Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Step forward is a step back in crunch promotion game

In every changing room, before every match, the referee's briefing to his assistants goes something like this when they get around to penalties. "Right, I don't want to see you flag unless the keeper is taking the piss. One step or stride off his line OK, but if both are well off the line and he then takes another step forwards, then I want to see the flag."
It has proved impossible to adhere strictly to the Law, which states that goalkeepers must stay on their line when a penalty is taken. The very act of throwing themselves to the left or right often makes them take a step forward. The trend was set a few years ago when, Buffon it was, I believe, took two almighty strides forward and saved a penalty with no reaction from the referee.
Peterborough goalkeeper Joe Lewis has every right to be aggrieved that the officials twice penalised him for being off his line and saving the ball, when he was only a foot from the line at most.
So what were the assistant and referee Andy Woolmer thinking of? The only explanation I can think of is that Woolmer decided, at the climax of the season, to clamp down on goalkeepers. I would humbly suggest the start of the season is the best time to clamp down. Become known as the ref who doesn't let you move an inch. But not after a season in which dozens, nay hundreds of goalkeepers have taken far larger steps forwards and remained unpenalised.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it was the assistant rather than the ref who took this issue on, obviously depending on what the refs instructions were pre-match. I heard the assistant has just been promoted and the game was on TV so maybe a combination of the both meant he was a bit keener than usual. I know Millwall weren't too happy about it either and they benefited from the decision!