Goal controversy at Birmingham v Liverpool

BT Sport – Madness! Two long-distance lobs scored in 30 seconds.

Beautiful goal by Fara Williams, but not valid.

let’s have a look at the Laws of the Game :

Law 8

Definition of kick-off
A kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play:
• at the start of the match
• after a goal has been scored
• at the start of the second half of the match
• at the start of each period of extra time, where applicable
A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.
Before a kick-off at the start of the match or extra time
• a coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss decides which goal it will
attack in the fi rst half of the match.
• the other team takes the kick-off to start the match.
• the team that wins the toss takes the kick-off to start the second half of the
• in the second half of the match, the teams change ends and attack the
opposite goals.
• after a team scores a goal, the kick-off is taken by the other team.
• all players must be in their own half of the fi eld of play
• the opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 9.15 m (10 yds)
from the ball until it is in play
• the ball must be stationary on the centre mark
• the referee gives a signal
• the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward
• the kicker must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player

Also in the chapter Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees

Use of whistle
The whistle is needed to:
• start play (1st, 2nd half), after a goal
• stop play:
– for a free kick or penalty kick
– if the match is suspended or abandoned
– when a period of play has ended due to the expiration of time
• restart play for:
– free kicks when the appropriate distance is required
– penalty kicks
• restart play after it has been stopped due to:
– the issue of a yellow or red card for misconduct
– injury
– substitution
The whistle is NOT needed to:
• stop play for:
– a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in
– a goal
• restart play from:
– a free kick, goal kick, corner kick, throw-in
A whistle which is used too frequently unnecessarily will have less impact when
it is needed. When a discretionary whistle is needed to start play, the referee
should clearly announce to the players that the restart may not occur until after
that signal.

As the referee as admitted not to have blown the whistle the goal cannot stand and therefore is not valid.


This is a technical error by the referee : A technical error occurs when the referee recognizes an infringement of the Laws but restarts the game in the wrong way. Such a decision is correctable by the competition authority.

Off to you the FA….

I just received an answer from the FA about that case, it is the standard answer you get when you moan about referees being wrong in the men’s premier league games for example. I would have received the same if I had complained about Clattenburg Leicester v Man Utd

“Whilst understanding any frustrations as a football fan, every supporter will have an opinion on the game’s major talking points and we’re always interested to hear them.  The Football Association receives frequent correspondence on individual refereeing decisions across all levels of football as well as on the performance of referees in general. It is important to understand that without a referee there is no game and as a result the long-term health of football relies on recruiting, retaining and developing referees. Whilst 100% consistency is impossible when human judgment is introduced into a situation, referees get the overwhelmingly majority of decisions right. In fact they are arguably the most consistent people in the game making split-second decisions that will be analysed repeatedly by slow motion cameras and panels of football experts.

There is a system in place for monitoring the performance of referees and referee’s assistants. This involves referees assessors and reports from club managers. All assessors come from a footballing background and the majority are fully qualified referees themselves. The performances of referees over a season are then taken into consideration when the leagues appoint their referees for the following season.

We do appreciate all of the feedback we receive from supporters. This feedback is collated and used to build a picture of public opinion and is subsequently fed back internally within the organisation. Please rest assured your comments will form part of this feedback process.”


I guess the FA people consider the incident as a factual decision rather than a technical error. If they cannot see the difference between those two things they should not be working in football.


Birmingham City v Arsenal Ladies FA Cup Round 6

I think the best way to describe yesterday’s game is an encounter between a tired team and a team still learning to play together. We saw a bit of wrestling and a bit of judo in the middle of this football game. All this mixed with an inadequate referee who lost control  and you have the recipe for a strange FA Cup Round 6 tie.

Arsenal had a couple of players on international duty : Byrne and Hoogendjik were already gone while all the England players would report to St Georges Park after the final whistle. Arsenal played in the usual 4-3-3 with Chamberlain, Scott Stoney Williamson Mitchell, Bailey Kinga Smith, Carter Ohno Ayisi. Williamson used at center back rather than in midfield. She has been used on regular basis in defense for the various England teams. Bailey sitting in front of the defense shielding and mopping the ball while Kinga and Smith were free to roam forward. Ohno up front with Ayisi on the wing.

Birmingham used their classical 4-2-3-1 with the same team that started the Champions League against the Gunners. Spencer, Weston Mannion Harrop Carter, Moore Potter, Carney Allen Lawley, Linnett.

Arsenal were vastly improved from the 2 champions league games, there was a lot more fluidity and movement in the passing game. Smith played in her usual playmaker position and distributed the ball and play as well as she could be. The right wing was well used with Scott and Carter regularly combining in attacking position but not with the right quality for the final ball.

Birmingham looked tired and short of sharpness, the long away trips to Sweden and Yeovil in midweek clearly took their energy out and they seemed to lack the 10th of second needed in certain situations to make a good use of the ball or win the ball back.

I also wondered if the grass was not cut enough and too high because the game was very lethargic for the first 30 minutes and passing seem to be short from the beginning of the game. Basically the game woke up when Birmingham opened the score by Remi Allen who seems to enjoy scoring against the Gunners.  Birmingham did not enjoy that advantage for a long time as the referee awarded a penalty for a handball by Moore. An awful decision that turned the game and totally contrary to the law of the games :

In Fifa’s Laws of the Game 2005, Law 12 says a free-kick or penalty will be awarded if a player “handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)”. The ball seem to hit Moore’s shoulder and there was absolutely not deliberate intent. When a game it tight and quite even, that kind of decision has a huge impact and the game descended into a lot of ,brutality, kicking and wrestling on every occasion and ended up with both teams complaining constantly and heavily about the referee’s poor handling of the game.  Both teams were responsible for this alongside the referee who carried on randomly whistling for fouls and was inconsistent.

Chelsea Weston was not lucky the previous Sunday with a Marta stamp not being punished by the referee and his assistant and did not fare better this time , when she seemed to be elbowed in an off the ball incident in front of the assistant referee and in the line of sight of the 4th referee.  The 4th referee should surely take action for off the ball stuff like this.

The game became more opened after the equaliser with both teams getting stretched a bit more and trying to attack in numbers.  We reached half time with that 1-1 scoreline. A fair result after the first 45 minutes.

The 2nd half was a mix of football, late fouls, kicking from behind, wrestling, more elbowing in the face and loads of unpunished reprehensible actions due to the 2 teams ‘ frustrations.

Lawley had a great chance early in the 2nd half from a Carney cross but her left footed volley went high. The 2nd Arsenal goal was superb with Carter making a crossfield run to put a superb through ball to Ayisi who finished superbly with a side foot.

The game became opened with Blues trying to equalise and Arsenal trying to catch them on the break.  Birmingham created a few half chances but did not manage to have a serious threatening shot for Chamberlain. The last debatable decision by the referee not to award a penalty for a superb  o’soto gari on Lawley that was well worth an Ippon was just the icing on the cake on a superb performance.

The WSL quality level is on the up but from what I have seen this season, the refereeing level has not been up to standard. Saying that who can say that the men’s premier league refereeing quality is better, they make the same error of judgement, don’t give yellow and red cards. Just a general refereeing problem.

Overall the best team on the day won and will be playing next Sunday against Chelsea Ladies at Woking. It should be a very interesting contest with Chelsea coming strong this season with their attacking football.

First half video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw5ZpS-1ZLo

Second half video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1-Mc490MQg

FA WSL 1 prediction team by team : Birmingham City Ladies

Prediction 3rd to 5th

Birmingham City Ladies had a quiet transfer window compared to most teams. 5 players left and 5 arrived, 2 of them coming from the CoE and Development teams. That squad  stability has contributed to the qualification for the UEFA WCL semi-finals.

