I've been assigned the enviable task of covering some of the worst referee decisions of all time.
Some will be from the Premier League and some will be a few incidents from other leagues/tournaments and a few more from International games like the 2010 World Cup which had too many talking points; well, too many talking points for Sepp Blatter to handle anyway!
Some of them will be 'inside-out', meaning that some will be calls which the referee should have made, but didn't.
Some of them will be so painfully wrong that any of us could have got those questionable decisions right.
I've already chosen my favourite one, but you'll have to wait a while for it!
CLUE: It isn't the one in the picture above, for obvious reasons.
Linesmen have ear-pieces and signal-emitting flags with which they can communicate with the referee perfectly when it comes to making arbitrary decisions. Yet, they don't bother to use those things during the most crucial of decisions. The clips and pictures I will be showing you really hammer this point home.
Take a deep breath and let me take you through a gallery of negligent FIFA-accredited refereeing, where it will be customary for you to utter abbreviations like 'OMG', 'WTF', LOL and LMAO.
Hopefully someone who views this shall email a link to the likes of Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter.
Fingers, wires and doubles crossed!
The video embed function acted up a bit on this slide so I will have to direct you to a 3D-rendered version of the exact incident at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualreplay/euro2004/index.shtml?25090.
On the right hand side of that page, for the best view of the incident, look for the 'CHOOSE A PLAYER' option and click ENGLAND.
Then just below that, select 'Third Person' view and below that, click '1/4' speed.
Alternatively, look at the exact moment demonstrated in the above photo.
This is the Euro 2004 Quarter-Final between Portugal and England. Portugal have knocked England out in the Quarter Finals of two international tournaments in a row - Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 - with classic bits of England international controversy thrown in for excitement.
The Quarter Final of World Cup 2006 was marred by Rooney being sent off for stepping on Carvalho's family jewels after a foul got a bit out of hand. Carvalho may have been provoking Rooney by holding the England striker's leg between his.
Additionally, Ronaldo winked at someone in the dugout as if he'd personally swayed the referee to hold up the red card. Allegedly, Ronaldo said/implied to Rooney that he was going to get him sent off. This had followed a bit of bad blood ahead of the match.
Nevertheless, Rooney looked doomed to to the red card after stepping on Carvalho's groin.
Euro 2004 was a totally different story though, as the decision which ruined England's chance of progression in the tournament was debatable.
It was 1-1 at the dying minutes of regular time and Beckham had a free kick near the box. As expected, his curled cross was pin-point precise. Michael Owen rose above everyone to head the ball, but it hit the bar and sprung up into the air.
Campbell and Terry decided to go for the rebound along with Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo. Campbell headed it into the net to nick the late win for England, BUT the goal was disallowed by Swiss referee Urs Meier; now known throughout all of England as 'Arse' Meier. Meier thought that the two England players had impeded Ricardo. However, Campbell wasn't really impeding him and Terry was putting up a fair challenge against Ricardo as he only had eyes for the ball.
Ricardo only got one hand on it and contact was minimal. A lot of challenges in football involve contact. If every referee ruled out headed goals like Meier did to Campbell, then nobody would be able to legitimately score from them and players would be so afraid to tackle each other, that the other team could only regain possession if the ball was put out of play by their opponents.
I didn't know the Swiss manufactured cotton-wool.
....or just the red card as this ref has forgotten to bring his yellow card to the match. He has to borrow one from the assistant referee to book a player for tugging an opponent's shirt.
Forgetting/losing your cards has to be one of the stupidest decisions ever.
How is a ref meant to book players for celebrating a goal if he's forgotten his cards?
I've always wanted to use that headline. One more ambition of mine has now been fulfilled!
Anyway, this one was rather recent, as you can tell by the Champions League football (Adidas Finale to be specific) being in the same picture as a Tottenham Hotspur player. Tom Huddlestone was tussling with FC Twente player Marc Janko for the ball and elbowed him square in the jaw. I'm a Spurs fan but even I could see that Huddlestone's action did not look very accidental, even if Huddlestone would maintain it was a genuine one-on-one tussle for the ball.
Janko and his Twente teammates complained fervently to the referee, but no card was issued.
To rub salt in the wounds, Spurs won that game 4-1 and UEFA strangely found nothing wrong with Huddlestone's challenge on reviewing the footage.
The rule on penalties is perfectly simple for goalkeepers. If he gets a touch on it before taking out the man, it is NOT a penalty and play shall continue. Tottenham were 2-0 up against Manchester United at Old Trafford until this happened. Yep it's another one there.
Whilst Carrick had a goalscoring opportunity there, Gomes made a perfectly good challenge to defend against him and pushed the ball away. No goalkeeper has fast-moving arms for quickly whipping the ball away and retracting before the attacking player falls over, so Gomes tripped Carrick after challenging.
Howard Webb was the referee that day and he gave the penalty to United. Momentum swung the other way from that point. United capitalised on the leeway given to them and won the game 5-2.
The punishment given to Gomes made the decision more suspicious. Let me explain; the rules state that if an attacking player is denied a goalscoring opportunity by means of a foul and the defending player is the last man, the defender is to be sent off with an immediate red card.
If Gomes hadn't got a touch on the ball when Carrick was tripped, he would have been sent off for denying the goalscoring opportunity. Gomes got a clear touch on the ball when Carrick went over, which denied him the goalscoring opportunity. The referee blew his whistle to give the penalty as if he didn't get a touch on the ball, so why didn'tGomes get a straight red if the referee was so convinced it was a foul in the box?
Huge Cock-up me thinks.
I don't care what any Manchester United fan says, there is usually a heavy dose of leniency given to them when games at Old Trafford are officiated and it needs to change.
Back in October last year, Gomes was meant to take a free kick, but then Nani just came back from an offside position, nicked the ball off of him and kicked it into the net to make it 2-0 to United.
The thing is, unlike the controversial Liverpool v Sunderland goal of September 2010 where the same kind of thing happened, Gomes hadn't kicked the ball away from the allocated spot yet. Therefore the goal should not have stood.
What sickened me the most was that when Luka Modric of Tottenham got booked and sent away from Mark Clattenburg and the linesman who were conferring, Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United walked up to them and was allowed to listen AND talk with them!!! Surely that had influenced the decision where no Spurs player was allowed to stick up for their team.
I think that conclusively proved the age-old myth of Manchester United pressure at Old Trafford to be somewhat correct. You'd see what I mean if I mention the incident about Pedro Mendes again.
The whistle was blown for the free kick to be taken, Gomes was trying to get the defenders to push up to give him space for kicking the ball, but Nani took it from under him.
It was a ridiculous decision which had some obvious bias added in the form of allowing a player from one team to confer with the referee and sending a player from the opposing team away with a yellow card.
This will be an immortal decision talked about by football fans everywhere, even moreso following last year's reversal which I will cover later.
It's amazing how a war had so much influence on football refereeing.
There was an Azerbaijani-Soviet linesman and a Swiss referee officiating at the 1966 World Cup Final between two old enemies - England and West Germany - at the Old Wembley Stadium. Geoff Hurst was the ''scorer'' of the controversial goal which hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced backwards off of the goal-line during extra-time.
Just to give you an idea of how important this decision was, the score was 2-2 at full time and this goal was a tie-breaker for England. It swung momentum in England's favour as a fourth goal was added near the end of extra-time.
Swiss referee - Gottfried Dienst - couldn't decide whether to allow the goal or not so he turned to the linesman for advice. The issue today is no longer whether the ball crossed the line because it conclusively never crossed the line (pictured).
I think the issue surrounding it today is whether the Azerbaijani linesman - Tofik Bakhramov - made the decision based on what he saw, or his political stance on West Germany following the breakdown of the Nazi-Soviet Pact around 30 years before this occasion.
Now that Bakhramov has since passed away, we will never know.
This clip is from a match between Panathanaikos and AC Milan.
Panathanaikos striker Djibril Cissé was through on goal and had a shot. Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia saved it well. Sebastián Leto tries to finish it for Panathanaikos but scuffs it, then Sidney Govou flicks the ball over the goalie. The ball bounces across the line for a goal, but then Milan defender Daniele Bonera still attempts to clear it.
