Ideally, when you tell your mate about the match you just saw, you would want to have no memory of who the referee was. Pundits and experts always say that referees have best games when they go by unnoticed. The worst thing that can happen to a great match is for it to be influenced by a referee’s mistake. Here is our list of top eleven referee mistakes (and no, this list will not include Maradona’s handball).
11. Marco Fritz, 2010 (Duisburg vs FSV Frankfurt)
It was an incredible mistake. The ball was nowhere near the goal as it bounced off the bar, but the referee decided to count that as a goal, as if Duisburg’s 4:0 lead wasn’t already enough.
10. Koman Coulibaly, 2010 (Slovenia vs USA)
The World Cup has become notorious for its lack of quality in refereeing. This incident in 2010 showed why referees have bad publicity. Nobody except the referee has an explanation as to why the goal was cancelled, as Maurice Edu was miles onside.
9. Howard Webb, 2010 (Netherlands vs Spain)
In the World Cup final, Nigel de Jong decided to show off his MMA skills on Xabi Alonso. He jumpkicked him in the chest and Webb didn’t think of it as a red card incident. Thankfully, this decision didn’t influence the result.
8. Felix Brych, 2013 (Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen)
This mistake led to one of the weirdest goals in the recent history of football. Although we can’t be too critical of the referee, he did have a good angle to see that the ball was going wide. The ball went through the hole in the net and it fooled everyone, including the only man whose opinion mattered.
7. Mark Clattenburg, 2005 (Man United vs Tottenham)
In the 88th minute of a goalless draw, Tottenham’s Pedro Mendes tried to score a cheeky long-distance goal and the ball went in thanks to the keeper’s embarrassing reaction. However, the referee decided not to give it, almost as if he felt sorry for the lad.
6. Graham Poll, 2006 (Croatia vs Australia)
If you receive a yellow card and have been already been booked, that means you will be sent off, right? Well, not according to Graham Poll, who showed Croatian defender Josip Simunic a second yellow, but didn’t show him a red card and the Croat remained on the pitch. It was only after a third yellow that he was shown a red card.
5. Jorge Larrionda, 2010 (England vs Germany)
This World Cup second round match ended with a dominant victory for the Germans. But, before they started dominating the match, Frank Lampard scored an amazing goal, which Larrionda didn’t allow as he didn’t see that the ball had indeed gone over the goal line.
4. Andre Marriner, 2014 (Chelsea vs Arsenal)
With technology now becoming part of the game and helping referees with their decision-making, one would think things like confusing one player with another would not happen. Marriner showed Kieran Gibbs a red card for an intentional handball, although it was Chamberlain who was at fault.
3. Clive Thomas, 1978 (Sweden vs Brazil)
If you don’t want to allow a play to go on, then signal full-time before the corner is taken. Definitely not just as the ball is about to cross the goal line. Mr. Thomas was not of that opinion however and opted to disallow Zico’s goal by signalling the end of the match as the ball hit the net.
2. Byron Moreno, 2002 (South Korea vs Italy)
In a match as important as the Round of 16 in the World Cup, the last thing football fans want to see is the referee deciding the winner. In 2002, the referee called all major decisions (and the minor ones too) in favor of the hosts, and didn’t allow Italy to go through although they were the better team. One cannot help but think it was intentional.
1. Martin Hansson, 2009 (France vs Republic of Ireland)
In the play-off round of the World Cup qualifiers, France were playing the Irish, and needed a goal to go through. Thierry Henry, the then 32-year-old striker with a remarkable career behind him, decided to score a goal by all means – he intentionally handballed to keep the ball in play and created a goalscoring opportunity for Gallas. The referee on the night, Hansson failed to react and France went through undeservedly.