Friday, December 23, 2011

Baseball (Offseason) Ejections: Dario Rivero, Jr. and Jairo Martinez

HP Umpire Dario Rivero, Jr. ejected Leones catcher Yorvit Torrealba for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Caribes-Leones game. With one out and none on, Torrealba swung and missed at a 2-2 slider from Caribes pitcher Alex Serrano. Replays indicate all pitches to Torrealba were correctly ruled including a disputed strike call earlier in the at bat, the call was correct. After his ejection, Torrealba began yelling at Rivero, Jr., ultimately throwing an open hand slap at Rivero, Jr.'s face mask.* At the time of the ejection, the Caribes were leading 3-2. The Caribes ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

Prior to Torrealba's ejection, 1B Umpire Jairo Martinez ejected Caribes shortstop Luis Nunez for arguing an out call in the top of the 8th inning of the Caribes-Leones game. With none out and one on, Nunez bunted a 0-1 fastball from Leones pitcher Darwin Culliban. Culliban fielded the bunt, threw to Leones shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera for a fielder's choice force out, who threw to second baseman Marwin Gonzalez, covering first, for a ground bunt double play. Replays are unavailable, this call is inconclusive. At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 2-2. The Caribes ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

* Had Torrealba battered or assaulted this umpire in the United States, and the umpire elected to press charges and/or pursue the matter in civil court if damages were present, the umpire (or referee, linesman, judge, or other sports official in any sport) would receive enhanced protections in several states because 21 states have officiating assault laws (19 criminal + 2 civil). States with enhanced penalties for assault or battery against a sports official in commission of his or her duties include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

If your state does not currently have enhanced penalties for assault or battery on or against a sports official (or even if your state does), you may request a NASO Assault Legislation Packet at These packets are available by request free of charge to NASO members.

*Source: Referee Magazine (pp. N4-N5, July 2011 Issue) 

News: Click here for a brief history of players punching, battering and assaulting umpires (b/r)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ajax vs. AZ: Referee Correct to Red Card Goalkeeper for Kicking Fan Who Attacked

An intoxicated 19-year-old spectator invaded the pitch during Wednesday's Dutch Cup Ajax vs. AZ Alkmaar soccer match, ultimately resulting in the contest's premature termination.

AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado kicks a pitch invader
Field intrusions at any level are no laughing matter. Hooligans in all sports have been known to wreak havoc after making it into the open field, especially when a player or referee just happens to be nearby when the playing area is being invaded.

So when this spectator—not to be confused with a fan, for fans do not commit such irresponsible and dangerous actions—encroached upon the playing field and attacked AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, the Costa Rican keeper justifiably fought back.

Yet Alvarado didn't stop after simply kicking his attacker to the ground. He continued wailing on the subject long after he became incapacitated.

The incident occurred during the contest's 35th minute, with Ajax leading 1-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA, and resulted in match referee Bas Nijhuis issuing a red card to Esteban.

Per FIFA Law 12—Fouls and Misconduct—violence of any nature is listed as a sending-off offense. Specifically, the Laws of the Game rules book states, "a player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offences...violent conduct."

Furthermore, the law states a player "is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against...and other person."

Alvarado's extra activity—continuing to kick his attacker after his attacker had already been decked—represented conduct in excess of force appropriate and reasonable to protect himself and was correctly penalized by a send-off penalty.

The rules further specify that disciplinary sanctions, including a send-off, are to be used whenever a player "commits a cautionable or sending-off offence...[towards] any other person." This includes spectators who have invaded the pitch, which are known as "outside agents" under FIFA Law 3.

However, Alkmaar coach Gert Jan Verbeek might have saved his team by ordering them to leave the pitch after the 35th minute incident.

Referee Nijhuis was then forced to abandon the match, which means Dutch Cup officials and FIFA will now determine whether to resume, conclude or replay the match. Per Law 8, this match likely will be replayed.

Complicating matters, the Amsterdam ArenA is Ajax's home field, meaning a supporter of the home team evaded the home team's field security to attack a visiting player.

Because Verbeek and Alkmaar club director Toon Gerbrands had gone on the record saying, "The players didn't feel safe anymore." FIFA will encounter a complex situation in determining whether Alvarado will or will not be eligible when the match is replayed or resumed.

It is almost always the home team's responsibility to provide adequate security during events. The security staff must ensure the safety of both teams and other on-field personnel, while assuring absolutely no outside agents—streakers, attackers or otherwise—get within striking distance of any person they have been designated to protect.

Ajax security clearly failed to adequately protect the players—stewards should have arrived on scene far before Alvardo started excessively beating the outside agent—and as a result, officials will have to consider whether this match was abandoned because of Ajax's security failing, Alkmaar's voluntary withdrawal in protest or a combination of the two.

Because play could not continue after the outside agent's field intrusion and before Alkmaar's voluntary withdrawal from the pitch, Nijhuis' report to FIFA and Dutch football officials will play a huge role in determining who is at fault for the match's abandonment—specifically whether Nijhuis abandoned the match due to "infringement of the Laws" or due to "outside interference of any kind" (Law 5).

If officials determine the match was abandoned because of both an Ajax security lapse and Alkmaar's protest, they will have to consider what one event was most at fault for causing the game's vacation.

In the grand scheme of things, there are responses which are appropriate and proportional to the stimuli that produce such reactions and there are responses which are not.

In the end, Alvarado was correctly disciplined for his infringement of the Laws, clearly violating the "excessive force" component of Law 12 by kicking the outside agent while said agent was down and no longer an imminent threat.

Alvarado's reaction was over the line per FIFA Laws, an illegal offense punishable by no less than a send-off, which is exactly what happened March 8, 2011 when Dorchester Town's Ashley Vickers was ejected for tackling a Borat-inspired streaker to the ground.

As for the person who committed the field intrusion, he was arrested and should expect penalties, not the least of which will be a multi-year ban from Ajax facilities.

Related Post: Soccer Ejections: Bas Nijhuis

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Soccer Ejections: Bas Nijhuis

Continuing the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League "Other Sports" coverage, we turn to Wednesday's Dutch Cup (soccer).

For a more in depth explanation of this play and call, click here.

Referee Bas Nijhuis sent off (ejected) AZ Alkamaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado for violent conduct in the 35th minute of the AZ Alkmaar-Ajax Dutch Cup match. A spectator had invaded the pitch and was running straight for Alvarado. Alvarado defended himself with a kick that knocked the 19-year-old field intruder to the ground. After the initial strike, however, Alvarado continued to kick the intruder until security stewards shooed him away. Per FIFA Law 12, Alvarado was ejected for violent conduct. Even though the violent conduct was brought on because of a spectator's intrusion (called "outside agents" in FIFA's Laws of the Game), Alvarado used "excessive force or brutality against" another person, an automatic send-off offense, even if the other person happens to be an outside agent.

This call is correct per 2011's UEFL Rule 6.b.ii.e., which governs ejections for Fighting; this call would be irrecusable (neither correct nor incorrect) per 2012's UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5. At the time of the ejection, Ajax was leading, 1-0. The match was abandoned as a result of AZ coach Gert Jan Verbeek protesting the red card and safety circumstances. KNVB recently rescinded the red card, but has not yet decided whether to replay, resume or forfeit the contest.

Wrap: (Match information unavailable because match was abandoned)
Video: Hooligan attacks goalie, keeper is sent off for violent conduct, match is abandoned
News: Ajax vs. AZ: Referee Correct to Red Card Goalkeeper for Kicking Fan Who Attacked