Red Card on Last Defender (Man City-Chelsea)?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by JohnR, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    First, I am an amateur, so please have patience.

    Was puzzled by an incidence in the Man City-Chelsea game this Saturday. A long ball is hit to Anelka, who is 1 vs. 1 with the final defender. As Anelka runs into the box with possession of the ball, the defender bangs into him from behind (possibly intentionally, possibly not -- the field was very slippery), sending Anelka to the ground. Whistle is blown, PK is signalled, and a yellow card is given. To loud boos from the home crowd, which wanted a red card.

    OK, so I went to look this up in the rulebook. Found nothing about the last defender being a red card offense, although that must be somewhere (where?). However, The Laws of the Game say - "A player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences: 5. denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick"

    Huh? This does not indicate discretion on the part of the referee. And most certainly, this was an obviously goalscoring opportunity that was punished by a PK. So why only the yellow?
  2. erictheking

    erictheking Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    The ref bottled it. Simple as.
  3. Englishref

    Englishref Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    London, England
    It's actually pretty simple really. Howard Webb considered Anelka to be moving away from goal (therefore not fulfilling the definition of a GSO). He probably also considered Anelka not be in control of the ball (it was 4 or 5 yards ahead of him).

    However, the main point is whether or not Anelka was considered to be going towards the goal, which in most people's opinion over here, he wasn't, and the yellow card was probably correct. :cool:
  4. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Member

    May 28, 2003
    not having seen the play, I can't comment for certain, but in general there a number of interpretive factors that a referee weighs in determining the existence of an OGSO. Including distance from the goal and direction in which the player was going. There are two other factors whose exact names are escaping me at the moment, but the basic idea is that there is interpretitve discretion in deciding what goal scoring opertunities were obviously denied.

    Also, there is a good deal of traditional discomfort with giving both a red card and a penalty. Not saying this is right, but for match control a ref might often act to "balance the equities" and feel that the double penalty might be too harsh for the foul. The second issue will draw a lot more fire here, but some refs feel this way and I would think that this might play some role internally/subconciously for many refs.
  5. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Thank you.

    I suppose tjhat technically, yes, one could argue that if Anelka continued to run in the direction that he was going he wouldn't actually end up in goal, so therefore he wasn't heading toward goal.

    However, I have certainly seen red cards awarded in the past for tackles on an attacker who was heading in the general direction of the goal, as opposed to straight toward the goalkeeper.

    Referee's discretion, I guess.
  6. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    JR, when I took my 8 course, the red card for a DOGSO (Denial of Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity), much emphasis was placed on the word obvious and the other phrase in the law moving towards the player's goal.

    First, the goal scoring opportunity has to be obvious. The means the player has to either have control of the ball or would get it in time to have an opportunity to score. This requires the exercise of judgment.

    Second, there is a general misunderstanding that if you get fouled by the last defender, that merits a red. Not so. For example, a player could be cross field dribbling with just one player between him and goal; that foul might merit a yellow, but not a red. Why? You are not "moving towards goal."

    So, as there are two conditions for being called offside (postion and participation), so too are their two conditions for the DOGSO red: an obvious goal scoring opportunity and moving towards goal.

    Of course, as we all know, that's why they call them the Laws of the game, not the rules of the game. Laws get interpreted in the context of events.
  7. Chubbywubby

    Chubbywubby Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Denver, CO
    These criteria are called the "4 D's" and are described in Advice to Referees 12.38:

    In order for a player to be sent off for denying an "obvious goalscoring opportunity," four elements must be present:
    • Number of Defenders -- not more than one defender between the foul and the goal, not counting the defender who committed the foul
    • Distance to goal -- the closer the foul is to the goal, the more likely it is an obvious goalscoring opportunity
    • Distance to ball -- the attacker must have been close enough to the ball at the time of the foul to have continued playing the ball
    • Direction of play -- the attacker must have been moving toward the goal at the time the foul was committed

    If any element is missing, there can be no send off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Further, the presence of each of these elements must be "obvious" in order for the send-off to be appropriate under this provision of Law 12."
  8. refmike

    refmike New Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Cal North
    In the US, we have a guideline for considering an OGSO.
    It is called the 4D's

    Direction of play (toward the goal, not away)
    Distance to ball (ability to strike within a step)
    Distance to goal (ability to hit the target)
    number of Defenders (keeper plus 1 at most)

    If any element is missing it is not an OGSO.
  9. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Thanks for the citing the advice to refs...

    I think the "one-step" to the ball criteria, however, is a bad one.

    In a state cup final game a attacking player was 1 v 1 with the last defender, pushed ball about 5 or 6 yards into space, but was far enough out to freeze the keeper. He then beat his mark and was on his way to gather up the ball, and head for goal alone, when he was tripped from behind by he defender he had just beaten, clearly in a deliberate professional way, to prevent his getting in alone on the keeper.

    While not a step away, it met all the criteria for a DOGSO, and the red card was shown, appropriately.
  10. ref2coach

    ref2coach Member

    May 27, 2004
    TN, USA
    I watched the match, I have also watched the replay several times. Anelka received and controled the ball beating the last defender, on the left of the penalty arc. The first foul was an attempt to hold him, in breaking free from the hold, the defender was pulled forward, causing him to fall into the legs of Anelka bringing him to the ground inside the PA. All of this occured within an area that would be within the the width of the goal mouth extended.
    To say he was not "going to the goal" streaches credibiltiy.
    The CR could have penalized the DOGSO and restarted with a DFK outside the PA (The Hold).
    The CR could have penalized the DOGSO and restarted with a PK. (The Trip) Penalizing the more serious of the two fouls.
    What he did was as HeadHunter stated a bowed to his discomfort regarding giving the PK and the DOGSO
    Just because a course of action is "accepted" by "tradition" does not make it right.
  11. Chubbywubby

    Chubbywubby Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Denver, CO
    "One step to the ball" is not part of the official interpretation. If anything, ATR 12.38 invokes the concept of "playing distance," similar to that used to distinguish legal shielding from impeding an opponent. However, it's still ITOOTR, and if the ref believes the attacker could have made a play on the ball but for the foul, DOGSO should be considered (as in the example you cited.)
  12. refmike

    refmike New Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Cal North
    Yes, that wording was mine and was a generalization. If the attacker was still chasing the ball, it would be a questionable call at best. If he pushed it away from the defender and could have gotten it back, it was a good call.
  13. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    After watching the replay in slow motion, I do not believe that Anelka had controlled the ball when he was fouled. He was in process of controlling the ball, but was knocked down before he completed the action. I would guess that was the reason that the card was yellow, not red.

    So I guess the message to a defender is, get your licks in early!

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