UEFA praises VAR for rise in penalties given at Euro 2020

UEFA praises VAR for rise in penalties given at Euro 2020
Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers checks the VAR before a penalty for Spain during the EURO 2020 match between Slovakia and Spain at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville. (AFP)
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Updated 25 June 2021

UEFA praises VAR for rise in penalties given at Euro 2020

UEFA praises VAR for rise in penalties given at Euro 2020
  • The record-setting numbers at Euro 2020 are trending the same way as the 2018 World Cup
  • Increase of penalties is related to the implementation of VAR, said UEFA chief refereeing officer

GENEVA: Expect referees to keep awarding lots of penalties at major soccer tournaments in the VAR era.
The spike in spot kicks at the European Championship won approval Friday from UEFA’s head of refereeing in a mid-tournament review of match officials.
The record-setting numbers at Euro 2020 are trending the same way as the 2018 World Cup, where video assistant referees were first used at soccer’s biggest event.
“One of the key points for this increase of penalties, of course, is related also to the implementation of VAR,” UEFA chief refereeing officer Robert Rosetti said in an online briefing.
The 14 penalties awarded so far at Euro 2020 in 36 games compares to only 13 given in the group stage at the past three tournaments combined, a total of 84 games.
The running total at Euro 2020 includes five penalties that were not initially whistled by the referee. The decisions were made after checks with the help of video monitoring at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
It was a similar story at the last World Cup, where FIFA launched VAR. The 24 penalties given in the group stage in Russia almost doubled the 13 at the entire tournament in Brazil four years earlier.
The big change is not in how the game is being is played but because of increased accuracy using video replays to spot fouls that once escaped match officials, Rosetti said.
“Before the VAR project there were many, many fouls in the penalty area missed by the referees,” Rosetti said. “Now it is impossible to miss these fouls.”
A montage of “step on foot” fouls was included in the Italian official’s video clips of incidents.
The Netherlands and Spain both were eventually given penalties after video review of, respectively, Austria defender David Alaba and Poland midfielder Jakub Moder treading on an opponent’s boot.
“With VAR it’s very, very easy to assess,” said Rosetti, whose refereeing career pre-video review peaked with handling the Euro 2008 final.
Rosetti would even have liked to have seen one more penalty awarded. He said Italy should have been awarded a penalty for handball against Turkey in the opening game.
However, he defended the decision not to award France a late spot kick for a tackle from behind on Kingsley Coman in a 2-2 draw with Portugal. It would have been the fourth penalty of the game after Cristiano Ronaldo converted two and Karim Benzema one.
“We don’t like soft penalties. We want clear penalties,” Rosetti said when pressed twice on the incident. “The penalty is something important in football ... a serious moment in football.”
A further statistical curiosity is the spike in penalties despite a big drop in the number of fouls overall.
Rosetti said there were 806 fouls called so far, compared to 911 at Euro 2016 in the same 36-game group format.
The average number of 22.4 fouls per game compares favorably to the 37.7 average at Euro 2004.
“For sure,” Rosetti said, “a better attitude of the players in the field of play.”
In other observations, Rosetti praised English referee Anthony Taylor for his quick decision-making when Christian Eriksen collapsed while playing for Denmark against Finland.
“I think that everyone recognized that Anthony was perfect in this situation,” Rosetti said.
Video reviews have been faster at Euro 2020 than in the Champions League this season. The average time for interventions after video review has been less than 100 seconds, compared to about two minutes in the Champions League.
“We are doing better,” said Rosetti, noting checks on offside decisions have taken a little over one minute.
The 21 “tight or difficult” offside rulings — where the decision was made in a margin of “plus or minus 10 to 12 centimeters” between players — were all correctly judged, Rosetti said.


