Monday, September 24, 2012

On Mark Halsey

......By Agent86

Let’s be clear on three things first.
  • I've only refereed one match. It was an U-12 game in 1990-something 
  • I only saw the last 15 minutes of the Liverpool vs. Manchester United match yesterday 
  • Players win or lose games but referee decisions matter

Broadcasters should put up some indication of when a team is playing a man short because of a red card. With modern graphics/technology, how difficult would that be? Mind, just from the flow of the match at the point I started watching, it was a little hard to tell that the teams were not even numbers-wise. That is typical of a match where the home team is down, attacking, and playing with more urgency than the team that is trying to “kill off” the game.

Very late into added time, Luis Suarez was fouled near the United penalty area, maybe five meters wide of the box and certainly not close enough to pose a significant threat to the United goal. Nevertheless, he was fouled. Liverpool kept possession but in doing so, the ball was now back farther up-field. Yes, the advantage rule is designed to keep the fouled team from losing momentum, position, and/or the attack potential that may be thwarted if the game is stopped for a free kick – and even for issuing a yellow card since that can be done the next time play is stopped.

When Mark Halsey chose not to blow the whistle for the foul on Suarez, he invoked the advantage rule. Fine! However, when he failed to consider that the ball had been played away from the United goal, he allowed the team already with an advantage to reposition itself and edge closer to the final whistle. When Halsey did not consider that Liverpool were down not just Jonjo Shelvey for the red but also the injured Martin Kelly, he was NOT playing the advantage rule.

Mark Halsey The Twelfth Man!
Unless the ball was heading into United’s net or unless a Liverpool player was in a clear position to put the ball into the net from the next pass after the foul, then what advantage is there in allowing the team with two more players to reshape itself and let more time to pass? Once again a referee failed to make the appropriate decision. Which is common enough, but the beneficiaries are once again the team from the red side of Manchester.

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