These past few weeks I have been watching the Premier League and it has got me thinking;
Should we introduce the “How’s That?” appeal from cricket into football?
For those of you that are not familiar with cricket, in the laws of the game the bowler or fielders must ‘appeal’ to the umpire to ask if the batsman is out or not.
According to the Laws of Cricket, an umpire may not rule a batsman out unless the fielding side appeals. The appeal is in the form of “How Was That Umpire?”, shortened to “how’s that” and often executed at high volume!
This appeal often follows an incident where by the bowler believes the ball has struck the batsman’s pads in front of the stumps without him hitting it with the bat, and without that the ball would have hit the stumps.
Taking wickets is a crucial part of the game and if the bowler thinks the batsman is out he will appeal. The thought process behind the words “How’s that?” would be something like
“Mr umpire I have bowled the ball which has hit the batsman pads, I don’t believe he hit it with the bat, and what’s more, I think that the ball would hit the stumps and would’ve bowled him, do you agree with me, dear kind Sir?
At which point the umpires though process would be;
“Thank you for asking, let me just check, yes it did hit his pads, and I agree he didn’t hit the ball with the bat before it struck his pads, and yes I also think it would’ve hit the stumps and thus believe the batsman to be out” ( there are some technical bits here why he may not be out, but I’ll leave that for another blog!)
At this point the umpire proceeds to raise his finger to indicate to the batsman that he is out and the batsman quickly walks off!
Now the traditions of the game have evolved and the how’s that appeal has turned into somewhat of a screech to the umpire, sometimes even begging to give the batsman out.
It isn’t always necessary to appeal every time, sometimes the batsman just walks. However the umpire cannot give ANYONE out unless the fielding side appeals.
Hence why it has become a huge part of the game.
Now let’s move onto football and what the game has become. Over the past few weeks, although it has been happening for years, you see more and more players “appealing to the referee” to give decisions.
The last time I looked in football the referee didn’t need to be asked to make a decision on a foul, penalty or sending off, so why all the appealing???
Because it seems as if the referees are responding to the appealing. This weekend it was the second time that Ashley Young of Manchester United was ‘fouled’ in the penalty box and as soon as he went down he looked at the referee saying, in his mind, I think
“Mr Referee I was running into the penalty box and the defender knew he couldn’t catch me or indeed get the ball and proceeded to foul me , which meant that I had no choice but to fall down (well I can’t run or stand with one leg I let you know) do you agree with me and thus award me (sorry us) a penalty?”
What the referee seems to be thinking:
“Thank you Mr Young for asking, yes I did see that you ran into the penalty box with the ball, and yes I agree the defender couldn’t catch you or indeed the ball and did foul you. However I would say he only slightly touched you, but as you so kindly fell so dramatically to help me show he DID touch you, I can deem that a foul and award your team a penalty”
I let you decide whether we should introduce appealing in football!!