Delhi Capitals back on top of IPL with 33-run win against Rajasthan Royals

Delhi Capitals back on top of IPL with 33-run win against Rajasthan Royals
Updated 8 sec ago

Delhi Capitals back on top of IPL with 33-run win against Rajasthan Royals

Delhi Capitals back on top of IPL with 33-run win against Rajasthan Royals
  • Delhi has 16 points from 10 games, two points more than second-placed Chennai Super Kings
ABU DHABI: Delhi Capitals returned to the top of the Indian Premier League with a 33-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.
Delhi scored 154-6 after being asked to bat, its innings propelled by Shreyas Iyer’s 32-ball 43, captain Rishabh Pant’s run-a-ball 24 and Shimron Hetmyer’s 28 runs off 16 deliveries.
Rajasthan could only reach 121-6 in reply after collapsing to 6-2 in the second over and 48-4 in the 11th. Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson restored stability to the innings with a 53-ball 70 not out.
“I thought the total was chasable but we lost too many wickets and weren’t able to get any momentum,” Samson said.
Anrich Nortje returned figures of 2-18 from four overs.
Delhi has 16 points from 10 games, two points more than second-placed Chennai Super Kings which has played a game less. Rajasthan has eight points from nine games.
In the second game on Saturday, Punjab Kings beat last-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad by five runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Punjab moved to fifth place in the eight-team IPL after being put into bat and scoring 125-7, before containing Hyderabad to 120-7 in 20 overs.
Jason Holder was the biggest threat to Punjab, taking 3-19 with the ball and scoring 47 not out off 29 deliveries with the bat, including five sixes. But it wasn’t enough.
Hyderabad is out of playoff contention following its eighth defeat in nine games.

Overmatched All European ‘need a couple miracles’ to keep Ryder Cup

Overmatched All European ‘need a couple miracles’ to keep Ryder Cup
Updated 4 min 53 sec ago

Overmatched All European ‘need a couple miracles’ to keep Ryder Cup

Overmatched All European ‘need a couple miracles’ to keep Ryder Cup
  • The Europeans trail captain Steve Stricker’s young and hungry US squad 11-5
He can’t clone Jon Rahm. He can’t make any last-minute substitutions. He can’t sneak up and cut the laces on the Americans’ golf shoes or super-glue the head covers to their drivers.
All European captain Padraig Harrington can do at this point is post the lineup card, recite a few lines from Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech, wave his guys on their way Sunday morning and then pray. A lot.
Harrington knocked that first task off his to-do list late Saturday, predictably front-loading his lineup in a desperate bid to gain momentum and then somehow sustain it through the dozen singles matches. The Europeans trail captain Steve Stricker’s young and hungry US squad 11-5, and no team has ever come back from a deficit of more than four points.
Worse, after losing seven of the last nine cups, the Americans are out for revenge.
“They have run the score up on us before,” said Tony Finau. “And if we have the opportunity, we are going to run it up on them tomorrow.”
Avoiding embarrassment is a reasonable goal. Englishman Ian Poulter, hardly exaggerating Europe’s chances for a comeback, put it this way: “We need a couple of miracles.”
What the Europeans really need is a dozen players like Rahm, the steely eyed Spaniard who currently sits atop the world rankings. He has won all three of his team matches alongside countryman Sergio Garcia and tied the fourth, practically carrying England’s Tyrrell Hatton on his back.
“The team is playing good,” said Rahm, being more gracious than candid. Half of Europe’s squad has failed to contribute so much as a half-point. “Just putts not dropping in and a couple things here and there that just could happen that haven’t happened. I’d like to believe that things even out.
“Golf is a very complicated and ironic and sarcastic game sometimes,” Rahm added a moment later, “and teams can be capable of some great things, like the US has done so far the last two days. It could be our chance.”
Momentum is everything on the final day of the Ryder Cup. Anyone who has watched the scoreboard change colors like the temperature gauge in an overheating car knows how quickly a cushion can become a hot seat. Think of how fast the Europeans, holding a 10-6 lead, slid down the drain just ahead of American Justin Leonard’s putt at Brookline in 1999. Or the way the Europeans similarly turned the tables in 2012, erasing that same deficit for an improbable win at Medinah.
“I think we learned a lot of lessons from 2012,” said Stricker, who played on that team and lost his singles match to Martin Kaymer. “Probably the thing I can say is that we didn’t do a good job then putting our lineup out on Sunday. ... That was definitely one of the things that we were talking about up there tonight.
“So you know,” he said finally. “it’s hard to say if you got it right or not.”
With eight players ranked among the top 10 in the world and only one outside the top 20 — Scottie Scheffler, at No. 21 — Stricker’s job was picking through an embarrassment of riches.
Xander Schauffle, who went 3-0, leads off against also-winless Rory McIlroy. World No. 2-ranked Dustin Johnson, the squad’s oldest player and the only golfer on either side to go 4-0 through the team matches, will get to sleep in and plays in the sixth match against winless Paul Casey. Daniel Berger, one of six American rookies, wound up in the 12th spot against Matt Fitzpatrick, yet another European without a point.
Except for McIlroy, Harrington lined up all of his winless players in slots 6-12. Rahm plays the third match against Scottie Scheffler, and Garcia goes off fourth against long-hitting Bryson DeChambeau.
“These things can be done,” said Harrington, who played in the 1999 match at Brookline. “It is more of an individual game tomorrow and our job is getting them to focus on winning their point. That’s the biggest thing they can do to help the team.”

