Sunday, 17 October 2010

The officiating of Mike Dean

A compelling game that was completely overshadowed by a bizarre and effectively match deciding moment as referee Mike Dean's decision to allow Tom Huddlestone's winner to stand was simply a very, very bad piece of officiating from which Spurs emerged with two points more than deserved.
I'm finding it hard to focus on the game without raging over this goal, so I may as well get it out of the way first and review the game later. Huddlestone strikes a great shot. It comes through a crowd of bodies in the box, perhaps taking a minor nick from one of the players before nestling in the bottom corner. However its trajectory takes it past William Gallas, standing in an offside position on the edge of the six yard box, who lunges to try and get a touch but fails. The linesman flags Gallas offside as he is clearly interfering with play, despite his non-touch, as Mark Schwarzer can't fully commit to an attempt to stop the ball in case a touch from Gallas changes the shot's trajectory. The referee disallows the goal. Big Tom has a word with Mr Dean. He duly trots off to his linesman and has a word. Disgracefully, bizarrely and uncomprehendingly, he now gives the goal. In common internet parlance - WTF!?
From a little bit of internet research this morning, which of course doesn't appear to contain an explanation from Mike Dean, the most informative insight is from the goalscorer himself here. In the first half Huddlestone attempted to head away a Fulham through ball - he got his head to it but just changed the trajectory forward. He said it just brushed his head but I seem to remember a much stronger connection. Anyway the ball went on to reach Kamara, who had been offside when the ball was played and the linesman flagged accordingly. However Dean overruled his official, presumably deciding that Huddlestone's touch was strong enough to deem that the ball had actually been played by a Tottenham man, meaning Kamara could not be offside. It was such an odd decision that most players, having seen the flag go up, effectively stopped and no danger came from the situation, which actually could have been quite promising.
From what I can ascertain, Dean has used a similar warped logic for the winner, but is on far shakier ground. The argument, from what I can see, is that Huddlestone's shot took a deflection off Chris Baird and, as Dean now deems Baird to have played the ball, Gallas cannot be ruled offside. But Baird didn't play the ball. At best, it hit him. In fact, looking at two replays, it's not even certain that he does deflect the ball. Certainly the shot doesn't seem to deviate from its course in any way.
No other referee that I have seen interprets the offside rule in this way, with any slight touch by a defending team instantly dismissing the potential of an offside call. It's a ridiculous stance to take and would be totally unenforceable if applied in such away across the board. I would suggest that Mike Dean needs to go back to the FA's referee school for re-education as his approach to offside further complicates a ridiculously opaque rule and how it is enforced.


Sean said...

As a Spurs fan, I wold say immediately that I would be disappointed if the goal had been given against rather than for us.
But the fact is tha the ref was totally correct in his interpretation of the law as it stands at the mooment. It is a bad law, not bad reffing that you should be targetting.
Gallas was in an offside poition, but not in Schwarzer's line of sight, and he didn't touch the ball. Therefore, in exact compliance with the the stipulations of this regulation he didn't 'interfere' with play.
You and I may know full well that the 'Keeper must have been aware of the possibility that Gallas could divert the trajectory of the ball...but apparently the genuises who decided to interfere with the offside rule apparently don't. I have seen it happening previously, in a game I was watching as a neutral and said exactly the same can the goalie not be aware of this possibility and therefore any such player notbe 'interfering' with play. Unfortunately, the law states that a player in an offsde position has to actually touch the ball, or be in the sightline of the 'Keeper.

The problem is, the old offside law was also crapas it allowed for suffocating negative football to flourish.

Tom said...

Tottenham deserved the win.

Granted the winner was controversial, but Gallas wasn't in the way of the ball, he didn't touch it and Schwarzer had already dived. To say Huddlestone managed to convince the ref to change his mind is clutching at straws.

The fact is that Fulham had half an hour to equalise, but didn't.

Good luck for the rest of the season, Dembele looks a good player.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on.
Huddlestone has hit a shot that has beaten the keeper and found the net.
Oh was Gallas offside? Well him being off didn't change a single thing. If he had touched the ball [OFFSIDE] If he had blocked the keepers chances of reaching the ball [OFFSIDE] if the keeper had saved it and Gallas in the second phas had contributed [OFFSIDE]. Otherwise it stands.
People are saying it was by the law, but the law is wrong. I actually feel the law is right.
All that seems unacceptable is that the officials had to discuss it to make sure they got it right and I would much rather they were allowed to take a moment to be sure of what just happened. It's a complex situation and without technology will mean that sometimes it will take a bit of sorting out. They need to sort out what the facts of the situation are - and how they apply (in that instance) regarding the law.
I remember Spurs having a goal disallowed away at Coventry in the 90's where Sheringham (I think) vlleyed one from outside the box which flew straight into the top corner for a spectacular goal. Somebody who had nothing to do with that whatsoever happened to be offside when it was struck leaving everybody scratching their heads and thinking something about this doesn't seem right and needs to change. Thank God it has been and common sense prevails.

nate said...

it was unfair but these things happen. i'd be livid if it was tottenham. but as the first comment states it was a goal in the law but shouldn't be. so unlucky, these things happen. maybe we are finally getting these top 4 decisions :D

Bad Andy said...

