A few days ago I reviewed Australia’s gutsy performance and 1-1 draw against Ghana. That performance gave the Socceroos a glimmer of hope going into their third and final group game against Serbia.
In short, I was impressed by the Socceroos’ fighting spirit and tactical set up to earn some redemption in Rustenberg.
All this, whilst playing a majority of the match with “10 men”……
As promised, today “The F Word” gives his thoughts on “that penalty”.
The absurdity of the rule governing penalties and red cards and the need to introduce video technology came to the fore in the Socceroos’ match against Ghana when striker Harry Kewell stopped a goal-bound Ghana shot with his upper arm. Referee, Roberto Rosetti deemed Kewell deliberately handled the ball from a clear goalscoring opportunity, awarded the penalty and to make matters worse, gave Kewell his marching orders.
The decision to award the penalty was a harsh but arguably correct decision. Had the incident taken place in the centre circle rather than on the goal-line nobody would have complained over the award of a free kick.
Nevertheless, this was a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Whether it was a deliberate handball only Kewell knows but, slow motion “video replays” suggest even though the ball struck him on the upper part of his right arm near his shoulder, that arm moved away from his side before it was struck, suggesting at worst premeditation and at best carelessness for which Kewell must accept fault.
In such situations a referee must also consider (a) the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand); and (b) the distance between the opponent and the ball.
Again, slow motion “video replays” suggest Kewell’s hand moved towards the ball. Further, he was well away from the ball when it was struck.
The referee could have given Kewell the benefit of the doubt but chose not to. He was convinced he’d seen a deliberate handball and adjudged it an unacceptable and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.
But why leave that decision to the referee himself who witnessed the incident “live” (that is, within split seconds) without the benefit of a slow motion “video replay”? Granted, the introduction of a video replay may not have assisted a 4th official from clearly determining Kewell’s “intention” but surely it would have assisted in some way and at minimum, would have precluded many disgruntled Australians, myself included, from questioning the referee’s split second decision.
Get the picture? I’m sure there will be plenty more similar incidents in future matches and tournaments which will raise the need for video evidence….
What I also find frustrating is that Kewell was given a straight red card (and as such, suspended for the next ‘must win’ game). As if the penalty that was subsequently converted was not enough punishment!
It’s time for the beautiful game to get out of the Dark Ages and step into the Renaissance which, like the art of Boticelli and sculptures of DaVinci, it surely belongs.
Mark “The ‘F’ Word” Fiorenti – discussing all things concerning the World Game.