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Clattenburg claim takes game into uncharted territory

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Phil McNulty | 08:13 UK time, Monday, 29 October 2012

For an hour Stamford Bridge staged a football match to savour. Chelsea and Manchester United spent this time laying out every exhibit to illustrate their potential to be Premier League champions.

The scenery was suddenly, uncomfortably, shifted. It was moved into relatively uncharted territory where a referee is at the centre of allegations that he used "inappropriate language" to two players - and part of Chelsea's complaint is that he used racial language.

How sad that football is once more second on the agenda. This was a game that was on its way to being celebrated but instead concluded in a toxic cloud of controversy, recriminations and accusations involving referee Mark Clattenburg.

The post-match developments after United's contentious 3-2 win that saw Chelsea make a formal complaint to the authorities about Clattenburg is of such a serious nature that it will overshadow all that went on at Stamford Bridge.

Referees' organisation the Professional Game Match Officials says Clattenburg will co-operate fully into any inquiry and welcomes the facts being established - but once again what is meant to be the main event is pushed into the shadows by happenings in and around it.

Even before that news seeped out from the dressing room area into what was already a highly-charged environment, Clattenburg had endured a trying and mixed 90 minutes.
As the clock moved past the hour mark, this was a match perched on its tipping point.

At 2-2 it could have gone either way. In an antagonistic finale it is impossible to shake the conclusion that the work of the officials moved the delicate balance decisively United's way.

Mark Clattenburg

Referee Mark Clattenburg has been accused of using inappropriate language towards two Chelsea players. Photo: Getty Images

United opened in blazing style and opened up an early two-goal lead through David Luiz's unwitting deflection and Robin van Persie's superb finish. Chelsea, once they had shaken their heads and cleared the shock, responded magnificently with goals either side of half-time from Juan Mata and Ramires.

And so Stamford Bridge awaited the fight to the finish conclusion of this heavyweight contest - only to see it end as unsatisfactorily as a classic boxing match stopped on cuts.
No-one could seriously question Clattenburg's decision to send off Branislav Ivanovic for tripping Young as he went through.

Chelsea were still in the hunt with 10 men but any slim chance left town when Fernando Torres quickly joined him in the dressing room.

It was a defining moment. Torres, who was actually just about to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge, was clearly caught on the shin by Jonny Evans. The fall may have had an extra flourish but he was caught.

Evans stood with arms outstretched awaiting sanction but instead Clattenburg advanced clear in his mind that Torres had dived. It was his second yellow and a sending off - and Chelsea were left with a numerical disadvantage they simply could not overcome.

The task of refereeing at elite level is fiendishly hard and requires nerve as well as ability. The problem here was that Clattenburg surely needed to be 100% certain Torres has indeed simulated to make a decision of such magnitude. None of the evidence was that clear cut.

And to make matters worse United's winner, that came accompanied by a sense of inevitability, was scored by Javier Hernandez from an offside position.

Clattenburg left Stamford Bridge with neat vitriol being poured in his direction and what was a fine advert - in a purely footballing context - for the Premier League was further scarred as objects were hurled at United players celebrating Hernandez's goal and a steward ended up in hospital after being injured in the same incident.

There was even an unseemly spat between the two benches after the sending off of Torres, with Chelsea's staff making their sense of injustice clear to a plainly unmoved Ferguson.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, with a measure of justification, suggested his team could have gone on to win if it remained 11 against 11. Ferguson, with equal conviction, could say the same.

The over-riding sadness, especially for the neutral observers it should be said, was that it was not left to both sides to go at each other fully-loaded to find a winner.
United ended with the three points and there was plenty to please Ferguson.

They have once again shown that for any perceived defensive and midfield frailties, United have a range of attacking options and formations that make them intensely formidable.

Van Persie is a guarantee of goals. Wayne Rooney can operate either in a deeper position as a creator or as an attacker. And in Antonio Valencia that have a winger of real pace and threat.

He started, along with Ashley Young, after United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he heard an 80-year-old grandmother from Rochdale called Margaret bemoaning his use of the diamond formation on the club's in-house television channel.

The angry Octogenarian found Ferguson in agreement with her on this particular occasion and United's width and pace were crucial ingredients in a win that now leaves them only one point behind Chelsea.

For Chelsea, there was also plenty to admire in their work, even in defeat. Yes, there were flaws at the back that left them playing catch-up but they showed admirable character to fight back and even their nine men were only undone by an offside goal.

So much to admire and yet so much of it to be ignored in another inquiry into "who said what to who" that has become the game's regular companion in recent times.
Once again, football comes in second.


Comments

Page 1 of 26

  • Comment number 1.

    "Clearly caught on the shin"?

    Only after watching a slow motion replay from a close up angle is it "clear".

    In real time it looks like there "may" have been contact but it looks a lot more obvious that Torres has made a swan-dive of it

  • Comment number 2.

    Regarding the allegations, there can be no winner here. Either the referee did say something, which would be extremely misguided and regrettable. Or, the allegations are false, which would be very sad if it is the case.

  • Comment number 3.

    Phil, if Torres hadn’t been booked already and received his first yellow most commentators would probably say that while he was caught slightly there was also a case that he made a meal of it and with so much focus on diving lately not that much would have been said. But he WAS already booked and Chelsea WERE already down to 10 men so suddenly the same incident becomes something of mega proportions.

    As for the offside goal, 15 minutes + stoppage time to go, 11 v 9! Would Utd have played the game out if that was disallowed or gone for the jugular? We all know the answer and it’s ridiculous to say that had that been disallowed the game would have finished in a draw.

