BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Football  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Teams
Statistics
FA Cup
Eng Prem
Internationals
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
Europe
Africa
League of Wales
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Friday, 7 February, 2003, 07:26 GMT
A grip on shirt-pulling
Down the years football has always thrown up pet hates and shirt-pulling is no different.

Many years ago the major concern in football was the tackle from behind.

When Marco van Basten was put out of the game, the powers that be at Fifa said they had to be outlawed.

So, in cutting out these rash challenges from behind, defenders have now had to get in close to attacking players and prevent them from turning.

Liverpool's John Arne Riise (in black) concedes a penalty for this holding offence against Francis Jeffers of Arsenal
Winter says he was not conned into giving this penalty

And the easiest way to do that it seems is shirt-pulling.

It looked like we had got a bit of a grip on this but there have been instances this season where holding offences have occurred.

I gave a penalty in a very high-profile match and was ridiculed by certain sections of the Press because it was perceived that the player had conned me by throwing himself to the ground.

What a lot of people failed to see was the fact that the penalty had already been given for holding.

It is usually all about getting the correct angle to see the incident.

If a referee misses it, it's because we didn't get the angle right.

While shirt-pulling is never going to break a player's leg, it is a foul and obviously halts an advantage to one team.

I think you have to be realistic and say that we will never get every decision right, but players need to be aware if the offence is detected then they are going to be penalised.

I would agree with the managers that there are inconsistencies

Obviously, in key areas like the penalty area we are talking about decisions which could determine the result of the game.

It doesn't matter how much contact is made, with the pace of the game, a scoring opportunity can be denied by the slightest touch.

Someone once joked that footballers' shirts should be made of Velcro patches and then, as soon as someone pulled, the shirt would come away in their hand and the player with a handful of shirt would be guilty of holding.

That would be going a bit too far but it is another challenge to referees to be consistent and to try to get into the best positions to get the big decisions right.

I would agree with the managers that there are inconsistencies because when we see it, it's given and when we don't see it, it isn't.

There is a simple solution and that's for players to stop holding each others shirts. The game is called football - it's not called handball or rugby.


Winter's tales
Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Football stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales