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-= The Tributes of KEN ASTON MBE
“Judge, Jury and…”
By… Ken Aston MBE
|Have you ever served on the jury in a criminal trial? If you have,
then you will remember how strongly you were reminded by the defending
advocate that you had to be sure "beyond reasonable doubt" of the
defendant's guilt before bringing in a guilty verdict. In summing up,
the judge would have directed you in the same way as a matter of law.
In considering the verdict, you would have reviewed all the evidence - mostly verbal - that was presented to you. One particularly important factor in the case would have been the motive for the alleged crime. That might be easy in the case of robbery, burglary, or fraud. But it might not be so easy sometimes in a case of murder.
You probably watched a number of matches in World Cup '98. Having read the above, how did you like some of the penalty calls? Not a lot? I do not propose to pinpoint matches or referees (for you can do that for yourself, if you wish), with the exception of Call No.1, which I liked - but very little!
An attacker in a general penalty area shot the ball towards goal. A defender two or three yards in front of him reached very quickly indeed and withdrew his hand and arm away from the ball, which nevertheless struck him on the arm. Penalty called, but no yellow or red card! It was impossible to attribute either motive or intent to the defender, yet the resulting penalty kick was crucial in the result of the game.
Call No.2 disturbed me a little. The ball was loose and running just wide of the goal, with the attacker chasing it and the keeper coming out for it. The keeper dove at the ball - which suddenly wasn't there, for the attacker had gotten there first and kicked it. The keeper's hands, now motionless at the conclusion of his dive for the ball, tangled with the attacker's leg and the attacker fell down. Penalty kick and yellow card for the keeper…and another crucial goal.
If I were not so old and creaky, my dear colleagues, I would go down on my bended knees and beg you: "Please don't call a penalty when you think it's a penalty - only call it when you know it!"
Reprinted by permission from... American Youth Soccer Organization.
Article appeared in their... Fall 1998 "In Play" publication.
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