    Brace yourself for some ‘wummery’ on this one, I mean Utd getting a favourable call from a ref? It’s about time that referees were summoned to the Tower to be beheaded!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    I really detest the "contact was made" nonsense that is forced down our throats by commentary teams. Torres dived, I wouldn't like to say the contact wouldn't have taken him down / or would have, but had he not made a meal of it he would have played 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    5.At 09:12 29th Oct 2012, charlie

    Charlie, me old son, you can make yourself believe anything that you chose to believe, especially when it suits your loyalties. Don't let the blinkers sway your steadfast opinion now and thanks for the very insighful observation!!

  • Comment number 8.

    The second yellow for Torres was a bad decision - unless the ref was absolutely sure he dived he shouldn't have shown a card. There was contact although Torres looked like he was already on his way down.

    Having said that he was probably fortunate to be on the pitch after the challenge on Cleverley. I don't think there was any intent but it was dangerous and could have caused an injury.

    The final Utd goal was definitely offside.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Torres, who was actually just about to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge, was clearly caught on the shin by Jonny Evans. The fall may have had an extra flourish but he was caught."

    Caught on the shin or not, he dived to get a free kick. He held his knee for 20 seconds until the referee came over then suddenly forgot his pain as he pleaded his innocence. A real disgrace. Having played football for 40+ years now, I am certain I have never ever fallen like that. It was obviously a ploy, and the referee thankfully rebuked him for it. The fact that the decision had a huge significance due to the state of the at the time is not an argument for not taking action.
    This kind of play is killing the game and it is time for referees to claim it back.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    1. Torres should have been sent off for his Kungfu kick on Evans, so he was luck enough to stay on for that long.
    2. Luis handball that was a penalty but wasnt given..

    PS. The Suarez dissallowed goal was as a result of Gerrard given a phantom freekick after falling to ground in Phil neville mode, if the goal has stood we would have been talking about the dive. The Baines penalty that was also ment to be a booking for Skrtel was ignored.

  • Comment number 13.

    I would say that the "who said what to who" will only overshadow the game if you let it.

    On the game, this result will mean more to Man U because they want it to. It will mean less to Chelsea if they don't let it.

    It was an enjoyable game and Man U obviously started well. Van Persie is in tip top form and Rooney, for all the plaudits for attacking, actually seemed to spend more of the game much, much deeper to a certain degree of success.

    I am of the opinion that Chelsea would have gone on to win if their numbers weren't reduced. Ivanovic's red card you just have to take on the chin but I think it was the reaction of Evans who appeared to hold his hands up in fear of punishment rather than in dispute that said that he had made contact with Torres. Chelsea attacked very well and looking at the raw stats had the better of the game even though they were outnumbered.

    I don't know what Clattenburg said but I do hope it's not simply a case of someone hearing bad language and taking offence because the way all players seem to speak to officials, that would be a case of don't dish out what you can't take.

    As for Chelsea, a couple of 1-0's next please. :-D

  • Comment number 14.

    Apart from some dubious refereeing decisions the game was actually very entertaining. Utd looked very dangerous going forward and Van Persie is justifying his price tag - it really is difficult to find 25 goals a season strikers but he is definitely one of those.

    The goal from Mata was pure class, I wouldn't be surprised if he starts to play more for Spain in the next couple of years.

  • Comment number 15.

    @12

    how very dare you! Starfish Stevie never dives!

  • Comment number 16.

    8.At 09:19 29th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    The final Utd goal was definitely offside.
    __________________________________

    I did not see the game but from the highlights it looked an easy offside to call against Hernandez, surprised it was missed by the linesman.
    The last minute Suarez goal at Everton was clearly onside and for the life of me I cannot see why the linesman flagged ???

    With the amount of money riding on these games now something needs to be done to ensure that we get fair results.
    With all the players arguing a 4th official can watch a replay about 5 times before the game is restarted.

    By the way Baggio , how did you do on the predictions ?...I was rubbish with 6 points :(

  • Comment number 17.

    On the actual game Man U where poor, Valencia was useless. Apart from his cross to van Persie, he delayed other crosses which would have made United 4-0 up before Mata's goal. Rooney would never be a MidFielder, Giggs introduction was pointless and Van Persie is Carrying United on his back.

  • Comment number 18.

    @16 The Suárez "goal" at the end was clearly onside but in my opinion should have been disallowed because of a foul by Coates.

    A case of right decision for the wrong reason?

  • Comment number 19.

    I believe Clattenburg was merely repeating comments back to them what they had already said. He was under the assumption Chelsea players and fans would be absolutely sympathetic to this kind of behaviour?!

  • Comment number 20.

    #16 repo

    The linesman's defence is/would be that Cech and the front defender (Luiz?) were obscuring his view.

    As for technology, maybe this will happen once the goal line technology (which is, arguably, more important) has been successfully implemented.

    There is talk of TV and it's money ruining the game. So, let's redress the balance a bit and harness what TV and it's money could bring to the game.

  • Comment number 21.

    I feel Chelsea FC are only playing by the 'rules' they have been subject too following the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand 'affair'. This will now be the lot of football games in the UK as we see all ability to freely express frustrations subject to scrutiny and the threat of report.
    Whoever posted 'that' video of JT on Youtube has a lot to answer for here as we enter the territory Winston Smith's 1984.

    Reading the transcript of the FA hearing on the QPR v Chelsea game in question, Anton Ferdinand was only one word away from a four-match, £220,000 fine himself. And, from that same transcript, it would seem that foul and abusive language is part and parcel of the modern game, along with other 'tactics' of gamesmanship employed to gain an advantage and put your opponent on the backfoot and make an error.