Bassett, Williams and Unitt did not have much playing time overall in the second half on the FA WSL 2013 season, Earps did get a bit more playing time but was not guaranteed regular games and needed them to compete for the England number 1 shirt. Christiansen left to be part of the exciting City project and train as a professional ie every day. In came Remi Allen who has already integrated well as seen in the Champions League, Meg Sargeant a very versatile defender from Lincoln via Chelsea for a couple of games in the Mobcast Cup, Welsh International Hannah Keryakoplis and 2 youngsters Sophie Baggaley in goal and 16 years old Jess Carter.

As seen in the Champions League tie, Birmingham City will mix a solid  and compact defending base with the technical skill and pace from the forwards. Obviously, the squad is quite young with not many players aged 25 years old or more, they might lack experience in certain games although the huge majority of the squad has U17 to senior international caps and therefore have international knowledge.

I believe mid table will be reached easily by Blues and if a fantastic and exeptional performance can be achieved over 2 legs a trip to Lisbon might become a reality.


In 5 : Remi Allen ( Lincoln Ladies), Hannah Keryakoplis (Stoke ), Meghan Sargeant ( Lincoln Ladies ), Jess Carter (CoE), Sophie Baggaley (Reserves)

Out 5 :  Rachel Williams ( Chelsea Ladies), Laura Bassett ( Chelsea Ladies ), Rachel Unitt ( Notts County Ladies), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City Ladies), Mary Earps ( Bristol Academy)

Arsenal LFC v Birmingham City LFC, UEFA WCL quarter finals second leg

A well deserved and logical win for Birmingham yesterday. 2-0 and 3-0 on aggregate says it all. Goals by Kirsty Linnett and Remi Allen, both of them coming from quality individual and team play.

Shelley Kerr had decided to keep the faith in the same 11 that failed to produce a shoot on target on Monday at St Andrews. There was certainly an improvement as Rebecca Spencer had to make a good number of saves including a vital one from Ohno when the score was still 0-0. Still no goals to show for and an obvious lack of right winger in the squad as Dan Carter seem quite frustrated on the wing.

The front 3 of Carter, Smith and Yankey tried to create things and they combined with the 2 attacking midfielders Ohno and Weir to make things happen. Birmingham well drilled and organised defensive block did a great job overall and Arsenal rarely managed to get behind the Blues defense.

To be fair when you are rebuilding a team : the team passing & movement and the overall attacking organisation takes time to mature. Players need to know each other and out of the 5 forwards involved only Yankey and Carter had played together last season on a regular basis.

So the fact that an attacking team in transition was beaten by a superior organised team was only a half surprise. Birmingham had 9 players from last season starting again. Remi Allen and 16 years old Jess Carter being the newbies and already fully integrated.

The only good bit of news yesterday for the Arsenal was the 1st team debut for 17 years old Leah Williamson and also one rare appearance for homegrown and 20 years old with 10 seasons at Arsenal Bianca Bragg. Also an excellent second half performance by Freda Ayisi

Tyreso FF and its all star Swedish/Brazilian/Spanish/American line-up awaits now and it will be certainly a very good test for the young Birmingham team.

As for the Arsenal : a potential banana skin in the FA Cup at home to Gillingham after the international break and then a very tough opener away at Notts County are the first 2 fixtures for the domestic season.

There is no doubt that the players need to learn to play with each other otherwise a bottom half finish in the FA WSL table might be a possibility. Jordan Nobbs return will certainly boost the attack when she is fit in a month or two.

Birmingham v Arsenal, Champions League quarter final 1st leg preview

The Champions League tie will be the first official game for both side for the 2014 season. Pre-season friendlies have not given much indications as both teams have played behind closed door games and therefore not much information is available.

Birmingham have lost Mary Earps recently and Jess Myers is injured so Sophie Baggaley will be Rebecca Spencer’s back up. Jordan Nobbs has a back injury and Christie Murray is cup tied for Arsenal, which means the midfield options are limited. Other players also were carrying knocks / coming back from injury : Smith, Stoney and Hoogendjiik. Fahey is back from her ACL and has not played an official  game since last May.

