The Frisk Effect – Part 1

19 03 2007

Note: I wrote this article about 2 years back just after watching Liverpool beat Chelsea on route to Istanbul… Oh what a game Istanbul was… anyways, I’m reviving this article as I want to use this to launch a series of tirades on the standard of refs in football, and how to fix it. Looking back, its not half bad šŸ™‚ [yes i did clean this up a bit… so sue me… on second thought…]

Date: May 4th, 2005
Time: Sometime after 3AM in India
Anfield. The 2nd leg of the Champions League Semi-Final between Chelsea and Liverpool. 4 minutes into the game, Baros manages to break through the Chelsea backline, and is taken down by Cech, after getting the ball around the Chelski keeper. The ball is loose, and Garcia pounces, and directs the ball goalwards. Gallas tries to clear the ball off the line. But, the multi-million pound question is, “DID THE BALL CROSS THE LINE?”

In such a big game, the referee and his assistants are on the spot from the start. And yet, they have to be able to make the right decisions in a split second. Whatever the consequences down the line. In this case, the assistant referee on the far touchline deemed it goal, and Liverpool went up 1-0, and went on to win the tie by the same scoreline.

But let us revisit the moment a little more deeply. Baros was brought down by Cech. That much was obvious. The implications were that had the goal not been given and a penalty awarded, Cech would have been red carded for a professional foul, and Chelsea forced to play with 10 men for the remaining 84 minutes of normal time, and having to sacrifice one of the outfield players for their reserve keeper. Just imagine the scenario then. Odds are that Liverpool would have converted the resultant penalty, and have gone up 1-0 anyway. And they would have been in a MUCH stronger position for the rest of the match, with Chelsea having to attack as well as compensate for the player sent off.

Being a lifelong Liverpool fan, I would have taken the goal whichever way it came. But, I must admit that I have my doubts as to whether the ball did cross the line. Quite honestly, I would have accepted it better had the ref not given the goal, but pointed to the penalty spot. That way, we would have won, with a more clear cut decision, and not having to hear Jose spouting nonsense about the better team losing, and the dubious decision of the ref.

For quite honestly, I found the refereeing to be quite biased against Liverpool. Case in point is the yellow card given to Baros for the tackle on Carvalho. Granted it was a late challenge but it was a first offence. But no, out came the card. At the same time, over the course of the game, Carvalho was adjudged to have committed more than 7 fouls of equal intensity, and yet was not even warned, let alone booked, for his troubles. To me, that just smacks of a bias.

What really took the cake was the 6 minutes of injury time. Even with the stoppages, it came to a max of 4 minutes, as there were no major stoppages during play, but for the nutjob who ran into the goal, only to be dragged off the pitch by the stewards. How could they possibly justify the 6 added minutes?

Overall, it was a clean game, although it did get a little nasty towards the end. The ref did keep the game flowing, but then again he wasn’t really called into play that often. And yet on those occasions when a firm decision was needed, he tended to opt for the easy way out. How is giving a goal the easy way out, you may ask?

In the aftermath of the Frisk affair, and the (possible?) reaction of Chelski fans, most referees I think having a nagging fear of giving decisions against Chelsea. Of course their manager is of no help, fanning the flames and somewhat subtly implying that all referees who don’t favor Chelsea, are either bad, frauds, or both.

Getting back to how giving a dubious goal is an easy way out, I agree that this doesn’t hold water considering the controversy that has been stirred up by awarding the goal. But in this case, I think the referees would have been nervous of not only giving a penalty, which almost certainly would have led to a goal, but also sending off Cech, one of the heroes of the season for the Blues. It might simply be the referee being too cautious of adding insult to injury by not only giving a penalty, but reducing Chelsea to 10-men as well.

I most certainly would not want to be in the shoes of the guy who has to make that decision. Because I would not want to be the fall guy for why Chelsea didn’t win the Champions League. Which I am sure would have been Jose’s excuse in that case.

At the end of it all, I believe Liverpool deserved the win as they played a more composed and tactically sound game over the 2 legs. Lady luck did smile on us when Lampard in the first leg, and Gudjohnsen in the 2nd, missed from inside the 6 yard box.

But I believe UEFA needs to rein in the clubs from being able to exert too much pressure on referees through mind games to influence decisions in their favor. The referees need to be protected and backed strongly to be able to make firm decisions, and not fall prey to the machinations of any club(s). Chelsea have demonstrated that if nothing else in this year’s Champion’s League.

Good on you Reds. Remember, even in Istanbul, You’ll Never Walk Alone.




3 responses

20 03 2007

Luis Garcia scored a perfectly valid goal.

The second video on the left of this page stands as proof.

20 03 2007

Thanks for confirming this smb1971. I’ve never seen that angle before of the goal.

But the point I’m trying to make is that only after all that video analysis could you say for sure. Before that, there always was that nagging doubt that Moan-rinho may be justified and refs got it wrong.

What I was speculating on was whether the ref felt as though the scenario that developed was akin to a Hobson’ choice. Give a dubious goal and let Chelsea go down by one but have all 11 men on the field and have 84 minutes to get back in the game, or award a penalty and send Cech off for a professional foul, and have Chelsea a man down for 85 minutes. The easier situation for the ref is definitely the first as then Chelsea had a chance of getting back into the game, especially after the way Frisk was treated by Chelsea fans a few games before this one.

Its a theory but a valid one i think.

2 05 2007
The Frisk Effect Once Again!!! « chronicallysane

[…] of the weakness of referees to make big calls. I’ve raised this point in an earlier article, The Frisk Effect. Sure, he can claim that he was intimidated by the Anfield atmosphere, but if you’re […]

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