If you like, of course, enough has already been said about this problem in the text. Nevertheless, perhaps it is worthwhile to have a little extra section just to deal with this idea.
Striker’s foul is actually always. If the referee looks for any alibi to stop the game, it was a striker’s foul. Even if a rule was once written down that included the “rule” on offside to give the attacker the benefit of the doubt – here, too, the media have meanwhile commented here and there that this has probably never been applied in practice – it applies only and exclusively to almost any situation: In case of doubt, it’s a striker’s foul. And that always works. No one crows when a goal is disallowed for completely inexplicable reasons. The slow-motion sequences do not show from a single perspective that there was any irregularity on the part of an attacker, the whistle sounds, the judgements remain more than mild: “Yes, he must have seen something. And then it’s back to business as usual, which is to put down the team affected by the disallowed goal, which only failed to save the draw because of that decision, and to make fun of a few players, coaches or managers who are acting like Rumpelstiltskin – “What’s got into them? otherwise the matter is forgotten. It doesn’t matter that the game was interrupted for no reason.
Well, as we have already learned from the various other chapters, this “decision” is also due to the fact that the recognition of a goal is much more difficult than the disallowance. The reason remains the same in these situations: the concern is always to let an action go, this leads to a goal, and one gets the blame afterwards because an offence is only revealed afterwards. Then, as usual, there would be a lot of crying, whereas in the case described above – simply blow the whistle, regardless of whether something was seen or not – you get off completely unchallenged. In case of doubt: whistle. In case of doubt: striker’s foul. That’s how you make it to the top of the referees’ guild. “Had everything under control” “On the whole, a decent performance, albeit….” This little blemish, if awarded at all, would be so infinitesimal compared to the blemish the other way around: “Disastrous performance, as he was off the mark at crucial moments.” Decisive, because goal given. Not decisive, as the goal was disallowed, i.e. no change in the score. This case does not stand out.
As usual, however, the evidence technique is offered here too: Cut scenes together where the location on the pitch is not recognisable. A few such scenes are played in front of a few referees or other people interested in the experiment. The judgement to be made is: Foul or no foul. Or: Foul for him or foul for him. Since both almost always do some work on the opponent. Then compare which decision is considered correct in retrospect and which was made in the game. Here, too, a fairly clear result is to be expected: many situations classified as a forward foul in the game would not be recognised as such (due to the unknown location). Conversely, numerous defender actions would nevertheless be classified as foul play that were not recognised in the game. Especially in the penalty area, but also outside, when it is a question of goal danger that was present in the game, but cannot be recognised in the cut-out scene.
The second evidence technique also applies here. The one that is based on how good actors are supposed to be in the ranks of footballers so that their behaviour can be explained. The strikers who are supposed to have fouled repeatedly walk away shaking their heads or pointing at themselves. The gesture shows what is felt: “What, I am supposed to have fouled? Why always against me? I didn’t do anything, or at least not more than my opponent. That’s unfair.” People shake their heads at perceived injustices. Now, one can blame this on subjectivity, which certainly no human being can completely discard. However, the accumulation is more than telling. Especially when there is a great sense of desperation to be observed: The striker wins the ball from a defender, wants to move towards the goal, the defender simply falls down, sure, not untouched, but this time the ball was really lost, won according to the rules, so the defender takes the last option: fall down. The decision afterwards is completely unanimous: 100% striker’s foul There is no way for an attacker to gain possession of the ball in this way, even less so if you really had a completely free run towards the goal. The whistle always blows. Even a referee can’t let that pass: A striker, just like that, alone in front of the goal? No, he gets the usual shock and blows the whistle. The despair on the faces of the attackers that can be seen afterwards is not playable. It’s real. Nothing done, but stopped, prevented from scoring.
The fact that the rest of the neutral spectators, who simply wanted to watch a game like this, are further or even finally scared away by this kind of whistle – and thus the suppression of an exciting scene that was so eagerly awaited because it was so absolutely rare – is of course also the usual side effect here, which has long since ceased to cause a stir. The perceived injustice and the prevented spectacle, which one cannot explain but also does not want to explain at all: “Why? That’s football. That’s football. Aha. It’s no fun. I’m going to hockey.” Done. There’s no need to think about it.
Incidentally, this evidence technique becomes interesting when used in comparison: Here a forward who is said to have fouled and walks away shaking his head or pointing at himself (“What, I’m supposed to have fouled?”), here a defender who constantly raises his arms before, during and after the action protesting his innocence: “I’m not doing anything, I haven’t done anything.” Why should he act in this way? If he does nothing, you notice it, don’t you? If someone doesn’t foul, why should he use gestures to draw attention to it?
The answer is simple: he is constantly pushing the limits or overstepping them, but wants to avoid punishment for the offence by drawing attention to it while he is still doing it. “I’m not doing anything. Please don’t blow the whistle!” Is he too ready for Hollywood? Or do people just intuitively act the way anyone would: One tries to steal away claiming innocence because he is aware of guilt, the other who has done nothing despairs of being accused of something?
There is even a third form of proof: Here, once again, carry the statistics that count the following: A cross comes into the penalty area, a whistle sounds. The curious question is: Who is the whistle for? Only this simple number would be interesting. How often is the whistle for the defence, how often for the attackers. This result would overwhelmingly eclipse every statistic mentioned before. Because here there are practically only whistles for the defence. That’s not 90%, nor is it 99%. There are far more.
