Fans of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham were no doubt left delighted this week as their respective sides picked up three, feats with Manchester City and Liverpool will be looking to follow in this evenings Europe League encounters . However, while the action on the pitch was no doubt enjoyable to watch, both the fans and those in power at UEFA must once again question the roles of the officials during a match.
The stand out match to highlight this need for clarity and understanding of the role of officials was Tottenham’s 4-1 victory over FC Twente last night at White Hart Lane. While the performance and result were no doubt pleasing to the North London fans, a few of the decisions given by the referee and his assistants were questionable at best.
A match which saw a total of three penalties given through the course of proceedings is definitely a great spectacle for the neutrals, but does this excitement outweigh the desire to have a fair and honest match? Personally I don’t believe it does. In my honest opinion as a football lover, both the first and the third penalty should not have been given and I shall explain why.
The first penalty was given by referee Terje Hauge after a tussle in the penalty area caused striker Peter Crouch to go down. Hauge had no hesitation in pointing to the spot despite having an assistant placed only a few yards away from the incidence who did not flag what so ever.
The whole purpose of the extra officials placed by UEFA is to ensure that more incidents are witnessed and the correct decisions are made. However, why on earth do we have them there if the referee is then going to merely bypass this process and make his own decision without consulting an official who is clearly in a better position to give a judgement!?
In terms of the third penalty awarded to Spurs, yes the FC Twente player handled the ball in the area and under the laws of the game for that reason it should be a penalty, however, there has to be some form of common sense in the game as to whether the hand ball was intentional. For me his arm was up but he was trying to block the incoming shot and had made no specific attempt to intentionally handle the ball.
In addition to this, the referee Hauge took far too long in making his decision to award the penalty and it seemed to every one viewing the match that he himself was unsure what to do and momentarily looked for support from his assistants, which did not arrive.
Clearly being unsure as to what the correct call was, Hauge should have not given the penalty, which effectively ended the game just after Spurs went down to 10 men with the dismissal of Rafael Van Der Vaart, unless he was 100% sure that in his mind it was a penalty, and to me it seemed like he was in two minds what to do and it shouldn’t have been given.
Now for all you Spurs fans out there, I am not having a go at your team because I believe the team who came out on top last night were the worthy winners, playing attractive football and working the wings like a team who were Champions League veterans, not a side who were playing their first ever Champions League home game.
I am only stating my beliefs that UEFA must look upon last nights game as an example that clarity must be provided to enable games to be conducted in the right spirit with each side given the correct decisions by the refereeing team which they are undoubtedly due.
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