    I am one of the many that yearn for a return to the simple, although at times crude, football of the 70s... but, alas, it will not happen. We're stuck with this over hyped, 24-hour media party, non-contact sport, multi-millionaire game of the 21st century.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19 wirral18

    Sarcasm aside, the lesson from the Terry affair should be that the FA need to modify their rules. The fact that merely saying words is a punishable offence is censorship and banning words is as good as burning books. Context is a massive part of what makes language mean something, anything and therefore the FA's rules are not fit for purpose.

  • Comment number 23.

    Wow!
    What drama at the Bridge yesterday.
    For thrilling, entertaining football the Premier League is by far the place to be!

    The match was Chelsea's to lose and lose they did. Once again their indiscipline cost them the points. United didn't look like world beaters and haven't all season.
    When will SAF realise that Rooney is no midfielder and never will be. He cost Utd the first goal and will continue to do so if played in the middle.

    Chicharito's offside winner was one of those that was just too close to call. In the blink of an eye the assistant needs to decide if he was in or off. Sometimes it's just impossible so the benefit of the doubt goes to the striker, rightly or wrongly depending on which team you follow.

    As for the alleged racism, well, where do you start?!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm starting to really hate football now, truly starting to hate it.

    Especially commentators and especially Alan Green.

    For the last year or so every single phone in has been about the scourge of diving and how refs must be strong against it. We FINALLY have a ref who booked 2 players for diving due to minimal contact (Torress AND Valencia) and he is being lamented.

    Let us all be honest and say he is only being lamented because the decision was for United.

  • Comment number 25.

    @16 repo

    Yes the officials should be getting more of those onside/offside decisions correct than they are.

    I was wondering when we will see the full table from Drastic but by my calculations I scored 7 points which is also pretty poor.

  • Comment number 26.

    The ugliness in the game here is as usual Chelsea's when things don't go their way at the Bridge. Either its the fans pelting players with missiles ( why no investigation ) or it is their players/officials attacking the match officials. No sympathy at all. Torres swan-dived after a tiny touch and shouldn't have been on the pitch anyway. Luiz handball hardly had a mention. Hernandez was offside. So on balance no nig deal, although admittedly much different to the outcome when Martin Atkinson refs games at the Bridge. But now Chelsea take it to a new low attacking Clattenburg for racism, ironic with Terry suspended in the stands. If/when this isnt proved I'd like to see Chelsea strubng up for bringing the game into disrepute. Least popular side in England tag well merited.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 notjustdad

    I agree with many of your sentiments. In fact, I was just thinking back to the days where a game would take place, some people would go and have an opinion. Others would simply see some highlights and read a newspaper article and then on Monday morning we would all just move on.

    But, with ever increasing airtime and column inches to fill, it becomes a case of fitting the story into the time available, rather than using the time available to tell the story. I think it's known as Parkinson's Law or something.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Clattenburg your judgement day has come, hopefully there will finally be justice for Pedro Mendes.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ MrBlueBurns: Well done for being a grown up! Who'd be a referee eh? You likely get criticised either way for the Torres decision and the fact that you have to watch a replay several times to determine there was "clear contact" but then feel it's ok to criticise the referee is just daft.

    - A more ridiculous decision was Valencia getting booked when Mikel clattered him and Chelsea should have been down to 8!

    On the game, first 35 mins was classic counter attack utd and great to watch. Typically of the season a silly mistake let Chelsea back in and momentum went their way. If Chelsea can keep Hazard and Mata fit they'll always make chances but Torres has got to be benched, his first touch is gone and he seems to have lost his killer instinct.

  • Comment number 31.

    15.At 09:27 29th Oct 2012, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:
    how very dare you! Starfish Stevie never dives!
    ______________________________

    Baines did a great impression to get Sterling booked. Come on ...Sterling ????

    Going down like you have been hit by Mike tyson from a sterling challenge is as embarassing as getting beaten up by your little sister :)

    Plus on the "penalty" Baines was loking for it , he was already in the air before Skyrtel´s toe touched him.

    As for Fellaini , is he immune to getting booked ?
    He was like an octopus every time he made a challenge , pulling and pushing everyone.
    Also he had two snidey kicks on Liverpool players on the floor after the ball had gone.

  • Comment number 32.

    Strange that the ref has a thing about physical contact.

    Interestingly Clattenburg didn't book Rooney for what was a blatant two handed push on Ramires in the 2nd half. If he had done Rooney would have been sent off. No doubt.

    Did note however that 2 minutes after that incident SAF subs Rooney.

    All in all the ref was poor. Managed to get only 1 of 4 major decisions right.

  • Comment number 33.

    Could not agree more PHIL ! with your comments on the fiasco that is now about to unfold. chelsea have a great deal to answer for, not least of which is the behaviour of their supporters " we know what they are "

    I am no lover of Clattenburg, but his decisions were SPOT ! on

    chelsea obviously now intend to get milage out of these accusations.

    grotesque team, with an equally grotesque bunch of supporters .

    NO CLASS what so ever.

  • Comment number 34.

    25.At 09:40 29th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    I was wondering when we will see the full table from Drastic but by my calculations I scored 7 points which is also pretty poor.
    __________________________________

    I checked Lawro´s total , he had 15 !!!!
    Maybe we should show him a little more respect in future :)

  • Comment number 35.

    @31 repo

    The funniest dive of the weekend has to be from Phil Neville. It was pure comedy - you can tell he hasn't been putting much practice in!

  • Comment number 36.

    This is just the start of it. Wait until Clattenburg referee's his next match and we have two days of build up as to who is and who isn't going to shake his hand.

  • Comment number 37.

    Torres was caught, dive or not, and the ref should have taken that into consideration before giving the second yellow. At 11 v 10 I suspect that United would have put more pressure on Chelsea but Chelsea may have parked the bus and a draw resulted. At 9 v 11 the odds tip much more in United's favour and also some of the Chelsea players will still be affected by the decision - chances of a United win much greater.

