Learn The Laws Of The Game !!!

Published on 28 January, 2013 
By: Mark Williams

Referees know they will seldom get praise. They will settle for anonymity despite claims they love the limelight.

What does irk them is when TV pundits who are paid a lot of money to analyse the game criticise them unfairly because they don’t know the laws of the game. Unfortunately that happened again this weekend.

It was a fantastic weekend for football and a reminder that there are plenty of good teams outside of the Premier League. There were plenty of cup upsets and hardly a mention of a referee or controversial decision.

The closest we came was in the absorbing west London derby at Griffin Park where Jon Moss had an excellent game and got all of the major decisions correct.

The most interesting was in the 73rd minute when Brentford substitute Tom Adeyemi broke clear and Chelsea's second-choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull raced to try and get the ball before him. Adeyemi poked the ball forward and tried to hurdle Turnbull.

Whether there was contact or not was irrelevant as his position certainly impeded his opponent's progress. The penalty kick was correctly awarded. It was not clear whether Adeyemi would have got the ball had he not lost his balance, so Turnbull was rightly shown the yellow card.

There was a claim for a penalty for Chelsea in the closing moments when Juan Mata’s cross struck the extended arm of Brentford defender Harlee Dean but again Moss was right to wave appeals away as Dean’s arm was in a natural position and he was attempting to get it out of the way.

However, it was a routine decision from Moss that revealed the ignorance of ESPN co-commentator Craig Burley.

Turnbull dived on John Terry’s back pass to prevent it going to a Brentford striker for what would have been an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The law is quite specific and completely unambiguous on this.

Once read, it is never forgotten - 'Inside his own penalty area a goalkeeper cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any misconduct related to handling the ball.'

So in Turnbull’s case Moss had the simple task of merely awarding the indirect free kick and any attempt in commentary to suggest otherwise is at best ignorant and at worst mischievous.

Referees must prove they know the law to go on to the field. Isn’t it time that commentators should do the same before going behind the microphone?


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