The clearance initially seemed unsuccessful as the ball hit the hallowed 'underside of the crossbar', but bounced on the 'goal' side of the goal-line for a second time before coming out again!
The referee still disallowed the goal and booked Leto for protesting.
This is a somewhat unique event as the ball didn't just bounce once into the goal, it bounced twice after an attempted clearance; yet neither the referee or the linesman saw it!
Lucky this was only a friendly, eh...
I came across this clip randomly on Youtube. This refereeing gaff is from a match between two teams in the '2. Bundesliga' (the second-highest division in German football); MSV Duisburg v FSV Frankfurt.
Duisburg were already leading 4-0 at home to FSV Frankfurt so the decision wouldn't have affected the outcome of the match at all. Nevertheless, it is no excuse for match officials to then slack off of their duty which is to referee intelligently. This 'goal' adds insult to injury.
The Frankfurt goalkeeper gave the ball away to a Duisburg player, which was asking to be punished with another goal anyway. The attacking player dribbled and then let fly with a shot. The ball went over the goalkeeper but hit the bar and clearly bounced backwards into the six-yard box. You can even hear the Duisburg fans go 'oooohh' as you do when your team comes close to scoring.
However, the referee proceeded to allow a goal from nothing! It was then 5-0.
Germans are meant to be some of the cleverest people on the planet, evenmoreso when it comes to technology, which requires a deep knowledge of the sciences, particularly physics. The path of a football is set to physics.
Now, when a ball hits the underside of a crossbar, the direction it ricochets in depends on both the amount of backspin exerted by the kick, the direction of that backspin (any slight lenience towards left or right) and the exact point of contact on the crossbar. In this case, there was a little backspin but it hit the crossbar very slightly below its 'horizontal'. Therefore the ball didn't have enough force or spin to propel itself past the goalline and bounce out. Applying Newton's Third Law to this, and you have an answer to this crossbar-hitting problem.
The ball's backspin was neutralised by the point of contact with the crossbar so it bounced backwards instead.
If a linesman doesn't generate vibrations in air from vocal chords called 'talking' into a sound-receiving device called a 'microphone', the referee will not hear when he's wrong and things like this will happen.
Also, if a linesman doesn't direct his field of vision towards the incident or pick up bright white lines on the pitch, he will be of no use to the referee.
Moving on form the physics side of things, this was one golden gaff.
Germans are usually cleverer than that. Ask Albert Einstein.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup has been one of the most open World Cups in its history, but at the same time, it's been the worst one as far as dodgy refereeing decisions go. 'Dodgy' is an understatement. That World Cup has exposed FIFA's stubbornness on multiple issues, from extra means of communication amongst officials (e.g. changing one's mind on hearing second-opinions) to the unnecessarily contentious proposals of goalline technology. But the ways they were exposed certainly added extra entertainment and despair to the tournament, even if the said entertainment and despair was aimed at the gross incompetence of officials.
These officials were supposed to be meticulously hand-picked by FIFA to govern these international games, but it looks like they've picked a few bad apples.
I'll kick-off with (*audience groans*) the Last-16 clash between Argentina and Mexico.
The score was 0-0 up until this point. Argentina had pushed up to the Mexico penalty box with Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez making Mexico work harder. Tevez was through on goal but was well blocked by the goalkeeper. The ball rebounded back outfield to Lionel Messi.
Messi then flicked it back into the penalty area. Tevez was already beyond the two Mexican centrebacks and the goalkeeper at this point. The Manchester City striker headed the ball into an open goalnet to break the deadlock at the 26th minute.
You can see from the pictures above that this decision was diabolical. Even if this incident was viewed from behind the ball (see right-hand image), Tevez looked unmistakably offside. The linesman was in a good enough position to call offside, but didn't.
I think the linesmen on both sides of the pitch should follow play in BOTH halves of the pitch rather than just one. That would mean a potentially vital second-opinion and incidents can be viewed from BOTH sides.