    If the steward was hit bit by things thrown by the home fans or slipped because of it - that needs to come out.

    If the ref has used foul language - a six month ban, if racially charged language - a lifetime ban. The refs must be seen to be above the sort of primary school behaviour that the players and some of the fans engage in. They have a hard enough job as it is but if the players get even a whiff of the refs being able to engage in such behaviour it will be a carte-blanche excuse for the players to do their worst - which they sadly and inevitably will.

    If the ref has not used racially charged language then this must be absolutely made clear. The accusation is grave, the consequences of it are grave and therefore where a claim is not substantiated as many column inches must be given to a finding of "not guilty" as the original claim.

    As for the offside - again the wrong decision but, looking at the movement of the players in real time, understandable.

  • Comment number 38.

    Chelsea & United both have form trying to get players and officials into trouble. It would be great to see them both penalized sometime in the future but it won't ever happen. Too powerful in the PL. It's virtually a closed shop now.

  • Comment number 39.

    An epic match dragged into the mud like an episode of Jerry Springer. This sport is imploding on iyself because of the complete lack of leadership from it's ruling bodies.

    The whole diving shambles has been rotting since South Africa two years ago and nothing's been done. Now, we have players all over the world flopping around like dead fish trying to fool referess who haven't a clue what to do. It is an absolute disgrace and threatens the future successes of this wonderful sport.

    As far as I'm concerned, today's events at Stamford Bridge are immaterial. Why? Because there was equal issues yesterday at The Emirates and today at Goodison Park and there will be more tomorrow.

    My quick analysis:
    1. Suarez's goal should have stood.
    2. Arteta's goal should have not stood.
    3. Suarez should not have been red-carded for his challenge on Distin
    4. Torres should have been red-carded for his challenge on Cleverley.
    5. There was contact from Evans. Torres went to ground intentionally. it was a yellow card.
    6. Hernandez was offside.
    7. Ivanovic's foul was a red-card offense.

    Thats a ton of stuff for one weekend.

    As a comparison, in the US yesterday, we had an incident in the NFL which shows how much ground football has to make up with other sports. Dallas receiver catches a game-winning pass against the NY Giants. When he falls, as his body hits the ground, his hand is over the line by a couple of inches. No way on earth any official could pick that up. Cameras did. Over-ruled. Game over. Everyone goes home happy.

    Guess what? I couldn't even tell you the name of the referee.

    Football is failing it's fans and the sport, and it's a disgrace.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=3676

  • Comment number 40.

    @32
    "All in all the ref was poor. Managed to get only 1 of 4 major decisions right"

    What tosh.

    Ivanovic - easy red
    Torres - He dived and deserved to be booked
    Hernandez - linesman call so why is anyone blaming the ref???!!!
    Rooney - Are you kidding me? Not a big decision, not worth mentioning.

    Ref had a good game in a very tough environment. I hope to god i see many more players (including United players) booked for going down under minimal contact.

    This includes going down like you've been shot when someone puts a hand in your face. This is a dive and should also result in a booking.

  • Comment number 41.

    The players should be careful what they wish for. If the accusation is that the ref used inappropriate language then maybe this is the perfect opportunity to 'hit back' at the abuse and disgusting filth that players come out with every week. How about showing a yellow for EVERY incident of foul and abusive language. How long before we see 5 a side prem games??

  • Comment number 42.

    34.
    At 09:47 29th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    25.At 09:40 29th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    I was wondering when we will see the full table from Drastic but by my calculations I scored 7 points which is also pretty poor.
    __________________________________

    I checked Lawro´s total , he had 15 !!!!
    Maybe we should show him a little more respect in future :)
    ___________________________

    Steady on!

  • Comment number 43.

    Ah, Clattenburg. He's the fellow that was suspended for 8 months by his superiors for breach of contract back in 2009.
    An informative section about him taken from Wikipedia:

    "Perhaps Clattenburg's fiercest criticism in top-flight refereeing followed his officiating of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool on 20 October 2007.[24] The first notable incident involving Clattenburg was the award of a penalty kick for an apparent professional foul by Everton's Tony Hibbert on Liverpool's Steven Gerrard. Clattenburg initially appeared to take out his yellow card to book Hibbert but after an interaction, albeit brief, with Gerrard, Clattenburg changed his mind and issued Hibbert a red card.[25] He later elected not to send off Dirk Kuyt for a waist-high lunge at Phil Neville.[26] One final controversy arose when he declined Everton's appeals for a penalty in the third minute of injury time, with the score at 1–2, when Jamie Carragher appeared to foul Joleon Lescott in the Liverpool penalty area.[27][28] Clattenburg was not appointed to referee another Everton match until 2012.

    In December 2009, Clattenburg took charge of a tie between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City. City personnel alleged that at half-time, Clattenburg asked members of their bench: "How do you work with Craig Bellamy all week?" In the second half that followed, he booked Bellamy twice, once for dissent and then for diving, although replays suggested he was actually fouled. City manager Mark Hughes later said: "I've seen Mark Clattenburg have a lot better games than he's had [here today]"[29] and described his decision to send off Bellamy as "laughable".[30]

    Clattenburg has also encountered contempt when officiating two fixtures between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. In 2005 when Tottenham's Pedro Mendes had a long-range shot fumbled over the line by United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, neither Clattenburg nor his assistants were in a position to award the goal. Five years later, in October 2010, he allowed to stand a United goal scored under controversial circumstances (although strictly correct under game laws) when Nani tapped the ball into the net while Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes believed his team had a free-kick."

  • Comment number 44.

    It just beggars belief that Mark Clattenburg - an experienced and seemingly fairly intelligent referee - could possibly (in the context of everything that's happened in the past week) say anything which could even remotely be construed as racist, surely?!? If so proven, he should be kicked out for crass stupidity more than anything else...!