Possible 11 for Blues

Spencer, Weston Westwood Harrop Sargeant, Moore Potter Allen,  Carney Linnett Lawley

Subs from Baggaley, Mannion, George, Torkildsen, J Carter, Simpkins, Keryakoplis, Haines, Wilkinson

Possible 11 for the Gunners

Byrne, Scott Stoney Hoogendjiik Mitchell, Bailey Weir Ohno , D Carter Smith Yankey,

Subs from Chamberlain, Fahey, Williamson, Kinga, Bragg, Ayisi, Robe, Humphrey, Steele, Oliver, Bartrip, Sampson

Blues have the home davantage and also the fact that 9 or 10 out of the possible starting 11 were there last season, while Arsenal will have a much changed side from last year.

Blues are therefore favorite to win the game on Monday as they could catch an Arsenal side still in process of gelling on and off the pitch.

As usual in any game, one of the key will be the midfield area and who will win that battle. While Jo Potter and Jade Moore have a lot of hours together, the Arsenal midfield won’t have much time together besides the friendly games unless Shelley Kerr plays Bailey and Weir with Ohno in front of the 2 youngsters. Bailey and Weir have played many games with the development side since September. Remi Allen or Jess Carter will also add some bite in midfield should they get selected. Arsenal could also select Fahey or Kinga to play in front of the back 4, Fahey played there in 2011 against Lyon and Chelsea in the FA WSL opener.

If we look at what will happen on the wings, Yankey v Weston will be a good battle, same with Carney v Mitchell and Lawley v Scott. Whoever wins those battle will surely make a decisive contribution in the game. Not sure who will play on the right wing for Arsenal on Monday as there are no right winger any more in the squad except Carla Humphrey. Dan Carter or Freda Ayisi should get the nod with Carter the more experienced player in the position.

Up front for Blues Linnett will try to find space behind the Arsenal defence especially the 2 center backs, while Ayisi, Carter or Smith will be using their strength to bring other players in and use the midfield players forwards runs.

Esther Staubli will be  the referee for the game.

Q&A with David Parker Birmingham City Ladies manager about the FA WSL upcoming season

Following my short interviews with Kirsty Linnett and Coral Haines,  here is a Q&A with David Parker, the Birmingham City Ladies manager. The are some very interesting points on the money/foreign players/training time debate. In terms of final table prediction, I expect Birmingham City ladies to achieve mid-table places comfortably.

1.This season seem to be a new era for the WSL  with 5 teams training 4-5 times a week ( Notts County, Arsenal, Man City main players, Liverpool). Do you think the teams that train less often including yours still have a chance to compete against those? 

To be honest I think this aura of full time training is a myth. Its not about just training sessions for the sake of training (sometimes with just a few players in rather than the whole squad) it has to be about the whole package of the day to day contact so every area of the players development in managed by the club, rather than them just turning up to training 1 additional day over ourselves. Personally I think only 1 club has got this right so far and does put them at an advantage.

2. What are the teams’ target for the season 2014 ?

We will always have internal targets at the club that we will keep to ourselves. We know how good our group is where we should be at come the end of the season. For the bookies and general public to label us as relegation favorites definitely adds a little spice for us now to prove them wrong. But overall its all about improving on each campaign which we have done in the last 3 seasons.

3. Liverpool has shown the way last season with more training sessions and importing a good number of foreign players to achieve short term success. It seems that this is the trending model now with many teams importing foreign players. 

There are two sides to this argument. Only the top international players should be targeted to come over and improve our game, I don’t have a problem with this, like the Japanese girls for example. However there have been many cases already of average foreigners coming over and adding nothing to the league then disappearing, this is not positive for our game. They are taking up valuable financial resources and also playing time for our younger generation. Foreign players will always demand a higher financial package then there domestic counterparts. This is taking FA money directly out of the hands of the players they are trying to benefit, our own! I am not comfortable with this what so ever. For example take a player ‘X’ they have played for many years in the old Premier League season on season paying our of their own pocket to fund their passion, then the FAWSL comes along and they earn a little bit of money. Now the league explodes they get a slight increase in wages for playing, still balancing their part time job. A foreigner arrives and becomes a full time pro straight away on 2,3,4,5 times (and the rest!) of their salary. Where is the justice? As a player how would you feel? Especially in a game where financial resources are still tight that one/two/three player(s) are earning astronomical wages compared to the rest of the squad. Its not good for the dressing room.

a) Do you think the new homegrown rule for the FA WSL season is a positive thing. 