Saudi and expat runners mark national day with 91 mins 91.91 secs of racing in Jeddah

Saudi and expat runners mark national day with 91 mins 91.91 secs of racing in Jeddah
Updated 49 min 42 sec ago

Saudi and expat runners mark national day with 91 mins 91.91 secs of racing in Jeddah

Saudi and expat runners mark national day with 91 mins 91.91 secs of racing in Jeddah
  • Event was part of the Mazda 91st Saudi National Day series in Jeddah and Riyadh

JEDDAH: Over 300 runners of all backgrounds and abilities have taken part in the the Mazda 91st Saudi National Day series on the hills of of Usfan, Jeddah, in a race that lasted 91 mins and 91.91 secs.

Sponsors Under Armor marked the Kingdom’s national day with races in Jeddah and the capital on the same day to celebrate the country’s achievements over the past 91 years.

The events were in support of the national goal of encouraging people to lead a healthy and more active lifestyle.

Before the start of the Jeddah Run Series event, runners received a message from Saudi Olympic rower Husein Alireza from London.

“I wish you all the best luck in the race. It is a tough one, but it is a great preparation for Hijaz 50 race which will take place on Dec. 3, 2021,” he said. “I should be with you, so run all the time, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, but don’t give up. It is you against yourself up there, but the most important thing is just enjoy it. Good luck.”

Athletes aged from 18-60 ran through the area’s 9.1 km scenic trails for a duration of 91 mins, 91 secs, with Katie Philcox of the UK winning the women’s race, having covered 11.38 km in that time, and Johan Engelbrecht of South Africa coming first in the men’s competition with 16.27 km.

Hejaz Ultra, a trail-running and hiking group in Saudi Arabia, partnered with Under Armor to organize the event.

Commenting on the race and the Inspire Series, Nesreen Samir Ghonaim, a Saudi member of Hejaz Ultra, said: “We are proud to be part of the Mazda 91st Saudi National Day series run and to see Saudi Arabia’s growing fitness community come out for the day.”

Meanwhile, Fabrice Laborie, a French national who has been living in Saudi Arabia for 20 years and founded Hejaz Ultra in 2016, told Arab News that the race is a key family and corporate community event with a fantastic vibe and energy.

“This is a special day for Saudi Arabia and we decided to celebrate it with fellow athletes from Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Britain, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco and many others.” he said.

