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Chelsea Grab Equalizer Against Spurs After Referee Says Ball Crossed Line: Video

Video: Linesman makes controversial call

Another controversial incident happened in the Premier League Saturday which shows yet again why video technology is needed in this sport. Late in the first half between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, with Spurs leading 1-0 after a Sandro goal earlier in the game, Frank Lampard struck a shot from long range which bobbled under Heurelho Gomes’s legs. The goalkeeper had to reach back to stop the ball from crossing the line. But controversially, the assistant referee indicated to referee Andre Marriner that the ball had crossed the line. And a goal was awarded to the Blues to tie the game up at 1-1.

However, the TV replays showed — from several angles — that the ball did not completely cross the line, so the goal should not have been allowed. Gomes shouldn’t have made the mistake in the first place, but Tottenham were on the wrong end of a poor decision by the assistant referee and referee.

The mistake by the officials will again trigger people saying that video technology should be incorporated into the game to allow officials to have the same video available to them that TV viewers around the world see. As it is now, the referees are at an unfair disadvantage where they can only go on what referees see. And we all know that humans make mistakes.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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56 Responses to Chelsea Grab Equalizer Against Spurs After Referee Says Ball Crossed Line: Video

  1. PaulFromMiamie says:

    Shouldn’t the blame be more on Gomez for his mistake? He put the refs in this position. It was a 50/50 call from the refs position.

    • MiaK says:

      I’m sorry to call you out, but this is terrible reasoning. The refs have an obligation to get things right. Nothing more, nothing less. It should never be a “50/50″ situation as you put it, implying that if they are in a difficult situation then it is, oh well, lets just flip a coin. Total BS.

      If Gomez isn’t good enough then he should be “punished” by his manager. He should face the indignity of sitting on the bench and/or the wrath of the fans.

      As bad a howler as this was by Gomez, he should never be “punished” by a poor refereeing decision.

      • Andrei says:

        Gomes was not punished. Ref simply made a bad call. I would give the referee a benefit of doubt – from his position it was tough decision and unfortunately he didn’t call it right. It didn’t help either that the linesman was behind the play and did see it clearly to indicate no goal.

        Every professional footballer knows that the bad calls are part of the game. You simply don’t put yourself in position to be on the wrong end of them.

        • Anthony says:

          So you are going to throw the laws of the game out because of human error? Why even have laws of the game if it all depends on who is in charge. I admit people make mistakes, but when there are millions of dollars and happiness of supporters on the line you got to make sure of every decision you make. The linesmen couldn’t see the ball or the line, but yet he gets to make the call. Meanwhile I’m in my living room an ocean away with a perfect angle to make the call. The thing I don’t get is, billions of people can get the call right, but if one person with a bad angle gets it wrong, it doesn’t matter. After this week, the question of video technically has been answered, yes. Unfortunately FIFA, doesn’t want to listen, so how about this compromise, take all the officials off the field and let them make calls in their living rooms, in front of their televisions, they have a better angle there anyway.

          • PaulFromMiami says:

            Fifa has said that they will implement goal-line technology for all major competitions. It’s up to the FA to institute it in the EPL

  2. robina says:

    Do the rules state the entire ball must cross over into the goal in order to award a point? From that clip, starting around :45, its easy to see that at least 3/4 of that ball did cross over the line. So I’m curious.

  3. Matt says:

    And the second goal is offside.

    • Arjun says:

      n it’s only Manchester United who always get decisions in their favor. Chelsea n the FA make EPL look sh!t….

  4. The_NZA says:

    the funniest part is that two ref errors cost spurs 3 points, ball was NOT over the line and Kalou was offside when drogba miss cued his shot.

  5. John says:

    Terrible mistakes by the lines man. Poor decision

    • Simon Burke says:

      Terrible mistake by John. It was the ref that gave the first goal, not the linesman.

      • Scott W says:

        You sure about that? Why then do the Spurs players surround the linesman and not the referee?

        • Simon burke says:

          Because they want him to tell the ref no. He hasnt flagged for a goal.

          • Scott W says:

            Every story I have read on various sites all say it was on the advice of the linesman that the goal was awarded.