It doesn’t go far enough…2 Non-EU players maximum (playing at any one time) plus 50% of the squad to be ‘homegrown’. Really?? anyone can get around these rules… People forget about duel nationality’s etc.

b) Do you think some teams have decided to sacrifice english players development in favour of short term results?

Absolutely! But its not just about that. How about instead of paying a foreigner ridiculous amounts of money, share it around the English girls so they can all have a bit of the pie and all of them can go full time. That was the point of the league in the first place.

4. Considering some teams have probably 3 or 4 times your team’s budget, does the move to the Autotech Stadium opens new business/sponsorship  opportunities to find new income streams to be able to compete in the future  with teams well supported by their men’s side. 

3-4 times our budget!!?? And the rest Sylvain!! Its quite shocking if I could disclose the real figures. We have always been at the bottom of the money table, people didn’t think that when we started but i can tell you we were! We have been constantly over achieving for 3 seasons, people really do seem to forget that. We do have a good business model though that is secure for the future. We need to be realistic and because we are Birmingham City we are not going to be able to complete with a Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, £ for £ because of the men’s side huge resources. But what we can do and always will do is go about things slightly differently. The people we have at this football club is second to none with out a doubt, and this draws every last bit of quality we need to compete. Put it this way we haven’t got to the Champions League q/final without having a little something about us even though we don’t have the money every else does. We have been the 2nd most successful side in the FAWSL era on one of the lowest budgets that says it all really. 

5. Do you use prozone and opta stats with BCLFC ? 

Yes Prozone, it covers far more depth of analysis for the professional market. For example OPTA code around 1800 ball touches a game whereas Prozone covers 2500 plus. I’m pretty familiar with the Prozone gear too…wonder why? ha

Note : David Parker is an account manager at Prozone

Birmingham City Ladies kit launch, part 2, quick interviews with Kirsty Linnett and Coral Haines

First interview was Kirsty Linnett, she came through the ranks at Leicester City, then moved to the Arsenal Academy where she unfortunately suffered two consecutive ACL that kept her out of football for more than 2 years. She then moved to BCLFC in December 2012 and had an excellent FA WSL 2013 season. She was a member of the U17 WC squad that reached the semi-final of the tournament in 2008.

I asked  her about her personal targets for this season 2014 :

Having a good and full season, progress with the team and  being involved hopefully in the international set-up (Kirsty is flying soon  with the U23 for the La Manga tournament ). Champions League is also a massive target with the quarter finals against Arsenal next month.

And in term of goals and assists ? : yes definitely trying to score more goals, feeling a bit  more confortable playing as a 9 as well.

So you think you will play up front and maybe not on the wing, there are 3 center forwards in the squad this season, loads of competition for places ? It is the manager’s decision obviously, we have good wingers like Karen Carney  and Melissa Lawley.

I then interviewed Coral Haines, for those who don’t know BCLFC number 23, she plays in attacking midfield/center forward position, came through the center of excellence and will be 18 in June. She is involved with England U19 managed by Mo Marley

First question again : what are your personal targets for the season ?

I was a squad member last year, so playing more this season. Being a young player, it is difficult to break into the team that we have already , I will defintely try break through  to the starting 11 more often.

In term of the England youth set-up ?

Obviously keep getting called up. My dream is to play at the Euros ( to be played in Norway in June, England have to go throught the Elite round in April). I am going to La Manga in March, it is the start and hopefully I will be chosen for the Euros.

Do you think about the World Cup ? ( The U20 world cup will be played in August in Canada, it is open to the players born in 94 and after)

Hopefully I will get picked for the camp after La Manga, get picked for the Euros, impress there and maybe being picked up for the world cup.