“Due to coronavirus procedures, we only registered around 305 runners this year in addition to a large number of virtual runners who were home or walking somewhere in the city.”

“We are proud to be part of the Under Armor series and to see Saudi Arabia’s growing fitness community come out for the day,” he added.

Laborie also expressed his admiration for the Saudi government’s aim to promote physical and social well-being and a healthier lifestyle by providing programs that encourage widespread and regular participation in sports and athletic activities.

Final results

Female runners:

1st Katie Philcox (UK) 11.38 km; 2nd Nujud Alharbi (Saudi Arabia) 10.10 km; 3rd Red Alvarez (Philippines) 9.88 km.

Male runners:

1st Johan Engelbrecht (South Africa) 16.27 km; 2nd Abdelrhim Ghad (Palestine) 16.17 km; 3rd Abubakr Gafar (Sudan) 16.20 km.


Ten-man Dortmund crash without Haaland on Rose’s Gladbach return

Ten-man Dortmund crash without Haaland on Rose’s Gladbach return
Updated 25 September 2021

Ten-man Dortmund crash without Haaland on Rose’s Gladbach return

Ten-man Dortmund crash without Haaland on Rose’s Gladbach return
  • "We really missed Erling and Marco today, but we needed a bit more toughness and determination," admitted Dortmund defender Mats Hummels
  • Wolfsburg lost 3-1 at Hoffenheim, falling to third and losing second place on goal difference to Bayer Leverkusen

BERLIN: Defending champions Bayern Munich will finish the weekend three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table after close rivals Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg both suffered away defeats on Saturday.
Without injured star striker Erling Braut Haaland and club captain Marco Reus, Dortmund had midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud sent off for two first-half yellow cards as their 1-0 defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach left them fourth in the table.
“Of course, we really missed Erling and Marco today, but we needed a bit more toughness and determination,” admitted Dortmund defender Mats Hummels as the visitors played a man down for 50 minutes.
Earlier, Wolfsburg lost 3-1 at Hoffenheim, falling to third and losing second place on goal difference to Bayer Leverkusen, whose 18-year-old Germany international Florian Wirtz sealed a 1-0 win over Mainz to become the youngest player to reach the milestone of 10 Bundesliga goals.
Having lost both Haaland and Reus to injuries in training on Friday, the visitors struggled in front of goal as Moenchengladbach fans whistled Dortmund coach Marco Rose on his return to Borussia Park, where he was in charge for two years before quitting to join their Bundesliga rivals.
The match was decided shortly before half-time when Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria beat England midfielder Jude Bellingham to the ball and fired the hosts ahead with the game’s first clear chance.
Emotions were running high and referee Denis Aytekin dished out eight yellow cards, two of which were shown to Dahoud.
He was booked early for fouling Gladbach captain Lars Stindl, and then sent off on 40 minutes for a late tackle on US defender Joe Scally.
Dortmund squandered the chance to grab a late equalizer when Belgium winger Thorgan Hazard headed over in added time.
Haaland and Reus face a race against time to be fit for Tuesday’s Champions League game at home to Sporting Lisbon while Saturday’s win hauled Gladbach up from the relegation places to 11th.
Wolfsburg took the lead in Sinsheim when winger Ridle Baku fired in a stunning long-range shot from the left flank, but Andrej Kramaric, Christoph Baumgartner and Pavel Kaderabek scored three unanswered goals for Hoffenheim.
“It’s a shame we didn’t take the points, but Hoffenheim were very efficient — better than us in that regards,” said Wolfsburg head coach Mark van Bommel after his first league defeat in charge.
RB Leipzig picked up a much-needed confidence boost before Tuesday’s home Champions League game against Brugge with a 6-0 thrashing of Hertha Berlin.
Three defeats in their opening five league games, as well as a 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City in Europe, had piled pressure on Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch.
The American reacted by switching Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen up front for struggling new striker Andre Silva.
Poulsen linked up with French winger Christopher Nkunku to cause havoc in the Hertha defense.
Nkunku was outstanding with two goals and two assists, while Poulsen, Nordi Mukiele, Emil Forsberg and Amadou Haidara also got on the scoresheet.
Union Berlin are unbeaten in their last 20 home league games after a 1-0 win against Bielefeld in the capital.
Substitute striker Kevin Behrens came off the bench to claim his first Bundesliga goal in only his fourth game for Union.
However, the win was overshadowed by injury to Union defender Timo Baumgartl, who was knocked out during a first-half collision and taken to hospital, where it was confirmed he suffered concussion.
“Timo Baumgartl is doing well. Under the circumstances, that’s the most pleasing news,” said Union coach Urs Fischer.