This blunder was from retired referee Graham Poll. It was 0-0 in the Merseyside Derby (Everton v Liverpool), 1999/2000 season. In the dying seconds of stoppage time, Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld was taking a goal kick which would've definitely ended the game at 0-0. He kicked straight into the back of Everton midfielder Don Hutchison, who knew absolutely nothing about it and was just walking away from the penalty area.
The ball bounced off Hutchison's back, into the air and into the Liverpool net, which should've grabbed a late, if not bizarre winner for Everton over their red arch-rivals. Graham Poll disallowed the goal saying he had blown the whistle for full time as soon as the ball was kicked. In the video, there's no sound but you can see him saying 'There's no more time, there's no time' to the Everton players, shaking their hands as if that's going to make everything ok.
On reviewing the footage further, this was found to be incorrect so the goal should've stood. Hutchison didn't look like he intended to obstruct Westerveld's kick as he was walking in a straight line with his back turned.
On retiring, Poll admitted the goal was legitimate. Well that's all ok then, NOT.
The little description there wasn't done by me, it was by the uploader of the content.
Sorry for any offensive language in there.
Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player, but he dents his own credibility by the odd dive or stray elbow to the face of other opponents.
Once upon a time against Sunderland, after striker Danny Welbeck tricked Dirk Kuyt with great control of the ball, Gerrard leapt straight into him with his elbow to win the ball back. The referee didn't send him off despite getting no contact with the ball. Gerrard initially turned his head towards Welbeck as he was going in to win the ball, so it looked intentional.
It was a terrible decision and the FA need to review these incidents and take action upon them if the decision was wrong. It ensures fairness and would obviously eliminate all the conspiracy theories about 'bigger clubs' getting favour from officials over 'smaller clubs', because with each duff decision in favour of such teams comes more suspicion, especially since nobody can dare criticise the referee for those decisions.
Here's one for ya. Wigan Athletic v Manchester United, just this year, refereed by
Rooney runs down the field after the ball. Wigan midfielder James McCarthy raises his arm in front of him, but it's not really deserving of a calculated elbow smashed into the side of his head is it??
The incident went completely unpunished when Mark Clattenburg (hmmmm...) walks up to Rooney, appears to ask him what happened, put his arm around his shoulder and shrug it off.
Players don't usually get to be that pally with a referee without being yellow carded at the least, so why does Rooney get to be all pally with Clattenburg and get away with something which is well worth a red card as it's an off-the-ball incident?
Suspicions keep on growing...
There was another appeal for a penalty during this match from Joleon Lescott which went unanswered, but this one was much more obvious as Everton leftback Joleon Lescott (now at Manchester City) was literally taken down in the penalty area by Jamie Carragher of Liverpool during the Merseyside Derby.
Lescott was grabbed from behind as he received a corner pass, tried to control the ball but was pulled backwards to the ground by Carragher. The appeals from Everton players were loud, clear and most of all - justified, but the referee did squat about it. Carragher knew he'd lost the challenge for the ball and Liverpool would've most likely conceded the goal, so that is technically a goalscoring opportunity.
Straight red for Carragher in my opinion. More favouritism towards bigger clubs. Any other player caught wrestling an opponent to the ground would've had the referee on them like a tonne of bricks and sent off.
Need I say more!?
I guess I'll have to.
This was a picture of the goal-that-should-have-been. Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
at Old Trafford. Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Pedro Mendes tried a very ambitious half-volley from near the halfway line. The ball fell into Roy Carroll's arms but then bounced out and behind him into the net.
Carroll immediately jumped back, fell over and scooped out the ball from the net. The linesman Ray Lewis and referee Mark Clattenburg didn't allow the goal because they "didn't see it". I think that is a total mockery of refereeing.
The video clip can be found here - You'll see that the linesman was in perfect view of Pedro launching it into the air, but yet couldn't work out that when a ball is kicked like that with force, it usually tends to move up and forward, with a certain trajectory and then come down at a distance from where it was kicked! The linesman ran fast enough to see where the ball would land, which was eventually in the Manchester United net!