          • R2Dad says:

            Before the referee can signal a goal, he should get confirmation from the AR. If the AR does not give it, the referee is supposed to continue with play.

  6. tonyspeed says:

    Why don;t they just institute a system like cricket where you can request video check upto 2 times per side? Is it that hard. Even 1 time per side would be better than nothing.

    • Guy says:

      There you go trying to be logical! ;-) There is no excuse for not instituting at least some sort of “challenge” video review system. Of course the guys in FIFA, etc. aren’t sure that the use of video in sport is for real yet. They think it’s just a passing fancy….and dangerous. I mean, you wouldn’t want to hurt the refs’ feelings or damage their authority. Errr, what authority?

  7. Andrei says:

    In this particular case just having an extra official in the goal area would have done the trick.

    • Guy says:

      The simplest solution that might not cure everything, but would certainly increase the chances of making the correct call. Too easy, Andrei. They will experiment with it for another 3-5 years…just to be sure. ;-)

      • R2Dad says:

        Being closer to the ball isn’t necessarily going to prevent these types of bad calls. if there is an AR behind the goal, and he can run to the side of the net to see if the ball is in or out, then yes. But just standing behind the net won’t tell you what you need to know. That’s why the AR couldn’t see–he needed to be down at the corner which was almost a physical impossibility.

  8. MennoDaddy says:

    Terrible decision to award the goal. I’ll be interested in reading about what (if anything) the refs said about that decision, because it’s nigh well indefensible.

  9. trickybrkn says:

    I HATE CFC.

    HATE.

    But that was a goal. I can’t be totally sure watching the replay… how do you expect the ref to be 100% sure that its didn’t

    its a goal. cause it got counted… END OF. wanna moan about something that isn’t going to happen in the near future, so be it, but its a different debate.

    PS the second CFC goal was offside. linesman blew that one.

    • what says:

      It didn’t cross the line. It’s not a goal. What are you talking about?

      • trickybrkn says:

        because the ref saw it as going over.

        its like this, you can crowd the ref, shout at him, call him what you like… he’s not changing his mind.

        wanna talk about goal line technology cool. first get Sep out of FIFA.

        otherwise its a goal cause it was counted.

    • El Tri 2014 says:

      Tricky, video replay shows precisely that the ball did not cross entirely over the line and therefore the goal should have not counted. However, the ref being 18 yards away WAS influenced by the crowd and players and guessed wrongly.

      A goal is a goal, but a goal awarded in error especially for Spurs at this game, cost them $10 Million in CL money.

      • R2Dad says:

        Not yet, they haven’t lost $10M. Spurs have control of their future. They play ManCity and Liverpool as well as two teams down the table so if they win 2 and draw 2 they’ll still make Europe.
        wrt the AR guessing, senior ARs are supposed to understand that if you don’t know for sure you’re supposed to say so and NOT guess.

  10. R. Abramovic says:

    thank you andre marriner. you may now pick up your pay packet.

    • Dan says:

      Thank you Gomes. You may now pick up your pay packet.

      There. Fixed it for you. Even added correct grammar at no extra charge.

  11. SSReporters says:

    Horrible decisions on both.

    But don’t worry, I’m sure because Manchester United supposedly never have calls go against them this is the only justification of Chelsea ONCE again getting favorable decisions that directly affect the title race.

    • Devils Advocate says:

      In what way does that “justify/rationalise” the appaling decision? It’s wrong either way. This result may well put an end to Spurs’ hopes of finishing 4th and qualifying for the CL with all the financial benefits that go with it. It’s also highly likely, they’ll lose out on a higher % of the Premier League “pot” paid out at the end of the season. Is that in any way fair to Spurs…I think not.

      As for Chelsea getting the extra points, we’re all aware many clubs get the “benefit of the doubt”. Doesn’t make it right though.

  12. Dave (dlbags) says:

    Once again we will be talking about refs because the FA and FIFA want to stay in the 19th century. Simple goaline technology, more refs and instant replay and then we can talk about the play on the field and lose this victim mentality most soccer fans have from the imperfection of men keeping us from getting correct scorelines.

    Spurs should have won this 0-1. Bad call on the given goal and offside on the second one.

    And sure a penalty should have been given to Chelsea so perhaps it would have been 1-1.

