Two wrongs don't make a right
By Daniel Barr
The Monday night football match between Everton and Newcastle United certainly raised plenty of talking points, but a refereeing decision made just after Everton were denied a clear goal suggested a more serious problem in my opinion.
The decision that referee Mike Jones made to call a foul on the halfway line when Everton's, Steven Pienaar brought down Newcastle midfield player, Hatem Ben Arfa looked like a decision based on trying to consolidate a mistake Jones had just made.
There were many decisions last night made by the officials that could have been discussed in this article in this post but the one I’m going to talk about happens far too often in my eyes and very rarely gets touched upon.
There was a goal for Everton that was wrongly disallowed for being offside, and another that was deemed not to have crossed the line when TV cameras showed that it had. These are mistakes from the linesman, and although they can cost, and most probably did cost Everton the win, they were mistakes none the less.
Goal line technology is something that has been talked about so much and it seems that it is in the closing stages of becoming a reality so enough criticism has taken place for this to take effect. The goal from Marouane Fellain that was adjudged to have beeen offside was seen in replays to have been wrong as a Newcastle defender’s leg kept the Belgian onside. Although these are huge decisions and game changers, my post only partly concerns the decision not to award the goal that crossed the line.
Immediately from this incident, Newcastle were breaking away with Ben Arfa on the halfway line, looking to take advantage of a lack of Everton defenders. he had squirmed the ball away from Steven Pienaar and looked to be through on goal, but the play was brought to a halt as Mr Jones awarded the toon army a free kick instead of playing advantage for the unsuccessful attempt from Pienaar to bring down the French forward.
I must say now that I may be wrong and Mr Jones may not have deemed that Newcastle had an advantage by playing on, but it looked very clear that the best option for Newcastle would have been to play on as Ben Arfa was still in possession of the ball and was progressing toward goal. It seemed that the free kick was given, as the referee was feeling that he, and his officials, had gotten the goal line decision wrong, and wanted to soften the blow to the toffees.
The Everton players and fans were reeling having not been given a goal they rightly deserved, but a decision to effectively stop, or at least delay a Newcastle goal will only cause anger from both teams instead of one!
The referee owes no team any favours. If he has made a mistake or wrong decision during a game, he should not feel the need to correct this error by rewarding favours back to them. He is not there to make friends. Yes it would have been unfortunate and possibly unjust if Newcastle were to score immediately after, but they were still a long way from goal and it’s not as if he denied them a penalty or sent an Everton player off.
It was a poor decision. Pressure from the home crowd was getting too the officials and this decision to not allow the goal had tension running high, meaning the referee felt the need to cool things off. This kind of decision happens a lot.
One that happens too much in my opinion is for a referee to find a foul on a goal keeper if he feels he may have incorrectly given a corner or free kick. But that’s beside the point.
The officials are very rarely going to please everyone in a match, but they are there to make the right decisions. If they make an incorrect one, they cannot make this right by making another one. There should be no emotion in their job to officiate the game, only to make one decision at a time and reassess once the game has finished, not during.