Monday, October 27, 2014

Man Utd-Chelsea grappling brings unspoken controversy to the surface - where do refs stand for corners?

When I'm refereeing, I stand in the position where I have the best view of all the action taking place in the penalty area. That may not sound too controversial, but it is. Take a look at the Laws of the Game on There's a diagram there telling refs where to stand for a corner. The problem is that it makes life more difficult for an official, not easier.

Phil Dowd has understandably copped a fair bit of criticism for failing to spot a couple of huge fouls from a corner at Old Trafford on Sunday, when two United defenders got a couple of Chelsea players into headlocks and dragged them to the ground.
Dowd clearly didn't see it, otherwise I'm sure he would have penalised it. But the incident highlights the problems of listening to the formal advice and doing what makes sense. Under FIFA guidance, the referee is obliged - and Yes an assessor would immediately pick him up if he ignores FA and FIFA guidelines - to stand in a position that enables him to keep the actuion between him and his Assistant.
Good common sense, but the problem is that standing in that position often means the referee is staring through a crowd of players trying to work out what happened, from a position about five yards in from the edge of the penalty area. Dowd could see what was happening if the ball went to the near post, but not if it went over that small group of players to the far post, where more players were waiting.
And that's where the two fouls took place.
There's a solution, and Mark Clattenburg showed it last week, when he took up a more square on position close to the penalty D and was able to see the wrestling perfectly, awarding a penalty as a result.
Don't get me wrong; spotting fouls in the penalty area is a lottery. It's crucial to watch the actual spot where the ball lands to see if a goal is scored or denied illegally, so it's easy to miss fouls taking place elsewhere.
But referees really should react to where the players are or the most action is and adapt their positions accordingly.

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