Mar 162010

Something has been puzzling me ever since Hull were awarded a penalty on Saturday. Not whether it should have been awarded, or whether it was a goalscoring opportunity or not, but something else.

Having decided that it was not a goalscoring opportunity (which the referee has since said was his reasoning), why was Sol Campbell booked?

When keepers take down attackers who are running away from goal, they are booked. When referees decide that players have not prevented an ‘obvious goalscoring opportunity’, but there is still a decent chance, they sometimes still book them instead of showing the red card. And having come to the same conclusion, Andre Marriner took the same action on Saturday.

Here’s the kicker: there is no such cautionable offence as ‘well, it was almost a goalscoring opportunity, but it wasn’t quite, so I’m going for yellow instead of red’. Unless there is some other reason for a yellow card to come out, the referee has a black and white decision to make – was it an obvious goalscoring opportunity? If yes, red card, or if not, no card at all.

It has become accepted in these instances that the yellow card is given, but let’s look at the rules to see what offences can cause that punishment:

Unsporting behaviour – given for wild fouls and cynical, deliberate fouls. Sol’s was neither – he brushed the player.
Dissent – nope. He was pretty restrained given how incorrect the decision was.
Persistent infringement – no. It was his first foul.
Delaying the restart – no.
Failure to respect restart distance – used for encroachment at a free kick. That’ll be a no, then.
Leaving/entering the field without permission – no.

No mention anywhere of a ‘nearly goalscoring opportunity’, you’ll note.

Just to be clear, I’m not just referring to Saturday’s incident. Time and time again, at all levels of football, players are booked when a referee doesn’t feel the chance was quite good enough to show the red. Keepers in particular barely ever commit a foul without receiving a card.

But there is no rule to back this up. There is no reason for a referee to caution these players, so it is bizarre that it has become such accepted practice. A bit like flashing cards in the last ten minutes for identical challenges to those that went unpunished in the first ten.

Can anyone enlighten me on this?

  18 Responses to “Why was Campbell shown a yellow card at all?”

  1. Unsporting behavior for a perceived cynical foul.

    When the foul is deemed to have been committed in order to break up a promising attack, the referee can caution for unsporting behavior.

  2. vidic wasnt booked

  3. SocalReferee, I agree, but it wasn’t cynical as it was an accidental coming together.

    I don’t see how these fouls can always be deemed cynical.

    Wenger – good point, edited.

  4. You got it right. It was a black and white decision with the ball in the middle. Mariner booked the black guy. Its no different in the street why would you expect it to be different on the football pitch.
    The commentators also got it right – Wenger was muttering in French. The two racist twats wouldn’t know Japanese if it was served on a bed of raw fish but were so observant that they lip read Wenger. They wanted to bring back hanging for Sol Campbell.

  5. Sorry – Just to clarify – Football does not have rules it has Laws. The Laws give the officials the power of judge and jury. That is why so many of our match officials are super intelligent agents with British passports. Recognise the similarity ??????

  6. Hi, enjoying your blog man, right up there with the Arseblogger. That makes it two blogs I read now. Though you do have to sort out the times and frequency of your blogging. It’ll make it much easier to follow you :D.

  7. @Pete:

    An accidental foul in the middle of the pitch which stops a promising attack will also get a caution. Whether it’s an accident or not is irrelevant.

  8. I can’t believe someone actually thinks its a racial thing thats just fucking dumb sorry but it is. If the ref had a racial agenda wouldn’t he of sent Boetang of for poking Bendtner in the eye? Why did he book Bendtner no one’s still worked that out? He also gave Boetang a second yellow for a red card challenge. Hardly the acts of a racist but the act of a incompatent referee well out of his depth. As for the Penalty I actually think he called it right myself as a level 7 referee the person who should be question is the linesman who missed a obvious offside.

  9. When we want to se how English players are favoured see how Rooney was shouting on the Referee,if that was Eboue then u will have to see yellow or even red,am fed up with them but they will get it from s.Africa and lesson to from the dismissal of their Graham Poll…am fed up from my poor sudan.

  10. Referees can be unfair at times when making decisions,especially with cards.

  11. SocalReferee, thanks for clearing it up. So it comes under the umbrella of unsporting behaviour if the attack is a promising one?

    I can see why there should be a rule for that, especially when teams try to break up promising attacks with tactical fouls, but perhaps it is just a wording issue that makes it confusing – it can’t really be called ‘unsporting’ if it was an accident.

    But thanks for clarifying it!

    Menace, it has nothing to do with race. This article was only loosely talking about the Campbell yellow, it was a wider question affecting all players.

    jrincewind, thanks! I do tend to be a bit irregular with posting times, I’m impressed that Arseblogger is disciplined enough to post at the same time every day. I might try to make things a bit more consistent!

  12. As Socalreferee said it comes down to unsporting behaviour and the referee interpertation of that law. Say for instance a unwritten law such as saying my ball instead of putting a name on it to gain advantage even if not intended a indirect free kick would be awarded against the offending player while its not in the law book the ref deems it unsporting. Same as challenging for the ball as the keeper kicks it out. That one results in a yellow as the offending player would of thought of it before hand. Like I said on this occasion Andre got the decision right for a change. Unlike he’s many other mistakes.

  13. The answer? EPL referees are crap. They tend to favor english players. Rooney is their god.

  14. Thank you Wenger,lol!
    was thinking the same thing,one rule for united.

  15. Stop the BS Menace!
    i’m african and i’m shocked you’d write that.
    Manure loving refs do this CONSTANTLY.

  16. St stevie g elbows someone in the face and gets nothing. It’s not like he’s got a history of violence..
    It’s obvious the clubs with “history” (and ridiculous amounts of debt) get different, preferential treatment to everyone else.
    What comes around goes around…

  17. Spot on article. While the ‘unsporting behavior’ is an interesting argument, I think it’s a stretch. I think this situation was a black or white decision and the ref was scared to make the call. So he invented- as so many do- which is a complete and unnecessary intrusion into the game. The ref is there to make sure the laws are followed, not to chat and lecture and smile and make up in-between rules and the such. Thanks for your clearly articulated argument, groan. good stuff!

  18. I noticed the linesman on that side of the pitch only called offside once in that entire match. There were at least 3 clear cases of offside when Hull were attacking the left-side goal (on the TV), including the one that lead to the penalty. The other linesman was much better.

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