Hey guys! Thanks for your rather speedy contributions.
A couple of you have said that Gallas needs to touch the ball to be deemed offside. I don't think that's true. And as for him 'not being in Schwarzer's eyeline' is disingenuous given that Gallas almost got a toe to it. Even Harry said he wasn't sure if he'd got a touch, so he must have been close.
Having played as a goalkeeper, an opposition player near the trajectory of a shot does affect how you try and stop it.
I agree the offside rule is a mess - but this is the first time by any referee I've seen the rules interpreted in this way, which is why I'm having a go at Dean as he appears to be doing things in a different way from his peers. I'm happy that he went to his linesman and chatted about the decision, but I'm told he wasn't going to do this until Hudders had a word.
As for the result - both teams played really well and I think would have been happy with a point each. It's just a shame that the good performances have been somewhat overshadowed by one poor one.
Just one query for you guys - Bale seemed kind of subdued yesterday, especially given how well he's been playing this season. Any reason for that or was it just an off day?

Anonymous said...

According to the rules it is a goal. As soon as Gallas comes into play then he was off-side, but he was not according to the rules (not logic). I don't want to see a roll back to days of Bould and Adams with their arms up in the air but they need to be simplied, the fulham keeper shouldn't have to work out who is in play.

Anonymous said...

I am a forest fan who was watching the match and agree it was a goal by the letter of the law but agree the rules do have to be changed or at least clarified but the not many people noticed that in the build up to fulhams goal dempsey controlled the ball with his upper arm and not his chest so if we are being strict to the rules the fulham goal should have been disallowed so in the end it was a fair result

Anonymous said...

Schwarzer saw the ball all the way. Mikel Arteta struck a shot today that Yakubo had to duck as it flew into the net. That is off-side though nothing given. Admit it if the linesman didn't put the flag up you would not have mean so angry as it happens all the time. Gallas yesterday was not off-side as he was not in the line of sight between the ball and the goalkeeper. He came in from the side. Having then not touched it, it's not off-side. This is the off-side rule.

Anonymous said...

Bale was involved heavily in both goals and was a threat throughout. Hardly subdued.

Anonymous said...

It was a no win situation for Dean as either decision would have been harsh. By the rules of the game the goal should have stood. Gallas didn't touch the ball or block Schwarzer's view. On top of this Schwarzer was already in flight before Gallas stuck a foot out, so Gallas' actions didn't interfere with play at all.

Evertons second goal today was exactly the same but Yakubu (I think it was him) was right in front of Reina and actually ducked out of the way of the ball. Anyway, while I'd be gutted if it was the other way around I don't think the decision was anywhere near as outrageous as you are trying to make out.

Best of luck for the rest ofthe season.

Bad Andy said...

Can all these people saying that players have to be right in front of the keeper or touch the ball in order to be offside then declaring that to be 'the rule' point me in the right direction to somewhere that will back these claims up as I've never heard it in those terms before. I've heard of interfering with play, but have not heard that boiled down into such specific terms.

Did Dempsey handball it? None of the Spurs players seemed to claim he did and they had the best view.

As for Bale - he did have a quiet game by his standards this season, which was crystalised by a ridiculous and unnecessary dive. I couldn't see his involvement in the first goal, but as for being 'involved' with the second - he took a corner which was headed out - unfortunately for Fulham it ended up at Huddlestone's feet.

Seb said...

From a spurs perspective I don't think anyone can claim categorically that the goal should have been given or not, it's right in the middle of that 'gray area' between offside and onside. Although (with my spurs hat on) as you rightly point out at least Mike Riley was consistent in his interpretation (which is not always the case). I'm delighted with 3 points but Fulham played really well and I wouldn't have been disappointed or surprised to come away with one (or even none).

As for Bale he's been almost unplayable this season but a mixture of a hectic international week and Fulham defending the flanks well did keep him uncharacteristicly quiet...although popping up with an assist and secondary assist (cross to VDV) on an off day is not too shabby ;)

I think expecting the Bale's or Modric's or VDV's to be a match winner every time they step on to the pitch puts unnecessary pressure on them and imo was a contributing factor to his baron spell with us

Anonymous said...

Re: a couple of points on here:

1) King did appeal for a handball on Dempsey in the build-up to the goal, but no-one else did.

2) Schwarzer dived at full stretch and did not reach the shot. He in now way 'adjusted' his dive because of Gallas. He simply didn't get to the shot. In fact, he didn't complain about Gallas.

3) According to Huddlestone, he didn't ask the ref to talk to the linesman: he only told the ref that it took a deflection and asked if the ref realised. According to him, the referee said he was going to talk to the linesman.