    Re: the diving. Yes, it was probably a bad call Phil, but I'm with Wirral18 #24. We all can't stand diving - which is fundamentally cheating, no matter how you dress it up. There is a lot of cheating around, and there's only one way to stamp it out, and that's to punish it strongly and clearly. There may be a transition period, where some mistakes are made, but you have to be tough and stick to your guns, and eventually, it will be engrained in players that they have to stay on their feet.

  • Comment number 45.

    It is somewhat ironic that a football player would raise a complaint against something the referee has alleged to have said. You only need to watch the persistent abuse aimed at referee's weekly by these over paid and frankly disgraceful players. Perhaps they should sort their own conduct out first!

  • Comment number 46.

    35.At 09:47 29th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    The funniest dive of the weekend has to be from Phil Neville. It was pure comedy
    __________________________________

    The timing was absolutely perefect !!!!
    Just after Moyes bemoaned diving in the game his captain goes and makes him look a fool.
    The other silly thing which appeared on the live text was Moyes daughter tweeting that she was surprised her dad did not nut Suarez for his goal celebration.

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil, you've ignored the fact that Torres should have been sent off in the first half for his studs-up, waist-high tackle on Cleverley - only thing that got him off that was Cleverley's refusal to make a meal of it. And Hernadez's goal? When I saw it first in real time, I thought he was onside. Which is what the assistant would have seen.

  • Comment number 48.

    Um, just because there is contact, it doesn't automatically mean it's a foul. Or is it just me? On MOTD, the striker on the panel (usually Shearer) will try to defend a fall as 'contact was made.' In the case of Torres (and many others), not ENOUGH contact was made to make him go down. He did dive, and I applaud Clattenburg in this instance for calling him on it.

  • Comment number 49.

    •Comment number 34.
    At 09:47 29th Oct 2012, repo wrote:
    -------------------------------------------

    My predictions ;)

    "At 09:37 26th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:
    Ok let's have some fun ;)

    Aston Villa 0 - 0 Norwich
    Arsenal 1 - 0 QPR
    Reading 1 - 1 Fulham
    Stoke 1 - 1 Sunderland
    Wigan 2 - 1 West Ham
    Man City 2 - 0 Swansea
    Everton 2 - 1 Liverpool
    Newcastle 2 - 1 West Brom
    Southampton 1 - 1 Tottenham
    Chelsea 3 - 1 Man Utd

    Loads of draws this weekend"

    Not too bad!

  • Comment number 50.

    Perhaps what happened to Torres and the ridiculous arguments over whether he was touched will begin to highlight the real problem.

    Players should go down because they are touched - this is a contact sport. Was the leg caught so that he had to stumble. No. Was his landing leg pulled back? No. So why did he crash to the floor. Because of contact? Absolutely ridiculous.

    We see forwards do this all the time in the box - they trail their legs so that they can be touched and then fall over. They even fall on to goalkeepers and then claim the penalty because they were touched. Remember the Eduardo penalty in the AFC v Celtic of a few years back, when they tried to ban him?

    How about FIFA putting the onus back on players (who are after all paid more in a week than most of us earn in a lifetime):
    As a player, it is your responsibility to stay in your feet. If you are tripped (as Ashley Young was) and your landing leg is taken away then it is a foul. If your standing leg is taken out from under you then that is a foul. But a touch, which doesn't impeded your movement should not be a foul. Only the players and managers can take responsibility to do this.

    How many times have we heard managers say: "He should have gone down"? Why criticise a player for trying to stay up and get to the ball and try and score? Every player should do that.

    It is so easy to blame the refs (leaving aside what MC did or didn't say) - yet they have the impossible job of trying to keep the game going, when it should be the responsibility of the players and managers and FIFA to set the manner of the way in which football is played.

  • Comment number 51.

    41.At 09:49 29th Oct 2012, Gary wrote:
    _____________________________

    Rugby players do not swear at the ref , instant sending off if they do.

    In fact they are not allowed to talk to the ref apart from the captain, and even then he must address the ref politely and cannot argue , only ask for an explanation of the decision.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ SoccerLimey - Good post and I agree with you, football is in the dark ages compared to other sports in terms of technology and there's no excuse for it. Referees are human and therefore prone to...HUMAN ERROR. The scrutiny of the press doesn't help, particularly when there's no ref that gets every decision right.

    @ parkthebuskickandrush - No referee has got 100% of their decisions right, just because clattenburg has done so in high profile games doesn't make a difference.

    Can't believe people still "blame" him for the Mendes thing, he was 50 YARDS away!!

  • Comment number 54.

    #47 Marord

    And Hernadez's goal? When I saw it first in real time, I thought he was onside. Which is what the assistant would have seen.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Were you and the assistant standing in the same place then?

  • Comment number 55.

    As long as the likes of Andy Townsend use the phrase "He is entitled to go down there" at the slightest touch as he does at least 3 times a match, then any contact near the penalty area will mean players go down.
    I just hope when it happens to Utd and their player get's booked, SAF will be magnanimous enough to say it was a fair decision. I shan't hold my breath though.

  • Comment number 56.

    It does appear that Torres was caught, albeit slightly, on the lower shin. This does not explain why he went down clutching his leg just below the knee.

  • Comment number 57.

    53.At 10:00 29th Oct 2012, Guernsey Red wrote:
    Can't believe people still "blame" him for the Mendes thing, he was 50 YARDS away!!
    _________________________________

    He told Pedro Mendes he needed glasses if he thought that was over the line :)

  • Comment number 58.

    •Comment number 53.
    At 10:00 29th Oct 2012, Guernsey Red wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Clattenburg has form. He and his team can't spot Mendes' blatant goal yet he and his team can't spot Hernandez being offside?
    He's not very good.