This decision is comparable in incompetence to the Germany v England goal of 2010. The ball is almost halfway into the goal but then gets pushed out again and the goal isn't given simply due to the net not rippling.
This was probably the first ever call for goal-line technology/video replays in football.
The call remains unanswered.
It was going to come up at some point. Did you think that such a bad decision will be forgotten?
Remember, it was a decision against England, so of course it'll always be talked about!
FIFA World Cup 1986, Mexico.
One of the world's greatest players against another of the world's greatest players.
Argentine midfielder Diego Maradona went up against English goalkeeper Peter Shilton for an airbourne ball but whilst Maradona won the ball and scored according to what everyone first saw, he didn't win in terms of the rulebook.
The famous Hand of God (pictured) was created at this moment. Maradona's forearm struck the ball just over Shilton's hand and into the net. He admitted his intention to hit it with his hand and also said he ''...would have used his other hand just to prove that God is ambidextrous.''.
I thought Diego Maradona only performed the Hand of God trick once, but four years later, in another World Cup tournament, Maradona was about to prove that God was indeed ambidextrous. This time, the referee was in a perfect position to view it, but made the wrong decision!
In the 1990 World Cup match between Argentina and Russia [at the time - Soviet Union until all that Berlin Wall malarchy blew over], He handballed on the goal-line to defend this time. The referee - in full view of the incident (also pictured) - didn't award the penalty to Russia.
Maradona's actions have inspired other legends of the game like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to stage their own Hand of God re-enactments. Luis Suarez partially succeeded against Ghana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I say partially because whilst it earned Uruguay a penalty shootout and denied Ghana a winning goal, he got red-carded by the referee and walked off crying his eyes out.
There is a bigger question about the Hand of God incident than 'Why did that goal stand?'.
The big question is 'How did the great 6ft 1in Peter Shilton get out jumped by a midget?'
We're all waiting for Peter Shilton to answer that one.
Whilst Torres' striking may have deteriorated during this World Cup, his diving skills proportionally improved. He managed to trip over his own legs in the final Group H match against Chile.
But the referee blew the whistle for a foul and sent off the nearest Chilean player to him which was an unlucky Marco Estrada.
The Chilean defender was booked for a foul earlier on but was yellow-carded for a second time as he was nearest to Torres when he threw himself to the ground.
How the referee could send off a player for nothing is beyond me.
Here's the picture of the second handball leading up to the goal -
Thierry Henry couldn't have picked a worse time to get on the wrong side of the Irish; an all-or-nothing World Cup 2010 qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and France. A free kick was taken from way out by France and almost went out for a goal-kick. Here's the fun part...
Thierry Henry managed to keep the ball in play, but he used his left hand to do so. Also, he handballed it twice! From that, he managed to control the ball, square it across goal to William Gallas for an easy
tap-in. France qualified for the World Cup with a 2-1 win on aggregate.
My opinion on it is this - The first time Henry put his hand on the ball appeared to be accidental, BUT then once he felt the ball on his hand, he intentionally patted the ball with his hand the second time as it looked more forceful than the first.
Nevertheless, it was a bad decision never to be forgotten by the Irish. France memorably embarrassed themselves at the 2010 World Cup anyway. It resulted in uproar within the French camp and the sacking of Raymond Domenech. Mutiny was afoot as Anelka spoke for the rest of the team in an extreme tirade on the manager for the team's sloppy performances in the group stage. He and his team-mates refused to turn up for training as part of a boycott and the French Football Federation condemned it, etc.
The Irish got a bit of vengeance then. One small controversial goal and a chance to be in the World Cup given away in return for watching the entire French Football Federation implode live on TV!
Turned out to be a reasonable swap I think.
This is the most unique referee error as there's only been one documented case - this one.
Cast your mind back to the 2006 FIFA World Cup match in Group F between Croatia and Australia.
The match ended with a total of three sendings-off; two for Croatia and one for Australia. All of the sendings-off were given in the second half. Graham Poll of England had the task of refereeing this game and demonstrated the first known case of referee amnesia.
