Thoughts on Felix Brych’s Europa League Final
So, let’s talk about the whole Europa League final tempest in a teapot, shall we?
First of all, I thought overall Dr. Felix Brych and his all-German team did a fairly decent job with what was a very tough, very fast-paced game.
And I don’t like to argue over non-penalty calls. Everyone has their own opinions on whether or not a referee should have called a penalty or or not, and they’re usually fueled by multiple replays and beers, neither of which the referee has access to. At least not mid-match.
So, I’m not even going to talk about the potential penalty controversies in this match. There are plenty of yahoos on Twitter doing that.
I did have two major concerns, though:
On the surface, Brych is very fit. (My goodness is he fit. Pretty man.) And maybe I’m spoiled from the EPL and watching Mark Clattenburg routinely run down men half his age.
But even before extra time, it was hard to deny how many times Brych was behind the speed of play. Towards the end of the match, his starts and stops began to bleed into each other, and he was relying more and more heavily on his ARs to help him with calls he didn’t fully see.
Granted, not all referees can be Clatts-level speed demons, and I’ve never particularly noticed an issue with Brych’s fitness before. But it was clear in a match this pacey that he struggled a bit.
Those Beto saves
Dude, I could save a penalty kick if I was allowed a running start on the kicker!
The Laws of the Game are very clear: The goalkeeper must stay on his line and between the goalposts at all times, or at least until the ball is kicked. It doesn’t matter if the kicker stutters on his run up; in fact, the rules point out that feinting is allowed. The goalkeeper must stay on the line.
In two of the saves he made, Sevilla’s Beto was significantly, blatantly off his line. And I do mean blatantly.
Now, I will say this: This is not Felix’s fault.
According to FIFA’s laws, the referee monitors infringement by the kicker, and the assistants monitor the goalkeeper. That’s why they stand at the intersection of the box and the goal line. They’re supposed to have their eyes glued to the goalkeeper. Brych’s focus should be on the kicker.
In both cases, the assistant referees should have asked for a re-kick. (Though, doubtless, they would have only had to do it once.) Unfortunately, those “saves” are what people will talk about, and they give a bad taste to an otherwise excellent game.
So, granted, Dr. Brych wasn’t at fault for those mistakes, but they’re his team and at the end of the day, it falls on his shoulders.
His hair looked nice, though.