  • Comment number 59.

    I know it isn't the main thrust of this blog, but lots of comments are being made about the last minute disallowed goal at Liverpool. Everyone is assuming it was disallowed for offside, but if you watch closely you will see that the player heading the ball to Suarez had both hands on the shoulders of a defender, which would be a free kick for Everton. Are we sure that isnt why it was disallowed?

  • Comment number 60.

    @46 Repo... take off those red tinted specs and chill... I thought Moyes' daughter tweeting was brilliant.. consider Moyes' own comments about the Suarez 'dive' - absolutely brilliant - 'If I'd have been a player I'd have probably done it' No vitriol, no bile, just a funny comment to take the heat out... but then most reds would say Fergie put her up to it...

  • Comment number 61.

    57.At 10:02 29th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    From 50 yards away probably true! Linesman's error though.

  • Comment number 62.

    #50 whatdoiknowaboutanything

    How about FIFA putting the onus back on players (who are after all paid more in a week than most of us earn in a lifetime):
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    If players were paid less, would there be less onus on them?

    Anyway, the feeling or accepted wisdom is that if a player stays on his feet, the refs are less likely to award decisions in their favour.

    I think there should be some sort of understanding transmitted that a player should try and stay on his feet but that fouls will still be awarded if there is no advantage having stayed on their feet.

  • Comment number 63.

    @SoccerLimey

    You forgot to mention the Stevev Gerrard's Dive that led to the freekick for suarez dissallowed goal.

  • Comment number 64.

    58.At 10:04 29th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:

    Does he get to choose his "team"? Offside incidents still very harsh to blame a ref for!

  • Comment number 65.

    In cases of "diving", I think slo-mo doesn't help. You need to be able to judge the speed of the "diver".

    If you are jogging along sedately you could be barged heavily but not go over, but if you are sprinting at top speed it doesn't take much to knock you off balance and send you tumbling.

    I wonder if Clattenberg has ever run at top speed with the ball at his feet...

  • Comment number 66.

    After an extreme close-up super-slo-mo replay it is very, very obvious that Johnny Evans fouled Fernando Torres by lightly brushing his sock.

    You're probably sat at on a chair now, you're probably wearing socks. Go on, I challenge, lightly brush your own sock (or ask a bystander to do it for you) without being knocked clear off your chair.

  • Comment number 67.

    Nice comment Mr BB,

    this blog will be another showcase of people's short memory I am sure. Que the "Another ref bought by the debt-ridden Manchester United in decline" extravaganza.

  • Comment number 68.

    #67 Russeljones

    Nice comment Mr BB,
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Which one? I write so many...... ;-)

  • Comment number 69.

    Noone is talking about fine balance or that ManU could have won the game without referee's involvement. ManU were on the ropes 11 vs 10. Even versus 9 they needed an offside goal / 12th man to get three points. Simple as that.

    I'm sure SAF will moan about a free-kick that was awarded here 3 years ago. Yes, Chelsea scored from that free-kick (probably 40 meters away from goal), but it was poor aerial defending not free-kick per se that cost him points.

    The ref mistakes even themselves out over the course of season. But they're skewed towards ManU, who get a lion's share of decisions in their favor. Last year, ManCity won on goal advantage. Well, if not for refs, they would have won it by 8-12 point margins.

  • Comment number 70.

    39.
    At 09:48 29th Oct 2012, SoccerLimey wrote:

    My quick analysis:
    1. Suarez's goal should have stood.
    2. Arteta's goal should have not stood.
    3. Suarez should not have been red-carded for his challenge on Distin
    4. Torres should have been red-carded for his challenge on Cleverley.
    5. There was contact from Evans. Torres went to ground intentionally. it was a yellow card.
    6. Hernandez was offside.
    7. Ivanovic's foul was a red-card offense.

    Agree with all you've said except the second Torres yellow card. If there is contact then it can't be a dive, may not be a free kick but most certainly can't be a dive. The game is so much faster now that even the slighest knock can disrupt your path forward. Players don't want to be injured and sometimes will avoid contact rather than get injured. Also if you don't dramatise the fall a little the referee will never give the foul. Diving is falling to the ground without ANY contact whatsoever - like Phil Neville, Gareth Bale, Ashley Young

  • Comment number 71.

    60.At 10:04 29th Oct 2012, Gary wrote:
    I thought Moyes' daughter tweeting was brilliant.
    ____________________________

    To be honest it did not offend me , but in the PC & nanny state culture in the UK it was not the smartest thing to tweet.

  • Comment number 72.

    As the article states re: the Torres sending off "he may have added an extra flourish" to his fall. Regardless of whether he had been caught, if Torres had the composure after that contact to "add flourish" to his fall, then whether that contact was firm enough to cause his fall must be in dispute.

    I would add that any player looking to "add flourish" to a fall, or any other perceived foul against them, should also be booked for attempting to deceive the referee.

    With regards the allegations Chelsea have made vis-a-vis Clattenburg's alleged comments. We will have to wait and see what any inquiry uncovers - and I hope the FA and the Referee's Association do launch an inquiry otherwise they risk the charge of hipocrisy for their recent actions against a couple of players.

    If Clattenburg is found to have used "inappropriate language", even if it was in retaliation for language directed towards him, then he should suffer the full force of any sanctions up to and including his dismissal as a referee. Any pleading of provocation would carry no weight with me, as referee's have made a rod for their own backs in this respect by not taking action against players using foul and abusive language on the field of play in the past (and we have all seen that take place).

    Football, it would seem, needs a civility overhaul. But that will never happen because the controversy created by inflamed passions is far too valuable to the FA. The 'beautiful game' would appear to be basing it's appeal on ugliness.

