Saturday, 30 June 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup: Officiating at Matchday 3 in Group Stage has offered some points for discussion (analysis)

Group stage at World Cup is over. Overall, MD3 has kept a good standard of refereeing. However, some interesting situations have occurred. Let's make a short analysis. 
Malang Diedhiou (SEN) was in charge of the first game of MD3: Uruguay - Russia
In Group A Wilmar Roldán has officiated KSA - EGY, in which two crucial decisions have been taken: at first a penalty for deliberate handball (supportable call), then another penalty that looked to be a very soft call. In this case, VAR (Artur Dias from POR) has called the referee to monitor to rewatch the incident, however he has not changed idea. According to my opinion, the penalty is too soft and maybe even wrong. It should have been annulled.

In Group B, Enrique Cáceres from Paraguay has faced the most difficult game, at least in terms of crucial decisions. VAR intervened thrice: two penalty area incidents and a possible violent conduct by Cristiano Ronalo. In my opinion all the decisions taken after reviews are  at least supportable, but referee could have done better if he had spotted some incidents by himself, especially the first penalty and the action by Cristiano Ronaldo. The penalty for handball is very harsh, but not totally wrong. In this case, my opinion is that referee wanted to rewatch the incident and asked VAR, because not sure. 

In Group C nothing extra-ordinary to be reported, with two calm games. Ricci in DEN - FRA rejectd several penalty appeals, all decisions can be backed.

Nigeria - Argentina was a crucial game for qualification in Group D, here referee Cüneyt Çakır whistled a supportable penalty to Nigeria (backed by VAR) and then checked another incident for a possible deliberate handball. He confirmed the decision to play on and explained his choice in a very clear way to all players from Nigeria who were makig complaints. Also in that case, everything is at least supportable. 

In Group E Clément Turpin was corrected by VAR, after having assigned a penalty to Costa Rica: an offside position before the incident annulled the call. Very good work by the officials in control room. A few later, another penalty was assigned to Costa Rica: supportable call by the French.

In both games of Group F there have been very important VAR involvements: the goal scored by South Korea in the last minutes of second half has been confirmed by VAR, after an offside reported by AR2. In this occasion, we had the perfect situation in which VAR looks to be the only and the best solution: the player who scored was in offside position, but the ball came from a deliberate play of an opponent, so this was correctly assessed. In the other game, Pitana has checked a possible penalty for deliberate handball, deciding to play on (grey area, at least supportable), and he has whistled a penalty to Sweden (another supportable decision). Both these decisions were in my opinion totally at referee's discretion.

In Group G everything was already decided. There were some interesting situations in Shukralla's game, including a foul whistled before a goal scored by Panama. In this case, VAR was not allowed to intervene because referee had whistled before the goal.

Milorad Mažić has officiated Senegal - Colombia in Group H, this game has been crucial for qualification, and very likely here we had the most controversial situation of MD3: a penalty, originally assigned by referee, was then annulled, after VAR review. According to the opinion of the involved VAR, Danny Makkelie, player had hit the ball at first, so it would have been very harsh and penalizing to call the penalty. This was the reason for which decision was changed. A big discussion about the opportunity to consider the original decision of refeere as clear and obvious mistake, followed. This will be the question of our poll. You can also vote for the best officiating of MD3.
Poll for the best officiating of MD3 will end on 02/07 at 09:00 CET.


  1. Mažić's whistled penalty could never be considered as clear and obvious mistake. That was clearly said at yesterday's press conference - both Collina and Busacca explained that. This is much, much tougher situation for the ref than e.g. Kuipers' PK in favor of Brasil, where he had full visual control and it was not hard to spot, but he totally missed the incident explaining there was tripping (and Kuipers was considered here as the best ref in round 2)!

    1. So if you think, that the penalty was never a clear and obvious mistake, it was a mistake by Mazic to change his initial decision, right?

      That's the dilemma with VAR: If you change your decision, Either the initial call or the change is a clear mistake.

      BTW, now commitee is saying all the corrections were correct, so that means we actually had a lot of clear mistakes by the referees on the pitch. I am quite sure, that commitee would not have classified all of them as clear mistakes, if there was no VAR.
      They even mentioned yesterday, that we would have had several "scandals" without VAR - so can we conclude, that the performance of the referees on the pitch is not satisfying at all?

    2. There were some other probable explanations too in the blog about what Kuipers' gesturing meant but all of the versions we are discussing here are just mere speculations... We do not know what the referee explained in the debrief so we can't comment for sure what he saw or perceived... It might have been that Kuipers considered the contact as enough which he later overruled and also there was some contact by the side of the leg during Neymar's fall... So there is no way we can know what exactly was seen and all we can do is speculate and not make any assertive statement!

      On Mazic : The decision was tough but it was an absolutely clear and obvious error that needed to be overturned as confirmed by both Busacca and Collina repeatedly... This is what VAR is there for and it worked well... Once the decision is corrected, a discussion on whether the initial decision was a more crucial mistake or less crucial mistake is basically immaterial... Once corrected by VAR, the initial decision has very little value in the match and also in the referee's assessment... Of course for the referee's personal improvement it's important to be analysed but then a mistake is a mistake and all of them are treated same by referees during self-assessment... Basically a point of improvement!