Croatian centreback Josip Šimunić (strangely enough, born and raised in Australia) received his first yellow card 61 minutes in, then received a second yellow in the 90th minute. However, Graham Poll somehow forgot about the previous yellow card! Therefore he didn't send Šimunić off until he committed another bad foul three minutes into stoppage time.
At that point, Poll held up another yellow and then the subsequent red card to finally send Josip Šimunić down the tunnel. By then, Poll had destroyed his own reputation and any chance he had of hosting the World Cup final. The following year, he retired from refereeing with a huge amount of regret for making
that error. If only he kept track of bookings.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing; and so is memory...
'10 and '66 make 1066, the Battle of Hastings, fought between the Normans (France) and the Anglo-Saxons, who were Germans that conquered England and settled there 500 years earlier. So this whole football thing could be considered as Germany v Germany, or France v Germany!
Yep, it's that pesky crossbar-to-line goal decision. The incident at the 2010 World Cup between England and Germany has been called various names such as 'Revenge for Wembley' or
'Shades of '66'; and rightfully so.
The whole incident was a completely perfect inside-out reversal of Wembley. Here's why:
1966 - The decision went in England's favour.
2010 - The decision went in Germany's favour.
1966 - The ball bounced off the underside of the crossbar, but didn't fully cross the goal-line.
2010 - The ball bounced off the underside of the crossbar, but crossed the goal-line in its entirety.
1966 - The goal was given, but was actually not a legitimate goal.
2010 - The goal was not given, but was actually a legitimate goal.
1966 - Football organisations were very open to new ideas to develop the game further and positively.
2010 - Peddling an idea widely disliked by the Presidents is immediately rejected without comment.
Et Voila! A reversal aided by karma, over 40 years in the making.
Initially 2-0 down in just over half an hour, England pulled a goal back through Matthew Upson, who co-operated with John Terry in allowing Miroslav Klose an easy lead for Germany earlier. Then Lampard took a sweet strike which had just enough dip to hit the crossbar on the underside and spin the ball entirely past the goalline (the camera never lies). However, the ball bounced out and the linesman disallowed the goal thinking it had hit the crossbar and bounced in front of the goalline instead.
Obviously, FIFA being the spineless snails that they are hid away in their shells from questions about goalline technology by refusing to comment. They secretly knew they had shied away from new technology in football for too long by seeing that goal disallowed.
As one of the BBC commentary team put it:
'Thanks very much Sepp Blatter. I hope he's squirming in his seat.''
That was the Vox Populi di Anglia right there.
It's annoying that it was England's game which finally grabbed a valuable slice of FIFA's attention after so many similar goals have preceded it. OK, it didn't encourage a reversal of the decision in the end, but it definitely got the ball rolling [no pun intended] on improving how international games are officiated. Now we have two people behind the goal in addition to linesmen. Woo-hoo! That's right, put two people on the other side of the goal-line where they'll possibly have a worse view of a goal than the linesman.
Anybody can see the net ripple, but the net doesn't have to ripple for it to be a goal!
I'm not going to sit here protesting that England should have won easily and then gone onto win the tournament but the decision influenced the outcome of the game. The momentum was swinging back in England's favour until the goal was disallowed. They weren't very good that day against the Germans/Turkish-Germans/Spanish-Germans/Polish-Germans and hadn't been amazing during the group stages either.
Still, taking it as an isolated football game, the decision was absolutely ridiculous. You don't have to be a FIFA-accredited linesman (or even a non-German) to recognise that the goal was legitimate. In fact, I don't think that linesman was FIFA-accredited at all...*cue X-Files theme song*
The ''goal'' comes from a corner around 1:16 into the video. Keep watching the clip for a slower replay.
February 1993 - Paddy Connolly was the unlucky victim of the disallowed goal here. The Dundee United striker eventually scored a brace in a comfortable 4-0 victory over Partick Thistle in a the Scottish Football League match. But the disallowed goal was not without recognition as one of the silliest.
A corner was taken and the ball may or may not have deflected off of two heads. It went towards the goalie, a bit of a scramble and Connolly was there to stab it home. The ball hit the inside stanchion (support) of the goal and bounced out. A player from Partick Thistle even took the ball back to the centre-circle for a kick-off, expecting the goal to be given! However, it wasn't.