  • Comment number 73.

    @62 MrBlueBurns

    Good point.

    The problem with the 'diving with contact' debate is that it is always going to be subjective. If Torres is booked for that then we should be seeing a lot more yellow cards in games. I have no problem if there is consistency but I suspect a very similar incident will occur in the next few weeks with a different outcome.

  • Comment number 74.

    as for the Merseyside derby.

    Suarez is a fine player indeed, no question about it, without him liverpool would well encamped at the bottom of the PL.

    as for united, where would they be without RVP's goals ? no where near the top thats for sure, ohhh wait a moment , i forgot, that only applies to when he was playing for Arsenal.

    Wenger and that board have some serious questions to answer as to why they failed to keep him, let alone letting him skipping up north.

    as for Suarez's touchline celebrations towards Moyes, Mustard ! liverpool were robbed of the points.

    Arsenal played ummmmmmmm " badly " but grinded out the result. 1 -0

    Hughes will be out of work very soon ( hopefully )

  • Comment number 75.

    About time United got some look at the Bridge. We've been robbed their the last few games with some awful ref decisions. :-)

  • Comment number 76.

    @12
    Luis handball a penalty? you having a laugh? ball kicked at him from 5yards, and his arm is at his side. Have you ever played football at any level?

    Also think Ivanovic's was a bit harsh, young ran across him and dived!
    Torres was clipped but went down too easily, and Hernandez came from off-side to score.

    CFC have been harshly done by the officials last night, but i'm surprised by the complaint, particularily the racial aspect, especially as they stood by Terry all through the Ferdinand affair, and kept him a s captain.
    Tad hypocritical maybe?!?

  • Comment number 77.

    @74 HaHA CharadeYouAre2

    Yeah Utd are very reliant on Van Persie as Arsenal were last year - top quality strikers are few and far between in the Premier League.

    Good to see Wilshere playing again, hopefully he can stay injury free because he is a wonderful player to watch.

  • Comment number 78.

    As RA appears to control everything at Chelsea, would it be fair to speculate that he gave sanction to the official complaint?

  • Comment number 79.

    #73 BaggiosPonytail

    An inherent problem with people's view of refereeing decisions is that they want consistency at the same time as common sense. The two things are largely incompatible.

  • Comment number 80.

    74.At 10:13 29th Oct 2012, HaHA CharadeYouAre2 wrote:
    Hughes will be out of work very soon ( hopefully )

    ___________________________

    Good morning
    I am always reading that QPR are in a false position and are quite god, even Savage wrote an article about it.
    I dont know why they bare so media friendly to QPR ?
    Personally I think that they are not that good and will struggle to stay up.

    By the way , how many points did you get ?

  • Comment number 81.

    Re-posting earlier post. Says all you need to know about "neutrality" of Marc Clattenburg:

    Ah, Clattenburg. He's the fellow that was suspended for 8 months by his superiors for breach of contract back in 2009.
    An informative section about him taken from Wikipedia:

    "Perhaps Clattenburg's fiercest criticism in top-flight refereeing followed his officiating of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool on 20 October 2007.[24] The first notable incident involving Clattenburg was the award of a penalty kick for an apparent professional foul by Everton's Tony Hibbert on Liverpool's Steven Gerrard. Clattenburg initially appeared to take out his yellow card to book Hibbert but after an interaction, albeit brief, with Gerrard, Clattenburg changed his mind and issued Hibbert a red card.[25] He later elected not to send off Dirk Kuyt for a waist-high lunge at Phil Neville.[26] One final controversy arose when he declined Everton's appeals for a penalty in the third minute of injury time, with the score at 1–2, when Jamie Carragher appeared to foul Joleon Lescott in the Liverpool penalty area.[27][28] Clattenburg was not appointed to referee another Everton match until 2012.

    In December 2009, Clattenburg took charge of a tie between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City. City personnel alleged that at half-time, Clattenburg asked members of their bench: "How do you work with Craig Bellamy all week?" In the second half that followed, he booked Bellamy twice, once for dissent and then for diving, although replays suggested he was actually fouled. City manager Mark Hughes later said: "I've seen Mark Clattenburg have a lot better games than he's had [here today]"[29] and described his decision to send off Bellamy as "laughable".[30]

    Clattenburg has also encountered contempt when officiating two fixtures between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. In 2005 when Tottenham's Pedro Mendes had a long-range shot fumbled over the line by United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, neither Clattenburg nor his assistants were in a position to award the goal. Five years later, in October 2010, he allowed to stand a United goal scored under controversial circumstances (although strictly correct under game laws) when Nani tapped the ball into the net while Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes believed his team had a free-kick."

  • Comment number 82.

    Decisions in football go for and against every team. Chelsea felt aggrieved yesterday on Torres second yellow and the goal. They didn't feel aggrieved though when an offside Torres scored the winner against Reading or when Luiz wasn't sent off against Stoke. Likewise Hernandez was offside for the winner yesterday, but had one incorrectly chalked off against Braga mid-week.

    If players were more honest, decisions would be much easier. How many booking for diving have Chelsea had already this season, I read 7? And they wonder why they don't get the benefit of the doubt?

  • Comment number 83.

    There has to be some kind of check and balance for referees like Clattenburg. You cannot expect to make ludicrous decisions in big matches like this and just walk away. Players pay fines and get banned, why cant referees get the same treatment ?

  • Comment number 84.

    Hernandez was offside - yes. But at real time speed was difficult to tell for the Ref's assistant. Can we please stop saying "it was clearly offside the refs are substandard blah blah blah". Certainly no more clear than Arteta on Saturday. On the flip side Suarez yesterday or even Kone for Wigan a few weeks ago were not offside.