    3. @Philipp Suppose a situation happens which is 85% play on and 15% penalty and the referee gives the penalty... A team scores that and that becomes the decisive goal and impacts the match result... So that's a very supportable decision in isolation but the losing team will play the victim card as they almost always do... These situations are portrayed as scandals by the media... The so-called "scandals" often doesn't highlight the actual performance of the referee... In Nigeria Cakir's performance is considered a scandal, in Morocco Geiger's performance is portrayed as scandal... So basically anything can be a scandal to people who are ignorant about refereeing but still thinks they know it and media adds more fuel to the fire... Now the very situation I mention, suppose there is an OFR and on seeing the replays referee changes his mind to go with more acceptable decision... The so-called scandal will be avoided but not necessarily the referee's performance assessment is different in both cases!

    4. Clear and obvious error? If you heard Collina yesterday they said it was 100% penalty by watching it LIVE. Anyone would whistle that penalty so its not clear and obvious mistake.

    5. No, you misunderstood me. I wanted to say that final decision is correct, but first decision was not clear and obvious error, because it was very hard to spot. From Mazic's angle it was clear PK. So, this case will not be considered as crucial mistake IMO. The same goes for Conger - Collina said that the place where foul occurred is hard to control for any ref.
      I don't know how the Commission will asses those two situation, but I believe they wont treat them as crucial mistakes. The most important thing is that the final decision was correct.
      I believe that this VAR review in Mazic's game will be shown in many FIFA and UEFA seminars for refs as the example how VAR and main ref should behave in those kind of situation, what is the way of communication and as a example that the ref should be capable of changing his initial decision, if see from different angles that his decision on the pitch was not correct.

    6. My first sentences referred to Philipp S comment.

    7. The main thing is that once a decision is changed by the referee in consultation with VAR, the initial decision has very little significance... You can even say only for the referee's personal improvement but it has no consequences on the referee... Without VAR, of course it was a crucial mistake as it would change the entire qualification scene potentially but with VAR intervention and Mazic annulling the penalty its importance in the overall assessment of Mazic is nil... As far as I know they have done away with marking system too in this tournament!

    8. @Jovan They said it "looked" a penalty live but it definitely wasn't... And that is also the reason why Mazic annulled it... In absence of VAR that would be an error affecting the outcome of the match although it was a very difficult call to make... Collina and Busacca didn't say it wasn't an error, they said the error occured because it was extremely difficult to spot! But as I said once VAR has corrected it, the initial decision has little to no significance at all!

    9. Well, my point has somehow been confirmed:
      Soham says "absolutely clear and obvious error" and Teo says "no clear and obvious error", but they nevertheless agree on the evaluation of the situation. Although I can understand both views, it gives me the feeling, that something is not right (not aligned) about how we assess VAR situations.

      On the 85-15 situation. Let's assume we have such a situation in four matches:
      Referee 1 says play on and is confirmed by VAR
      Referee 2 says penalty and VAR doesn't intervene (because he thinks, no clear error)
      Referee 3 says penalty, VAR recommends OFR and referee maintains his decision after OFR (because he thinks, no clear error)
      Referee 4 says penalty, and changes his decision after OFR.
      Can we (or FIFA) really be happy with all situations and confirm the referees, no matter which alternative they choose?
      Then we will not get any uniformity in the VAR situations.

      I am not saying, there needs to be big punishment for the referees involved, but I think, it is necessary to point out, what went wrong, so they can improve next time.

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  2. Heard that referees going into the new season will have fitness tests every month.

    1. Is it for UEFA club competitions??

    2. Probably, i don't know..

    3. At least in Spain, Velasco Carballo wants a major overhaul in Spanish refereeing; they will have fitness test and body fat measurement every month!

    4. They've been doing this in Mexico's Liga MX for quite sime time now. That is why you don't see any "chubbies" like Lee Mason, Madley, or Jon Moss in Liga MX.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. OT :
    @DrMr I am still unable to find you on Twitter 🙄

  4. Referee designations FWC 2018 Match 53: #BRA🆚#MEX ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠(02 July):
    (Round of 16)

    Referee: Gianluca ROCCHI (ITA)
    ASR 1: Elenito DI LIBERATORE (ITA)
    ASR 2: Mauro TONOLINI (ITA)
    4th Off. Antonio MATEU (ESP)
    Res.Ass. Pau CEBRIAN (ESP)

    1. Referee designations FWC 2018 Match 54: #BEL⁠🆚#JPN ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠(02 July):
      (Round of 16)

      Referee: Malang DIEDHIOU (SEN)
      ASR 1: Djibril CAMARA (SEN)
      ASR 2: El Hadji SAMBA (SEN)
      4th Off. Pa.Bakary GASSAMA (GAM)
      Res.Ass. J.C. BIRUMUSHAHU (BDI)

    2. You are too quick for me :D

    3. @Soham tried before but it was hardly lost :D :D

    4. Hey, yesterday it was only me who reported :D :D

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