The importance of a referee in a football match cannot be overstated. Their role in enforcing the rules of the game and ensuring that fair play prevails may at times be taken for granted but whenever they make mistakes, they more often than not change the course of a game leaving players and fans alike to rue what would have been. Herein below, we take a look at 5 of the most infamous football refereeing decisions as follows:
5. Graham Poll and the 3 Yellow Card Farce- Any Football fan remotely aware of the rules of the game knows that one yellow card is a caution, whilst a second one equals a red card which means getting dismissed off the pitch. During the final group game between Australia and Croatia at the 2006 World Cup, this simple rule seemed to have escaped the match referee Graham Poll when he gave Croatian player, Josip Simunic a second yellow card in the final minute of normal time and astonishingly, forgot to brandish the expected red card. Not one to remind the referee of his duties, the player stayed on the pitch for a further two minutes when he yet again incredulously fouled an opposing player and received yet another yellow card-bringing the tally to 3- and was finally dismissed. That innocuous mistake put paid to the career of a brilliant referee up until then as it meant he never featured in another World Cup match and retired later that season.
4. Thierry Henry’s Handball against the Republic of Ireland- Having both finished second in their groups, France and Ireland faced off in a second leg play-off in a bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. With the first leg in Ireland having finished 1-0 in favor of France, Ireland took the game to their hosts in the second leg and scored the lone goal that they needed to take them into extra time. With the game destined for a penalty shootout with only a few minutes to spare, Thierry Henry handled the ball not once, but twice before crossing it for William Gallas to nod in the winner. Both match officials closest to the action never saw the handball that sent France to South Africa at Ireland’s expense.
3. Frank Lampard’s Disallowed Goal at the 2010 World Cup- At the 2010 World Cup Round of 16, Germany came up against the old enemy, England, looking to seal a place in the quarter finals. Germany took an early lead and then went 2-0 up before England defender Matthew Upson managed to pull one back for the Three Lions. Less than a minute later, Frank Lampard struck a thunderous shot that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and looked to have crossed the line for England’s equalizer. However, the referee, Jorge Labbadia, waved play on and the linesman also seemed to have missed it. Replays suggested that the ball had crossed the line by a wide margin and England ended up losing 4-1 and were consequently eliminated from the World Cup. That mistake undoubtedly changed the outcome of the game.
2. France versus Germany at the 1982 World Cup- With the 1982 World Cup semi-final between Germany and France approaching full time and level at 1-1, the French defender Patrick Battison received a through pass from a team mate and was bearing down on goal. Sensing the impending danger, the German goalkeeper Harold Schumacher ran out of goal, leapt high into the air whilst seemingly going for the ball but made no attempt to get it. In so doing, he crushed into the defender at high speed in a collision that knocked Patrick Battison out cold leaving him with among others a damaged vertebra, 3 broken teeth and in a coma. Arguably the most ignominious of refereeing decisions, the referee neither awarded a penalty, a yellow card, red card nor a penalty kick instead awarding a goal kick to Germany. Yet the incident happened before his very eyes. Incredible! Much as the game was won by Germany after a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw after extra time and is considered a World Cup Classic, it will long in the memory for this infamous incident.
1. Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God Goal’- ‘the goal was scored a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God’- Diego Maradona following the most infamous goal ever scored. At 0-0 and early in the second half of the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final clash between the Falklands’ adversaries, England midfielder Steve Hodge miscued a clearance and the ball went high up towards the England goal. The diminutive genius, Diego Maradona, went straight for the ball and it was now a tussle between him and the 6 foot 1 England Goalkeeper, Peter Shilton. As they both jumped for the ball, and with Maradona always looking second best, he cunningly placed his hand next to his head and as if to head it, punched the ball towards an empty net leading to an Argentine goal. Immediately, all the England players that had witnessed the blatant handball surrounded the Tunisian match official, Ali Bin Nasser, and remonstrated for a good while. Nonetheless, the goal stood as neither match official had witnessed Maradona’s mischief. As if to cement his legendary status, he went on to score the best World Cup Goal of all time a few minutes later, helping his team beat England 2-1 en-route to a famous World Cup victory.
Jason is the Owner of Goal Rush, a free sports tipping site