In the sequence above, courtesy from Getty Images, Sunderland’s Bent shot hit the beach ball (right) before going past Liverpool’s goalkeeper Pepe Reina recently in the English Premiership.Ironically, the ball was punched onto the field by Liverpool supporters.
Referee Mike Jones allowed the goal to stand, contrary to the clear instructions under Referee’s Powers and Duties as described by Law 5 of the Laws of the Game, which stipulates “The referee … stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind.”
The examples are legio: a spectator rushing onto the field and interfering with play/the ball, a bird having the myopic foresight to descend on a packed stadium to do a ritual dance with the ball on the field of play.
“… of any kind” means just that. Any possible combinations of absurdity. The restart would have been, according to Law 8, a dropped ball at the place where the ball struck the outside agent, which in this case was just outside the 6-yard goal area. The referee has been punished with a demotion and will now officiate this coming weekend the second-tier Championship between Peterborough and Scunthorpe.
Now, young upcoming – and older – referees, heed this: This all could have been prevented if you follow the advice I received many years ago as a young upstart. Ian McLeod, a retired SAFA referee that officiated in World Cup 1998 (France) and now involved as SAFA Match Commissioner, gave me simple advice: “Read the Laws of the Game once a month!”
I still do. It does not guarantee the absence of mistakes on my part on the field of play, but you will be surprised how many obscure interpretations of the Law you tend to forget with the passage of time if you fail to be a book worm now and then. As a professional referee and given the high standard the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) require from their officials in the English Premiership, knowledge of the Law is paramount. That include obscure stipulations.
I hope Referee Mike Jones and his officiating team, assistants Andy Newbold, Bobby Madely and 4th official Neil Swarbrick,will recover from this setback and will be the wiser next time when an unusual incident happens on field of play.
— Until later —