    Unless the refs are supported by the authorities more, they will always be made scapegoats.

    Sorry Chelsea fans, but evertime you lose, the team & bench behaviour is unsavoury & this "blame every one else" culture is incredibly tedious.

    To think Clattenburg used racial language is almost inconceivable. And if the allegation is false, I would hope Chelsea a reprimanded heavily.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 68 your first one, I decided against reading everyone's comments or I'd find it hard to resist the urge to point something out (like a certain someone's insistence that Man City were somehow due a bigger winning margin last year, maybe that someone should look up the magnitude of net days missed due to injury between the two clubs).

    So what are your thoughts on this hype about dumping Torres for Falcao? It's going to be costly, either way. What about the Chelsea back 4? Back-in-my-days-Hansen has branded Luiz a liability, do you agree?

  • Comment number 87.

    #85
    If Clattenburg used that language, then he should be sacked (take note Chelsea). If he didn't though, then it's a disgraceful allegation to make. Would be the sourest grapes ever.

  • Comment number 88.

    #83 Fahad

    You seem to be working from the assumption that either ref's get things wrong on purpose or are incompetent. Is that right?

    So, you ban a ref. Who replaces them? A ref from a lower league who may or may not be 'better'. Say you ban that ref. You will quickly run out of ref's wouldn't you?

    Ref's DO get things wrong but often, for the right reasons. Once again, the honesty of the players is the starting point.

  • Comment number 89.

    Obviously, the people at Chelsea, who lodged this complaint, don't understand the term "irony".
    The are complaining about "inappropriate language" used BY a referee!!!!

    If it wasn't so sad, this would be hugely funny and Chelsea would be the laughing stock of the football world.

    Chelsea, and many other clubs, might spend their time more wisely disciplining their players and preventing the perpetual foul-mouthed abuse and dissent hurled at officials in every single game, which sets such a poor example to the kids who repeat the offence in youth football.

  • Comment number 90.

    Could someone please remind these players that theyare supposed to be 1: PROFESSIONAL; 2: ATHLETES: 3 PLAYING IN A CONTACT SPORT: 4 SETTING AN EXAMPLE: cheating/ simulation is unprofessional and I have said it before theses guys are athletes yet can fall down or off balance somewhat theatrically with the slightest of contact: it appears that the mentality is to get into an attacking position and then hope to be fouled rather than try and score and that this approach is being coached or advocated by managers: the powers that be need to coorect the wrong that is diving/ cheating/ simulation with 5 match bans or thereabouts: it wouldn't be long before all this crap and the excuses that go along with it would stop

  • Comment number 91.

    82.At 10:21 29th Oct 2012, Weallfollowunited wrote:
    ________________________________

    What I cannot understand is football is the so called biggest sport in the world yet has the worst standard of officiating of them all ????

  • Comment number 92.

    It's going to be the word of 2 players against that of 4 officials. I don't think Chelsea fully thought this through before they lodged the complaint.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 83 Fahad: Ref's decisions are just that, decisions based on their view. I hardly think categorsing that as worthy of a ban akin to two footed lunges, violent conduct etc. Hardly honest mistakes!

    Someone needs to tell David Luiz that he's not a centre forward (or Marouane Fellaini).

  • Comment number 94.

    @ 91 that has to be one of the worst generalisations I've come across on the internet, sorry buddy.

  • Comment number 95.

    The problem with the diving debate is every team does it. Last season in the same game Man Utd were awarded two very soft penalties from players that went to ground easily. The defence from their manager was "there was contact so their entitled to go down". That same manager yesterday thinks Torres brought it on himself by going down easily even if there was contact! Football is messed up and so tribally biased that it's impossible to get a neutral view.

  • Comment number 96.

    #90
    This is it. The 'contact' on Torres seemed sufficient to pull his sock down maybe a millimetre. Does that send a grown man sprawling to the floor howling in agony?

    Contact doesn't mean a foul, but week in week out the likes of Shearer, Hansen etc bang on about 'contact' in incidents.

  • Comment number 97.

    #84 duffy

    Why should Chelsea be 'reprimanded heavily' for making an allegation? If they have good reason to believe that the allegation is right then they are correct to make it. Punish people for making an allegation and you may stop people making allegations and maybe more wrong doing would go unpunished. I have no idea about the allegations but principle you have applied here seems very strange.

    #85 kasondel

    What passes through the ref's mic's is not recorded.

    #86 Russeljones

    Let's see how Sturridge does first. He's barely featured this season so we don't know how he will fit into Chelsea's 'new' system.

    Chelsea's defence is largely ok, it was just punished by Man U. Conceeding an own goal, a bit of a late stretch and an offside goal is not in itself cause for alarm.

    #87 Weallfollowunited

    Chelsea are a private company. The ref's are employed by the FA who set their own rules. What should Chelsea 'take note' of?

  • Comment number 98.

    93.At 10:31 29th Oct 2012, Guernsey Red wrote:
    Someone needs to tell David Luiz that he's not a centre forward (or Marouane Fellaini).
    _______________________________________

    If you squint at the TV and with those hairstyles they do look alike :)

  • Comment number 99.

    #91
    Is there another sport though where the competitors set out to delierately cheat to benefit their team? I can't think of another to the degree of football.

    As soon as players stop cheating, the refs job will suddenly become much, much easier.

  • Comment number 100.

    In other news, Stevie G has proved himself to be an idiot:

    "There is no offside and it's difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman. i asked him after the game if it was offside and he said 'I think so'. That's not good enough. If every decision in this league is based on 'we think so' then we're in trouble."

    The concept of irony clearly not lost on Stevie given he only saw a replay in slow motion after the game. If every decision was based on 100% certainty, there'd be no decisions at all!

 

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