After the interesting and exciting week of Champions League football in both UEFA & CONCACAF, there are those that are still asking questions about referee decisions, and of course demanding repercussions for those actions against certain sides that fell victim to it.
I think the main questions we are asking ourselves when it comes to the interpretation of the laws of the game are can there be any middle ground or possibly a better use of judgment in regard to certain plays?
Let’s go back to the Tuesday match at Old Trafford when Nani was tracking the flight of the ball that was coming his way. Yes, his eyes were concentrating on the ball and he did raise his right leg to corral it in. What he failed to do was search for a Real Madrid player to avoid a possible collision.
Yet we know what happened at the last second. Nani struck the Real Madrid player in the stomach by accident and there was definitely no intent for malice. Yet the referee had already made up his mind and decided to issue Nani his walking papers. Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir sent him off with Manchester United leading by a goal in the match, leaving the Red Devils to try and advance while at a man disadvantage.
Some have said that since the incident was accidental, it should have only received a yellow card. The match should be decided by the players on the pitch and talking points of the match shouldn’t involve the referee. Of course there are others such as former Manchester United midfielder and commentator Roy Keane who praised the ref as he said Cakir followed the Laws of the Game. It’s quite a confusing situation.
Then there is a matter this past Thursday as the Los Angeles Galaxy flew down to Costa Rica and played a first leg Quarterfinal match up against Herediano. Mike Magee’s goal was wiped out due to an offside flag, but replay showed that the play was onside. There was also the dive in the LA area that Courtney Campbell lazily pointed to the spot for a Herediano penalty.
The ever changing terminology within this region when it comes to the game about referees is “You’ve just been CONCACAF’ed.” Would that mean what happened to Manchester United was “They were UEFA’ed?” You wish this wasn’t so but with these match fixing scandals recently receiving headlines, the question does come to mind.
But I think the best analysis has come from Fox Soccer & NBC Sports Network commentator Brian Dunseth. Every referee from within CONCACAF interprets the laws of the game differently and you won’t get a consistent ruling on the pitch.
But now the question comes into play, should the laws of the game be rewritten or make amendments to better accompany the game of today? Has the pace of the game become so quick, and players so much more agile, that the laws of old are impossible to enforce in their current form? At the same time should all confederations’ referee departments have better discussions when it comes to discussing said situations that we have discussed?
Time will tell but while I think certain laws should remain, the incident with Nani must be said that common sense was not issued. Yes it was a foul, yes it should’ve been in the book of the ref, but sadly the wrong color of the card was issued and we will never know if Real could’ve equalized with a full Man United side.