Red Card or Not: Jon Moss and Tim Howard

Poor old Jon Moss. He’s not the strongest referee in the league, but he didn’t deserve this.

Not only was he run ragged trying to keep up with Everton and Chelsea’s nine-goal marathon (ending 6-3 in Chelsea’s favour), but his assistant referees let him down something awful.

This definitely was the worst refereeing team performance we’ve seen yet this season and quite frankly one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time.

Most of that can be laid squarely at the feet of Ron Ganfield, who spent most of last season in the lower leagues. I don’t say this very often, but he needs to go back there. He missed nearly every major decision, including Branislav Ivanovic’s being offside for Chelsea’s second goal.

But the absolute worst, in my mind, was this:



Yes, folks, that’s Everton and America goalkeeper Tim Howard catching the ball a good yard outside the box with Eden Hazard clear on goal. As the last man, this was a clear goalscoring opportunity, and a clear handball.

Neither Ganfield nor Moss reacted to it.

He should have been sent off right there at the seven minute mark. Because he was allowed to stay on, he later ended up in a scuffle with Diego Costa. Costa was a being a jerkface to Howard’s teammate, true. But Howard ran all the way over to him, pushed him and started a ruckus, in which he also appeared to head butt Cesar Azpilicueta.

Moss produced only a yellow, but could have given a red, considering that at the very least Howard deliberately started the fight.

Can’t blame that one on Ganfield.

Here’s the fight:

And here’s what Graham Poll had to say about Ganfield.

To be fair, I thought Moss’ AR1, Simon Long, did okay.

So, let’s talk retroactive action.

I don’t think there can be any for the fight, since Jon Moss was right there and had his eyes on Howard when he confronted Azpilicueta. Since Moss addressed it with a yellow card, I don’t think the FA can act.

They may be able to act on the deliberate handling outside the box if the referees say they didn’t see it, but it would be unusual for them to do so.

What do you think? Should Tim Howard have been sent off? Should he be suspended? Tell us below.


  • To be honest…I have no idea if the half circle counts as part of the box or not, but believing your word that it doesn’t: Clear handball. Not sure about the goal scoring opportunity because, well, the ball goes directly on the body and who knows where it might have ended up if Howard had not used his hands to hold the ball. I guess you could argue for yellow, but a red would be a possible, yes.


    • The way I read the Law, the goalkeeper can only handle the ball in his penalty area – the 18 yard box. The half circle are is outside the penalty area.


    • Also, I’m not picking on you, but people really don’t understand the DOGSO rule. There is NO YELLOW for DOGSO. If there is a denial of clear goalscoring opportunity – particularly with a deliberate handball, which is specifically called out – the ONLY option for a referee is a sending off. It’s an either/or thing. It’s a very common misunderstanding that referees can somehow just give a yellow for DOGSOs that “aren’t so bad”; they can’t.


      • I understand the rule just fine, I just pointed out that the initial shot on the goal was not stopped by the hand but by the body…the use of the hand “just” prevented that the ball went back in the game. I guess a ref could argue that it is therefore not a clear opportunity, because the ball could have ended up more or less everywhere. It’s a thin argument, but in the end the ref decides if there was a clear goal scoring opportunity or not, so there is a little bit wriggle room.


        • Gotta totally disagree with you on this.

          The truth is, there was NO ONE between Hazard and goal but Howard. Goalkeepers are not allowed to use their hands outside the penalty area, period. If he’d been in the penalty area, then no problem. But if he touches the ball – whenever he touches it – outside the box, it’s deliberate handball and Hazard was still in play when he did. Deliberate handball to deny a goalscoring opportunity is always a red.

          DOGSO is a pass/fail, not a “wiggle room” situation. I want that to be clear to my readers. Your interpretation is not accurate.

          That said, Moss didn’t call it, so we have no idea what he was thinking or if he just didn’t see it.

          But it would NOT have been a yellow. He would have either seen it as a DOGSO (red) or not (nothing).


        • I also just watched this in real time. The shot goes straight into his arms and he gathers it; it only strikes his body AFTER he catches it. Saying that shot was not stopped by the hand is just flat out wrong.

          He was outside the line and deliberately threw himself back in, but even when he fell, his feet were outside the line. The only other defender was two steps behind Hazard.


          • Well, I didn’t see the scene…if he did gather it, then it’s a handball. so most likely the ref was in a position that he didn’t see the position of the goalie well enough.


            • Maybe he wasn’t, but Ganfield should have been. (It was, coincidentally, Ganfield who made the call, because Howard – who had been upset about earlier calls of his – applauded him mockingly.)


    • All the circles/semi circles on the pitch are just indicators of the 10 yards distance from the centre and penalty spot(s), and are not part of the 18 yard area.

      Also your understanding of the phases of the ball are a little off as well – the striking body/hand incident happens within the same phase of play making it a clear case of deliberate handball, just like an outfield player saving a goal bound shot with his hand in the area the keeper attempting to pick the ball up outside the area with an attacker a few yards away is always going to be denying a clear goal scoring opportunity and a red card..

      Liked by 1 person

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