By Richard Gordon
Here’s my view of last night’s pen. Yes he clipped him; but he’s watching the ball the whole time. Does there have to be element of intent? pic.twitter.com/v5m9uqunEV
— Andrew McGoff (@KloppGoff) February 14, 2017
Alan Milliner made two box signs with his hands, raced 60m to halfway and back and listened intently to his earpiece.
22 players were set up waiting for a goal kick.
Roughly 2000 fans were at the game excited about witnessing something new, but unsure as to how it would play out.
Eventually, Milliner made one more box sign, and pointed to the penalty spot.
Beijing players protested vociferously. The crowd, whilst obviously happy for the Phoenix, were more bemused than anything. Kosta Barbarouses put the penalty tamely (guiltily?) down the middle and didn’t celebrate much.
Having watched multiple replays it is obvious that a Beijing player has tripped Dylan Fox at the back post.
It is also obvious that Milliner and Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Kris Griffiths-Jones either didn’t use, or were under instructions not to use, common sense.
The Beijing player had his eyes solely on the ball and Fox would never have got anywhere near the ball. Where was the impact on the outcome? Where was the materiality of the decision?
Referees in rugby tread a fine line between technical decisions (i.e. someone breaking one of the 13,529 rules of rugby) and tactical decisions – what impact did that infringement have/should it be penalised?
Common sense should have dictated that this was waved away. This was a highly technical decision and this approach can only lead to more controversy. It (I assume) was the reason a Beijing player was sent off after the whistle for dissent.
For the VAR system to work, referees are going to have to use common sense. A penalty is given when the infringement has a material effect on the play (e.g. if Fox was a chance to play the ball). There are two elements to this – was there an infringement? What impact did it have?
Without common sense, we’re going to have 6 penalties and 7 defensive free kicks at every corner.
Anyway, the Phoenix finally received a dodgy call in our favour. In typical Phoenix fashion, it came in a game where the result didn’t matter.
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