Referee Les Mottram must've thought the ball hit the outside post, but obviously that shows a bad sense of referee positioning. Furthermore, Mottram could've given a penalty for handball against the touchy-feely Partick Thistle player. Play had continued and the goal wasn't given. Yet, the ball was handled in the penalty area. I'll let it slide though!
The controversy surrounding the goal may have influenced many Scottish clubs to remove the back posts and employ vertical supports behind the net instead.
If it's any extra consolation, Connolly couldn't have hit the back post more accurately!
Here's a pretty rubbish decision, as expected from a slideshow named as such!
There's been some poltergeist activity on a football pitch in front of the Columbian public.
Atlético Junior v América de Cali was the chosen fixture for one cheeky poltergeist to have some fun. An Atlético player had a wonderful pass threaded through to him and may have actually scored from it, but the 'poltergeist' pushed him in the penalty area, sending him to the ground.
OK, it was a dive, but it was a terrible attempt at one as there was nobody near him!
Watford v Reading, 2008/09 Coca-Cola Championship [now called 'nPower Championship'.
This is a very extraordinary goal-that-never-was as the ball was nowhere near the goal-line whatsoever!
It didn't hit the crossbar and bounce; it didn't hit the inside of the back post and bounce out; it didn't bounce over the goal line and get scooped out by a goalkeeper or a defender.
It didn't have contact with any part of the goal at all. Referee Stuart Attwell and assistant Nigel Bannister gave a goal to Reading nonetheless.
A corner was taken by Reading. Watford midifelder John Eustace headed it past his own byline, but it was four yards wide of the right goal post. Reading striker Noel Hunt tried to put it back into play. Nigel Bannister was the linesman on the same side of the right goal post, so it couldn't have possibly given the illusion of a goal. Still, it was given regardless.
If Bannister was on the other side looking at it, I might understand the confusion as there'd be two layers of netting to look through, but only having to look at one side of the net? A bit silly to me.
Hunt could've let it run for another corner as the ball was already way past the byline when he kicked it, so that's another side of the coin to polish up and look at.
If you think this was the worst decision of all time, you're wrong.
You: You mean it doesn't end at goals which were nowhere near the goal???
Me: Yeh. There are stupider decisions than this! On we go....!
Episode II takes us back a bit to the Group C game between the USA and Slovenia, refereed by Malian Government Finance Inspector Koman Coulibaly (pictured above).
It was the 85th minute of an exciting game between the two countries. The score was tied at 2-2 and a free kick was whipped into the Slovenian penalty box by Landon Donovan. Maurice Edu latched onto it perfectly and volleyed the ball home to break the tie, send USA fans into raptures of cheer and give the USA something to make fun of England with (topping the group).
However, it was Much Edu About Nothing as the Malian referee disallowed the goal for what turned out to be no reason whatsoever. To this day, he hasn't even said what he thought he saw, probably fearing more ridicule; although, the initial decision couldn't have looked more ridiculous if it tried.
What makes it sillier is that for those of you with third-eyes, you could see USA midfielder Bob Bradley being held by his torso by a very 'affectionate' Slovenian footballer in the penalty box. A good reason for a penalty also went unnoticed by Coulibaly.
After this terrible decision, Koman should really stick to his non-football day job.
He didn't referee any of the remaining matches after that.
Good for you guys across the pond, right?
This is an offence to blind referees and blind people everywhere.
I uncovered this gem when surfing Youtube for material for this mega slideshow.
It's a game whose teams I don't know. Anyway, a defender brings down an attacker in the box. If you watch the goalie (dark blue kit), you see him sort of jerk his arm towards and retract it from the attacker, but absolutely no contact is made. The goalie goes to pick up the loose ball when the referee blows his whistle.
No other referee would focus all their attention on the goalie over the incident at hand.
The penalty incident is debatable, but when the referee rushes over to decide what happens next, he looks towards the innocent goalie and gives him a straight red card!!!