Quite simply, the rules of the game say that this is a goal. Whether the rules are right or not is a different matter: but interesting that no Liverpool players complained about Yakubu on the 2nd Everton goal today, even though his position was far more 'interfering' than Gallas' as Reina actually moved to the right to see around him, only for the ball to go past him to the left.

And by the way - those who say Spurs got '2 more points than they deserved' were not watching the right game. Spurs deserved all 3 points: indeed, Fulham did hardly anything after the Spurs goal and made no attempt to force the game. Spurs looked far more likely to get a 3rd than Fulham did to get a 2nd...

Enorme Nuez said...

I gather no one noticed that Huddlestone's shot hit Baird which changed the path of the shot.

The idea that Gallas was blocking Schwarzer's line of sight is farcical. Every player in front of him was blocking the sight of the ball.

Had the ball not hit Baird it would've hit the cluster of players that were there or it would've flew wide.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here are the facts from the 'Laws of the Game' published by FIFA.
Rule 11 says
"A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
• interfering with play or
• interfering with an opponent or
• gaining an advantage by being in that position".

Further guidance states
"• “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate
• “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or
movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent".

I'd say Gallas was interfering; I was there but neutral in all of this.

Seb said...

Anonymous 19:55

Doesn't that back up the argument that the goal should have stood? Becasue although Gallas made a movement towards the ball he didn't interfere with the defenders physically or visually and also their movement wasn't with a view to preventing Gallas getting to the ball (including the keeper who dived to stop the shot). None of that's even taking into account the deflection off the defender. All in all, a complicated situation which could have been given either way but imo they probably got it 'right'.

Although purely speculative, I doubt anyone would have even noticed the 'offside' had the linesmen not initially flagged. The Tevez and Arteta goals today were clear mistakes which will only be side notes when talking about todays action

ParkLane67 said...

Bad luck in losing a tight game which swung on a controversial decision. You've got to admit it was a great shot by Hudd. I don't think Schwarzer would have got it even without the deflection, but I also do not think that Gallas interfered. Schwarzer had a clear view. I think on balance that Blackpool had a much bigger grievance today about refereeing decisions - They were done at both ends and it cost them three points.

Spurzz said...

I've checked the goal and in my opinion, it was going off target until it took a slight deflection off of Chris Baird, which sent it into the botton corner

The ref made the correct decision, the only bit of unfinished business in my eyes is that it was actually a Baird own goal, and should be handed to him (Sorry Hudd)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I believe I have provided you with the link from the ex referee Graham Poll which clearly states the decision was a correct one. In fact all pundits have agreed over the weekend it was. However, I am sure you'll continue to feel injustice because that is what fans do. Although it was perfectly within the laws of the game.

Secondly, did you really watch the game? Don't remember Bale's involvement in the first goal?

Well he crossed it to van der Vaart and rest I am sure you picked up on match of the day which appears what you are basing all your comments on. His contribution to the second goal was clear as well as his corner was aimed at Huddlestone (it's a routine we try every now and again as Huddlestone can strike the ball on the volley) it did take nick off a player's head but he was aiming for Huddlestone and it was clever play. Again re-run your MOTD tape when you get home.

Bad Andy said...

First off 'all pundits have agreed over the weekend it was a correct one.' No they didn't. In fact they didn't they disagree on Match of the Day? I missed it.
Here is one dissenting voice for example:,17033,8742_6451001,00.html

Also if it was so cut and dried why hasn't the ref come out and said so?

There have been a lot of comments saying that people need to touch the ball in order to be offside. If this is true, then it shouldn't be. You can interfere with play without touching it.

In fact it underlines it in those rules that someone was kind enough to post - "making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent."

I've assumed that it was obvious Gallas was distracting. It was Hudd's comments which made me think that the ref decided that Baird played the ball rather than whether Willy G was not a distraction.

And I'm not bashing Bale. He's one of my favourite players in the league. See here:

I guess I was slightly disappointed because he was astonishing on his last game at CC. And I didn't see Bale's cross to Van Der Vaart - I didn't even see Van der Vaart shoot. I'd just finished joking about Kamara's goal when I looked up in time to see the ball hit the crossbar and drop for bloody Pav.

DrWankenstein said...

Everyone knows why the offside rule was changed, and it was not for cases like this! The rule was brought in to prevent silly offsides being given against attacking players that were involved in a previous period of play and who were unable to get back onside before their team's next goal scoring opportunity..the key being that they had no part and no intent to participate in that second sequence of play(usually because they were getting to their feet, were nowhere near the ball, or they raised their hands to clearly signal that they had no intent to interfere)

The rule makes this clear..

“interfering with an opponent” means...making a gesture or
movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent".

If Gallas had made no attempt to "move" towards the ball with the "intent" to play it, then the goal should clearly have stood.

Is it was, he lept at the ball, clearly intended to play it and clearly considered himself to be "in play". Just because he didnt make as good a contact as he would like doesnt make it less offside.

Rich Text