Behind the Whistle: Coventry fortunate with ball out of play

1 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

In Behind the Whistle, former Premier League and EFL referee Chris Foy goes through a selection of key match decisions from the latest Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two action.

Behind the Whistle aims to give supporters of EFL clubs an insight into the decision-making considerations and also clarification of certain calls to provide an understanding of how the laws of the game are interpreted.

As part of a regular feature on Sky Sports following the conclusion of a matchday, Foy will be here to run you through some refereeing matters in the EFL…

Coventry City 1-0 Plymouth Argyle

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Coventry and Plymouth

Incident: Potential ball out of play (Coventry City)

Decision: Goal awarded (Coventry City)

Foy says: From the replays, we're able to see, the ball looks to have fully crossed the goal line. However, the judgement for the assistant referee, who is well-positioned, is made more difficult because the attacker and defender are in between him and the ball, undoubtedly obscuring his view.

We also know that cameras that are not directly in line can provide a misleading image in this type of situation; just because grass can be viewed between the line and the bottom of the ball does not necessarily mean the ball is fully out because the curvature of the ball means that the edge of it can be overhanging the line and therefore not fully out.

However, on balance, the amount of grass we can see between the ball and the line in this situation strongly indicates the ball was fully out of play and the goal should not have stood. However, it is much easier using freeze-frame images to make this judgement than it was for the assistant referee in real time, especially with his obscured view.

QPR 4-2 Stoke City

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Watch highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between QPR and Stoke City

Incident: Potential red card - second caution (Stoke City)

Decision: Red card awarded - second caution (Stoke City)

Foy says: While some might feel the showing of a second yellow card was a little harsh in this case, the Stoke City defender took a big risk by very clearly grabbing the shirt of the attacker, who was moving past him, into space close to the penalty area.

The referee was correct to penalise the action and having done so deemed the action to have stopped a promising attack, which is a cautionable offence.

Burton Albion 0-2 Portsmouth

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One match between Burton and Portsmouth

Incident: Potential penalty (Portsmouth)

Decision: Penalty awarded (Portsmouth)

Foy says: The defender commits to a challenge, goes to ground and takes a risk. The Portsmouth forward gets in front of the defender and contact is made, resulting in clear consequence with a foul being committed.

For me, the correct decision from the referee to award a penalty in this incident.

Stevenage 2-2 Peterborough United

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Highlights of the SkyBet League One match between Stevenage and Peterborough United

Incident: Potential penalty (Stevenage)

Decision: No penalty awarded (Stevenage)

Foy says: This is a good judgement by the referee in the closing stages of the fixture, in my opinion.

Both players are focusing on the ball and are mutually engaged, but it certainly doesn't meet the threshold for a penalty to be awarded. This falls under normal football contact for me and therefore the correct call to let the play continue.

Wigan Athletic 3-0 Fleetwood Town

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One match between Wigan Athletic and Fleetwood Town

Incident: Potential penalty (Fleetwood Town)

Decision: No penalty awarded - second caution for simulation (Fleetwood Town)

Foy says: There are two parts to this decision - the potential penalty and then the caution given to the Fleetwood Town player for simulation.

I think the referee was correct in not awarding the penalty, with the defender not committing to the challenge - in fact, it appears he is actually looking to move away from any contact. However, given the players crossed at speed, I think the better choice is the 'third option' of allowing play to continue, rather than issuing a yellow card for a clear act of simulation - which was the Fleetwood Town player's second yellow card.

I think the better outcome would have been not to award the penalty given the contact is normal football contact and let the game continue without a caution being issued.

Forest Green Rovers 0-3 Bradford City

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Highlights from the Sky Bet League Two match between Forest Green Rovers and Bradford City

Incident: Potential red card - DOGSO (Bradford City)

Decision: Red card awarded - DOGSO (Bradford City)

Foy says: I don't think there is any doubt that this ticks all the boxes for a free-kick and the issuing of a red card for the denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity (DOGSO).

Once the clearance is blocked and the attacker is running directly towards the goal, any foul committed outside the area - on this occasion the pulling back of the attacker - would give the referee no choice but to award a free-kick and a red card. A good call from the official.

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