Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Missed Goal: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?

Soccer refereeing has long relied on just three on-field officials—a referee and two assistants, one on each side line. In 2010, and in response to technology confirming a slew of missed calls at or near the goal line, the UEFA Executive Committee in 2010 approved a proposal to add two assistant referees to either goal line, effectively giving the sport two goal judges authorized to rule handballs, penalties and other issues of play involving the scoring of a goal.

Replays appear to indicate this ball, ruled no goal,
actually and fully crossed the goal line. (Video link)
Since the two-year trial was adopted following UEFA's proposal to FIFA, five on-field officials (one referee and four assistants) have become a welcome sight on European football pitches, with the fourth and fifth goal officials added to the 2012 UEFA EURO qualifying phase and final tournament.

Yet in opting for additional on-field officials at the expense of incorporating instant replay technology, the UEFA has maintained the status quo of the human element, a fate that significantly factored into play during Tuesday's England-Ukraine Group D match.

With England at a one goal advantage and the Ukraine needing a win to remain alive in UEFA EURO tournament play, the Ukraine found themselves with an opportunity to equalize in the 62nd minute. At 61:40, an attempted score appeared to fully cross the goal line before being kicked out by an English defenseman.

Had goal opportunities been subject to instant replay review, there is little doubt video evidence would have overturned this call. Nonetheless, the goal line official positioned several yards from the near post ruled the ball never fully crossed the goal line, preserving England's 1-0 lead.

Conversely, the sideline assistant referee failed to call a proper offside against Ukraine several seconds earlier, raising the total to two missed calls on the attack, one adversely affecting either squad.

In this case, the fact of the uncalled offside infraction may just make that missed goal call a little easier to swallow for the Ukraine, while England may point to the earlier no-call as evidence that two wrongs may indeed make a right.


Anonymous said...

Both were bad calls, the officials got lucky that they canceled out.

Anonymous said...

"Two wrongs make a right, Lisa." (HJS)

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