Salah gets 100th PL goal but Liverpool held 3-3 at Brentford

Salah gets 100th PL goal but Liverpool held 3-3 at Brentford
Updated 25 September 2021

Salah gets 100th PL goal but Liverpool held 3-3 at Brentford

Salah gets 100th PL goal but Liverpool held 3-3 at Brentford
  • Juergen Klopp’s side was unable to reap the maximum profit from slip-ups by Manchester United and Chelsea
  • Instead Liverpool moved just one point clear at the top, while preserving the top flight’s only remaining unbeaten record

LONDON: Mohamed Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool on Saturday but it was not enough to beat Brentford, which twice pegged the Reds back in a breathless 3-3 draw.
Juergen Klopp’s side was unable to reap the maximum profit from slip-ups by Manchester United and Chelsea earlier in the day as it shared the points with Brentford in early-evening entertainment in west London.
Instead Liverpool moved just one point clear at the top, while preserving the top flight’s only remaining unbeaten record.
And Klopp will be relieved at that after Ivan Toney had what would have been a late winner ruled out for offside.
The German coach will also know his side will not face many tougher trips all season, with vibrant Brentford leading through Ethan Pinnock and, following goals from Diogo Jota and Salah, equalizing through Vitaly Janelt.
Then, when Curtis Jones smashed Liverpool ahead again, Bees sub Yoane Wissa came up with another equalizer.
There was a taste of things to come when both teams were denied by goal-line clearances in the opening 10 minutes.
First, Salah missed out on a seventh-minute opener thanks to a spectacular piece of defending from Kristoffer Ajer, who slid in to hook the ball off the line.
Moments later, at the other end, Bryan Mbeumo latched onto Toney’s flick-on and lifted the ball over Alisson, but this time Joel Matip got back to scoop the ball clear from underneath the crossbar.
Brentford was more than holding its own against the 2020 champion and took the lead in the 27th minute. Spanish winger Sergi Canos — who spent three years at Liverpool as a youngster but played only nine minutes for the first team — got down the Reds’ right and drilled in a low cross that Toney helped on for Pinnock to tap in.
The lead lasted barely three minutes, however, before Jordan Henderson swung in a cross from the right and Jota headed home at the far post.
Seven minutes before the interval, Henderson teed up Jones on the edge of the area and his shot was deflected onto a post by Pinnock.
Jota should have been celebrating his second of the afternoon from the rebound but somehow David Raya got his body in the way of the shot and it flew wide.
After the break Salah grabbed his landmark goal. The Egypt striker was initially flagged offside as he tucked away Fabinho’s ball over the top, but a VAR check showed he was in fact onside.
Back came Brentford, though, and when Pontus Jansson slid in to crash Ajer’s cross onto the bar, Janelt popped up at the far post to force the loose ball home.
Jones blasted Liverpool back in front in the 67th with a low drive that took a deflection in a crowded penalty area as it flew past Raya.
Salah should have had goal No. 101 after he was played in by Sadio Mane but he chipped the ball onto the roof of the net.
Moments later Wissa arrived at the far post and produced a composed finish to equalize yet again, before Toney was denied a late winner by the linesman’s flag.