We at Pundit Arena have trawled through the internet to bring you an eclectic selection of dodgy football refereeing decisions. Not sure if they can be branded the five worst, but they have to be contenders. We particularly think no.5 in this collection represents a nadir for the refereeing profession.
1. Penalty awarded to Ireland vs Georgia (2009)
When it comes to dodgy decisions involving the Irish, the infamous Thierry Henry handball which denied the Boys in Green a World Cup appearance is the first one that comes to mind. The incident engendered a feeling of bitterness and victim-hood in Irish society of proportions not seen since the 1916 Rising.
However for this list we have chosen a less talked about injustice and this time the Irish were the beneficiaries. It occurred in the same qualifying campaign, during a clash with Georgia, when the referee awarded a 72th minute penalty to Ireland for no apparent reason (we have watched the video numerous times and still can’t see what the ref saw), none of the Irish players made even so much as a half-hearted appeal.
It proved a vital reprieve for the Republic as they equalized from the spot and went on to take all three points thanks to a late Robbie Keane winner.
2. Ghost goal Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen (2013)
This happened in a Bundesliga game between Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen, the phenomenon known as the ‘ghost goal’. The most famous example was Luis Garcia’s one for Liverpool against Chelsea in the 2005 Champions League semi final when there was uncertainty whether the ball had crossed the line, however that one was debatable so cannot make the list.
This beauty from the Bundesliga however is far more clear cut. Looking at it in real time it seems for all the world that Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling scores a fine headed goal that beats the keeper at his near post. The fact the the ball actually went wide and crept into the back of the net through a hole in the side netting appeared lost on everyone, save for the goalscorer who turned away in disgust when he missed the target.
However when all his teammates came over to celebrate his ‘goal’, an uncomplaining opposition trundled despondently back to the halfway line, and with a referee equally fooled, the scorer changed his tune and began to celebrate. The final 2-1 result was the subject of a failed Hoffenheim appeal.
3. Harold Schumacher Incident World Cup semi final 1982
Harold Schumacher, who conforms to every negative German stereotype, was responsible for this shocking incident. It occurred during the epic 1982 World Cup semi final between old foes France and Germany.
French player Patrick Battiston was played through on goal by Michel Platini, when Schumacher advanced from his goal and knocked out the Frenchman with an absolutely thunderous hit. It was a terrible injury, Battiston was knocked unconscious, damaged his vertebrae and lost three teeth.
The reaction of the German keeper was unbelievable, as the medics rushed in trying to treat the fallen Frenchman and his team mates gathered around, Schumacher looked bored and blissfully unconcerned by the damage he had inflicted waiting to take the goal kick. Even more astonishingly the referee, Dutchman Charles Corver, didn’t award the penalty or take any action against the goalkeeper. The French team didn’t really appeal, so concerned were they with the welfare of team mate.
Perhaps the the whole event was so outrageous it didn’t fully register with the referee, something along the lines of Father Ted kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse. Unfortunately for the French, unlike the WWII movies where the evil Germans end up getting their comeuppance, in this tale the they won thanks to an unlikely comeback in extra time and a penalty shoot out in which the villain of the piece starred.
Schumacher’s post match reaction wasn’t the most contrite either, when told that his victim had lost three teeth he responded “I will pay for the crowns,”
And. as promised, here’as Father Ted kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse!
4. Zola sent off USA 94
The next one brings us all the way back to the USA 94 world cup finals when Gianfranco Zola was sent off for er….precisely nothing. The affable Italian dispossessed his Nigerian opponent who promptly hit the deck writhing in agony. The ref bought the act hook, line and sinker and the former Chelsea man’s World Cup was over only 7 minutes after it began as he did not make it back into the Azzurri starting line up for the rest of the competition.
Karma’s hand is a possibility here too maybe as Zola did take a dive himself looking for a penalty seconds before. But things were eventually evened up as the Italians ultimately won this second round tie.
5. Ghost Goal Number 2 Duisberg vs Frankfurt
The final one we have is probably the most ridiculous decision of the lot, it occurred in a German second tier game between Duisberg and Frankfurt. Christian Tiffert took a shot the ball came off the crossbar and landed a full 1.5 meters back outfield but the refeeree in his wisdom awarded a goal.
The only reason that this miscarriage of justice (possibly overly dramatic language here) is not more famous is that it occurred in a comparatively unimportant game and it didn’t affect the outcome.
Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.
Did Dan miss any? Let us know by commenting below.