    • Dave (dlbags) says:

      BTW when do we get the posts ripping Spurs for blowing the season? Their record last 7 games haven’t been so great for a team looking to stay in Champion’s League.

      Also WBA, wow. They are the real deal now, huh? And Fulham haven’t lost a game since the Michael Jackson statue went up and look very good right now. A couple of mid table teams closing strong.

  13. IvanTheTerrible says:

    Officials got Chelsea’s first goal wrong. The linesman was not in line with the ball and had to make a decision about 18 yards in front of the goal-line. When I saw it on TV in real time I must say I thought the ball might have just gone over the line. Of course on replay the entire ball hadn’t gone over, even if most of the ball was over the line, so it should not have been a goal. Technology is definitely needed to avoid these wrong decisions.

    Spurs might feel wronged by Chelsea’s first goal and might feel that the second was marginally offside but for me they didn’t do enough to win this game. They didn’t create enough chances as opposed to Chelsea who clearly had more chances and wasted a number of them. Spurs fans should be worried that their team hasn’t been winning much lately and there is even the distinct possibility they may not even get a Europa League spot. If that happens I can see Spurs becoming a selling club in the summer with a number of their top players being the target of bids by other top European clubs.

    • MennoDaddy says:

      There’s actually some discussion among Spurs fans as to whether Spurs should tank and try to AVOID 5th place, since Europa League games will be an unneeded distraction from the league, and they’ll want to make a concerted effort to make a real push for the CL next season.

      I don’t know if I buy that; I do think if they finish 5th they should strongly consider playing the kids and reserve players in the Europa League. Semi-worthless competition.

      • trickybrkn says:

        funny. West Ham support are debating tanking this season and making a run at winning some silverware in the NPower Championship. Sure we’d be playing crap teams in the shit parts of the country… not to mention losing a ton of cash, not be able to sign top players… losing even more.

        yeah we debated it and decided only a Spurs fan would be that stupid.

  14. Pakapala says:

    I like it when 10000 slo-mo replays show a call was incorrect and people jump all over the FIFA and the FA waving their video-technology flag. What is a video technology anyway? Don’t y’all mean replay? As if video replay is not still prone to human judgement, therefore errors.
    A couple weeks ago in another EPL game there was a did-the-ball-cross-the-line moment where both commentators on TV that game disagreed on whether the ball crossed the line or not, and even after I watched the replays over and over again I couldn’t tell whether it crossed or not. Imagine now we had implemented automatic video replay into football and a ref had to go look at the replay and make a decision? What then would advocates of perfect 100% flawless referees with super power replays calling the game would then say?

    • MennoDaddy says:

      This very thing happens all the time in American football. I think the American system of replays (where each coach gets two “challenges” per game where they can ask officials to review a ruling on the field) works well. Sometimes the officials get it wrong, of course, but they get it right much more often than they get it wrong.

      And yes, sometimes, video evidence is inconclusive. Which is why in the NFL any review has to show incontrovertible evidence to overrule the ruling on the field.

      I don’t think it would be a stretch to implement SOMETHING like that in the highest levels of European football.

      • Anthony says:

        When a player is injured, on average how long is the action stopped, thirty seconds? A minute? Give a former official, in the press box that amount of time to review a call, if he can’t figure it out in that that amount of time, call stands. If there are reviews, treat them like injures and put any delay into stoppage time. Also, if we do go with the coaches challenges and if you are wrong, you lose a substitution or if you have none, you lose a man. I don’t want someone like Sir Alex challenging to play games with his watch.

        • Jeremy says:

          Agree that some sort of replay should be implemented and probably based on the NFL system. Maybe not lose a man if all subs are used up. Follow the NFL system so you can’t challenge with no subs left (like having no timeouts left). Either have a replay official in a booth or have a TV ready for the referee on the sideline.

          Questions remain would replays just be for goals or include offsides or fouls in/out of the box?

      • Pakapala says:

        It’s funny you mention the NFL; When it comes to the first Chelsea goal, based on the NFL replay system, it’s very likely that the call on the field would stand even after video replay; why because in the NFL you have to have irrefutable evidence to change the ruling on the field. Many times we see a call not changed because the referee after going to watch the replay comes back saying the ruling on the field stand because they could not positively 100% determine if it was a wrong call or not. That’s in the NFL where they have specific rules (as opposed to football/soccer which has laws which implies and invites interpretation). There goes the perfect game that pro-replay fans advocate for! Face it people! There will not be any such thing as getting the calls right all the time, bad calls will always be part of the game with or without replays, crucial games will always be affected by a bad call here and there. It’s call human imperfection, it’s called suggestion, we are all suggest and prone to errors.

        • R2Dad says:

          it’s not about the perfect game; more about minimizing the few bad calls that really matter. the video evidence available is conclusive enough to deny chelsea that goal.

  15. Evan says:

    I’m a City fan and that was a great win for us today.. oh wait, we play tomorrow. hahahahaha.

    • Devils Advocate says:

      Best of luck in the Cup Final by the way. Be nice to see the shiny, silver “pot” end up in the potteries of Wedgewood fame. Stoke have had a good season and Tony Pulis has done a great job do you not think?

  16. Crying in my milk says:

    Even though they got the calls wrong, thats football. Ive seen Manchester United get so many breaks this season its sick. Plus if this was Blackpool or WBA, or the like, nobody would be saying anything. Chelsea has gotten the shaft a couple games too this season that cost them at least 6 points, so things are just evening out. Theres no sense in crying about it. Its unfortunate but until they use a replay system, there will be human error. Or maybe……the linesman had his paycheck bet on Chelsea? Hrmmmmm…..

    • Arjun says:

      so many breaks this season..please name some…

      • Crying in my milk says:

        How about the blatant Vidic handball in the box that somehow everyone saw but the ref??? Ive got plenty more manure lover. Get ready to get served this weekend.

  17. Jeffrey says:

    Any video technology should not follow the American model of challengers. The better model is of the NBA where the officials decide when to use video replay to get a call right. Video replays should be used only in determining if the ball has crossed the goal-line and if a player has been fouled in the penalty area. The fourth official should be the one to decide if and when to use replay technology. Also, the managers should be barred from talking to the fourth official who should be concentrating on the game.

  18. Philswin08 says:

    We fans in North America have seen replay gradually instituted in all of our “Big Four” sports with baseball being the last holdout. Mlb is probably the best example of the league here that had to be led kicking and screaming into it mainly due to the powerful umpire union. Determining Home runs are the ONLY time it can be used.
    Goal line tech is being used quite successfully in ice hockey. An off ice official is responsible to let the on ice ref know if a review is needed. No coaches challenges are permitted. The puck travels at such high speeds(90 mph plus) that in some cases it is next to impossible to tell WITHOUT replay wether the puck crossed or not.

  19. El Tri 2014 says:

    It’s official, Chelsea is the ref equivalent of Barcelona. When the players can’t score, the ref gives them the goals.

    Also, I’m in favor of goal line tech, cause it would not interfere with the pace of the game, however, I’m worried that replays will ruin the sport as it has for the NFL. Still, it may be a necessary evil, after all, the poor ref decisions just didn’t hand Chelsea 3 points, it robbed the Spurs from the $20 Million they could have made in Champions League next year…that’s $10 Million for each poor ref decision, wow.

  20. Sev says:

    Bad calls. Game should have ended 1-Nil to Spurs. First goal was not fully across the line and the second was offside.

  21. Warren says:

    Gaffer (and others)

    If you’re arguing that goal-line decisions should be 100% accurate, then I’m afraid that’s not going to happen, even with technology.

    If you’re arguing for less imperfection, then how much less? Where do you draw the line (pun half intended ;))?

    Is there a stat on how imperfect the current system is (i.e. what % of goal-line decisions are wrong) so that any new system would have a baseline to work from?

  22. Daniel says:

    I don’t think that technology needs to be used in football (soccer) across the board, but it should at least be used to the degree that the fans will see anyways.
    If it’s a small, un-televised match somewhere then the refs judgement should stand — but if replays are seen commonly by the fans watching the games within minutes (often seconds) of the play the ref should AT LEAST allow a that technology to influence their decision.

    I like the idea that teams be given a set number of challenges, or that it be left to the refs discretion. If the replay doesn’t conclusively show a result then it still comes down to the refs judgement.

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