Champions League

Champions League masterclass by Turkish ref

2018-04-08 06:05
Errol Sweeney (Supplied)

Johannesburg - To get one masterclass in an event is great. To get two in the same game is extremely rare.

I’m talking about the European Champions League quarter-final match between Italian giants Juventus and their equally impressive Spanish opponents Real Madrid.

They met on Tuesday in Turin, in a repeat of last year’s final. The expectation was enormous. The hype was electric.

In the end, it was pretty much one-way traffic, with Real scoring three valuable away goals, one of which was pretty special, to say the least, by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

That was my first masterclass. The second came from man-in-the-middle Cuneyt Cahir. The Turkish official gave, in my opinion, a professional masterclass in refereeing, which is sadly lacking among some of his illustrious colleagues from around Europe.

He was calmness personified. He was clear and concise in his decision making, and he wasn’t afraid of the players, team officials or spectators.

From as early at the 26th minute, he cautioned Rodrigo Bentancur of Juve, something others might have refrained from doing because it was in the cauldron of the Allianz Stadium in Turin and not a place for the faint-hearted to play in, let alone referee.

As the game progressed and tempers seemed to fray a little on both sides, he maintained his cool and dealt with each situation as it arose, regardless of who was to be penalised. That’s what refereeing is all about.

As a referee, it’s not your concern who is playing, who the players are or what competition they are contesting. The ref’s job is to apply the FIFA Laws of the Game without fear or favour and to the best of his/her ability.

Far too many match officials today, in my opinion, are pandering to the whims and cries of the participants and forget about the job they are appointed to undertake. That is wrong.

I’m hearing this new buzz phrase in refereeing - “man management”. What’s that all about? It’s not our job to “man manage” players. It’s not our job to “wet nurse” overpaid prima donnas who fly off the handle when they feel they’ve been wrongly penalised.

I believe that’s what’s wrong with refereeing today, and it’s one of the main reasons for the drop in standards. Players have lost respect for the referee and his authority.

Match officials in the English Premier League are easily hoodwinked, and players will go to whatever lengths they can think of to secure a free kick or penalty kick.

We can learn a lot from Mr Cahir. His performance this week was a sight for sore eyes. He’s going to the World Cup. Not one from the UK (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) will be there.

I think that says a lot.

Fifa Laws of the Game - Law 14: the penalty kick

“The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any offence.”

This is important because, heretofore, particularly with penalties to decide the game, as soon as the ball hits the crossbar or upright, play ceased.

“Once the referee has signalled for a penalty kick to be taken, the kick must be taken. If, before the ball is in play, a player from either team offends the Laws of the Game, the kick is retaken unless a player commits a more serious offence (such as illegal feinting), or if both the 'keeper and kicker commit an offence at the same time.

“If the kick is missed or saved, the kick is retaken and both players cautioned. If the kick is scored, the goal is disallowed, the kicker is cautioned and play restarts with an indirect free kick to the defending team.

“If, after the penalty kick has been taken, the ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward, the kick is retaken unless the ball is going into the goal and the interference does not prevent the 'keeper or a defending player playing the ball, in which case the goal is awarded if the ball enters the goal (even if contact was made with the ball) unless the ball enters the opponents’ goal.”

Happy whistling!

Follow me on Twitter @dr_errol

Read more on:    champions league  |  errol sweeney  |  soccer
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