Tuesday night, Champions League on Sky Sports. Besides the excellent game on offer, and the happy facts that (1) Man United won and (2) Fernando Torres has still scored as many goals for Chelsea as I have, one thing irked me. UEFA’s advert for its referees.
I saw this last week too during the first leg, but didn’t quite take issue with it. It was only having watched the first leg at Stamford Bridge that tonight’s advert irritated me quite so much.
No doubt you’ll know the scenario: 90+1 minutes on the clock, Ramires bursts through the middle, crosses the D, and is clearly pulled down in the box by Patrice Evra. The Frenchman receives a red card, thanks to the input of the additional assistant referee, who uses his magic buzzery thingy to bring the fact he’s had a clear view of the foul to his Spanish colleague’s attention. Chelsea score, make it 1-1 for the second leg, and Manchester United are one first-choice left-back down.
Of course, it didn’t happen like that. The additional assistant (or the 5th official as I like to call him) despite standing about 12 yards from the foul with a clear view, deemed it not worth concerning his superior with. Naturally, the Chelsea players and staff were infuriated. The point of the 5th officials, not for the first time, was called into question.
And this is why I find this advert so galling. Patronising rhombuses fill the pitch, showing the alleged field of vision that the referee, the assistant and the additional assistant now have. The ad further shows them all talking to one another through those lovely Britney Spears-style headsets.
Unfortunately what the ad can’t show, because it hasn’t happened, is an additional assistant getting a decision right, or helping out the referee when he misses something, or indeed the additional assistants doing anything useful whatsoever. The one highlight of it is the fact that Pierluigi Collina appears at the end, but even he seems to have been sucked in!