In the great effort to be objective, it is of course not forgotten here that the guild of executives on the pitch intuitively – well, such things are not discussed – came up with a justification, which possibly also spread to the reporters. The justification is: the strikers dare to play much more. When they foul, nothing happens (except for the striker’s foul). Well, that’s no problem. So no goal, so no goal. But if a defender goes the same way, then he has to expect a penalty and, consequently, almost a goal. The defender stays away for fear of causing a penalty kick, the attacker uses all means. Either he reaches the ball, is not caught in (his) offence and scores the goal, or he is not caught and scores none, or he does nothing and scores none, or he is caught and (therefore) scores none, but at the same time has done no damage, since a free kick in the opponent’s penalty area has nothing directly to do with “attack” or “scoring chance” for the person taking it.
As pretty and plausible and logical as this theory is: it does not apply. It cannot be true in such an overwhelming variety. Apart from that – and this is where it gets interesting, since the opposite is actually claimed, namely that the defenders foul more than the attackers – just take a look at what really happens in the penalty area before a corner is taken. There should be a camera in the penalty area all the time. But when it happens (at short notice), you see enough already.
Time and again, defenders unmotivatedly (?!) put their arms around their opponents. It is a gesture that, even as a mere suggestion, constitutes gross unsporting behaviour. That, of all things, when the attacker wants to run, they hold him very briefly or even longer, that if the ball really does come in and once a striker gets to the ball, they will still work him over with little pushes, so that at least the main goal is not missed: No goal can be scored.
Conversely, in truth the strikers do much less. They already know that it will practically always be interpreted against them and use this knowledge by doing nothing. Besides, in most situations they don’t care what happens, so to speak, because there is only the one favourable but extremely rare case, the goal, or just any scene again. So what’s the point of fouling? The chance isn’t really there, so you don’t foul, because it simply wouldn’t help.
The defenders, on the other hand, live in constant worry: one mistake, the ball is in and we’ve lost. Unfortunately, the same worry is shared by the referee, who takes every opportunity to stop play against the attacking team. As mentioned, you might want to take a look at the statistics offered above – after you have made them.
One more effect: In the five-metre area, the goalkeeper protection is great. That is anchored in the rules. On the other hand, it is the case that you would prefer to get into this area as a striker, because you are nowhere closer to the goal. If you can get to a header here, the goal is almost inevitable. Now, provided an attack is well constructed, possession is well secured and space is gradually gained so that player after player can move further forward, sometimes it really is possible to get into such a favourable situation. Note that this often requires a winger to advance to the baseline for it to be legal to be in the five-metre area – otherwise it would be offside. Well, a corner kick would also suffice, but by then the defenders have also long been in that position. In any case, it happens that an attacker gets suspiciously close to the ball in the five-metre area.
The goalkeeper’s behaviour observed in these (rare) situations is always the same: before the striker can get to the ball, the goalkeeper rushes without any consideration. Either he gets to the ball or he gets to the striker. If he reaches the ball, all is well. But unfortunately, if he reaches the striker, everything is even better. Because not only does he get a free kick for this action as a reward for the rude “striker’s foul”, that’s no question. Most of the time it is so that he can pretend a desired injury, because with such a daring dive one already hurts oneself but that a culprit is made out, the injury is made a little worse. Of course, the defending team was in the lead, otherwise the other team wouldn’t have moved up so far (motto: why order strikers into the attack when you’re already leading?). But as compote there is often enough the yellow card for the bad, brazen attacker. What has he done? The “offence” is to have entered the five-metre area. All right, he might still have been allowed to do that. but he had the absolutely disgraceful and despicable intention of scoring a goal from there! That’s what it’s going to come to! Such an intention must simply be put a stop to.
In truth, if you look at such a scene once, he is only standing there because he already knows that he was not allowed to allow himself a jump towards the ball anyway. To do this, he has his head tucked in (it really is!) and does not even dare to move a millimetre towards the ball. As a best-case scenario, he can hope that he is not injured himself by the keeper’s reckless jump. Otherwise, he is already standing there in the knowledge of the absolutely logical and footballing consequence: he gets a yellow card and is injured. Score a goal? Not a thought. Let the game go on? Not after something like that. No foul on the striker? Illusion. No yellow? Yes, you can do that. Not getting injured? Only the tough ones can manage that.
By the way, yellow or not, he still has to prepare himself for some pretty nasty scolding. The miracle remains as a polemical question: Why was he actually there? What made him do it?
We should simply declare the five-metre area a forbidden zone, then we would be rid of this worry. Come on, why only the five-metre area? Take the whole penalty area! Because: if you are completely honest, the scene described above is not only a foul worthy of a yellow card in the five-metre area. It is also punishable outside the penalty area, as has been observed often enough recently. The cameras often prove that the scene took place outside the five-metre area, which is not lost on the commentator, who remarks: “Yes, that was actually outside the five-metre area and the goalkeeper is considered a normal field player there. But he was lucky that he still got the free kick.” Well, objectively speaking, the luck was relatively small and the referee also goes unpunished in such a situation – because it doesn’t have the slightest influence on his rating. Only the striker was once again pinched in the a… s ass again…
So: It’s better not to enter the penalty area at all. Being allowed to score a goal becomes an illusion.
The saying “he goes where it really hurts” takes on a whole new meaning. It really hurts, exactly, namely in the place where the sense of justice should actually sit.