I didn't want to 'rank' these because there are so many candidates for first place as demonstrated by this particular clip!
Here is my number one worst decision of all time. Totally bonkers.
But you may have seen this before...
Turkish player Hakan Ünsal was SENT OFF with a second yellow card for ''hurting'' Rivaldo. This decision is ridiculous mainly because there there was a linesman standing right beside Rivaldo at the time!!
FIFA World Cup, June 2002; Brazil v Turkey. Turkey were a man down at this late stage in the game. Brazil were awarded a corner, but the ball wasn't near the flag, so Turkish player Hakan Ünsal gave Rivaldo a helping hand [or foot] by kicking the ball up towards him. The ball lightly hit Rivaldo's thigh. OK, nothing unusual or malicious, until the Brazilian midfielder suddenly clutches his FACE, falls to the floor and writhes in 'agony' in a whirlwind of patented Latin/Hispanic-footballer dramatics.
Ünsal was sent off without hesitation and without the linesman calling Rivaldo out on his terrible acting or asking Rivaldo where he thought his thigh was.
After a video review of the incident, FIFA fined Rivaldo 11,670CHF (Swiss Francs), or $13,078.56, or £8,012.11 - Around a day's pay for an average Premier League footballer.
I bet Rivaldo took a long hard look at himself after that 'stern' punishment.
That REALLY deterred other players from diving. A job well done, FIFA.
Well there we have it. 25 utterly ridiculous decisions which could easily be avoided if we had live video replays on the jumbotrons, communication on arbitrary matters and a camera facing down on the goal-line.
I will take this opportunity to say that refereeing is a very difficult job and I appreciate that they're only human. But isn't that even more justification for goal-line technology and live video replays in football games which would help them to get it right every time?
FIFA and UEFA say adding technology would ruin the game, but if rugby, tennis, cricket and greyhound/horse racing can sort out disputes and keep fans happy with the outcome, how is that ruining the game? The problem with hearing that get-out-of-jail line from the likes of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini is that neither of them give a specific reason as to why it would ruin the game.
If they are saying that it would slow the game down, OK, but I can argue against that too. Taking one minute to talk a goal over and review it using the communication systems officials already have, it would save an awful lot of argument.
Some players spend more time celebrating a goal than a referee would spend reviewing one.
Referees could officiate in peace without having death threats sent to them a la Urs Meier or being forced to employ 24/7 police protection a la Urs Meier. Yes it is the immature football fan who decides how to execute their vendettas, but all of that could be avoided with a small step out of the dark ages.
Unfairness, corruption and the conspiracy theories which arise from the aforementioned ruin the game; and FIFA and UEFA refuse to hold themselves at least partially responsible for that.
England v Argentina in 1966 was surrounded by conspiracy theories about England's World Cup triumph. It was deemed by some fans and even Argentine player Antonio Rattín as fixed. The chairman of FIFA in 1966 was English and had 'hand-picked' English officials for the game, hence Geoff Hurst's controversial goal against Argentina being given. Hurst may have been offside, but the clip I watched didn't cover his movements on camera and there were no replays like we have today.
See, replays were introduced to help TV coverage. That's advancing technology in football. Referees and linesmen now communicate via ear-pieces. THAT is technology used BY the officials to help officiate supposedly better, so why was that there despite technology 'ruining' the game. FIFA bang on and on and on about 'advancing the game' across the world, yet when ideas for said advancement are put in front of their noses, they push it away like a baby who doesn't want its food.
Once Blatter and Platini are de-throned as presidents, hopefully the bribes for World Cup votes and the stubbornness on technology - which doesn't seem to include earpieces and flags which emit radio signals - football can then advance like they aim for football to do. The FA surely have money to gradually invest in the necessary technology for each professional club....? Or they could make it a mandatory requirement like undersoil heating is for football clubs.
WAIT, what's this!? Undersoil heating? Referee earpieces? Jumbotrons!!!???
That's technology in football! Oh nooo!
We are awfully sorry, Mr Blatter, it seems that we've ruined football for the whole world with our useful technology to help football progress forward. Oops...!