might add, that he is obviously quite aware of. Cheers to Mr. Cantalejo!