A Referee Analysis – Mete Kalkavan

Author: . Published: at 10:38pm

It’s great to be back writing for The West Ham Way, after some very promising signs from the English FA representatives at the European Championships, I hope to see improved decision making by referees this season in the Premier League. I’ve mentioned in The West Ham Way’s June fanzine that there are some big changes to the Laws of the Game which will definitely be interesting for next season. With the club going in the right direction, a 7th place finish and an emotional farewell to the Boleyn Ground. We enter a very exciting period in the club’s history and potentially bring Europa League group stage football to the Olympic Stadium this season. Our European adventure starts against NK Domžale in Slovenia and this is the first meeting between the Slovenian and English club. Mete Kalkavan from Istanbul, Turkey is the referee in the middle for this 3rd Round Europa League 1st leg tie.
What a very interesting first half! Looking at the challenges by NK Domžale, I thought I was watching a different sport with some of them being very questionable and unnecessary with some even going unpunished. Andy Carroll was the most fouled player in the first half and the first caution of the game went to the NK Domžale centre-back for pulling Carroll down outside the box. I must mention that the International Football Association Board (IFAB) want to crack down on “intolerable behaviour” by the players. Running to contest decisions, arguing face-to-face with officials, and “visibly disrespectful” actions will result in yellow cards and if this was a Premier League game, Carroll will needs to control his reaction after protesting with the assistant referee. The biggest talking point of the half was the harsh penalty awarded to NK Domžale  Antonio lost the ball deep inside the NK Domžale half and after a very good counter attack, the NK Domžale striker dummied and his shot grazed between Håvard Nordtveit’s arm and rib cage. The Turkish referee pointed to the spot but I feel this is a very harsh decision. Having said that, I think the motion of Nordtveit’s arm toward the ball made up referee’s mind and deemed it as intentional handball. Regardless, in my opinion there was no obvious intent to stop/interfere with an attack, the one thing the referee did get correct was to only punish Nordtveit was a caution, and not to send off the Norwegian. The law for Denying an Obvious Goalscoring Opportunity has changed and does not always warrant in a red card. Players committing accidental fouls that deny goal-scoring opportunities in the penalty area will not be automatically sent off, with a yellow card sufficient punishment. The Turkish referee also awarded West Ham a penalty in the first half and this decision I do agree with. Andy Carroll sent the ball back in the box in the direction of Winston Reid after NK Domžale half cleared the danger. Reid won the ball in the air before the NK Domžale goalkeeper came steaming out and clattering the Kiwi international. The referee was correct to award the penalty on this occasion after a reckless challenge by the young goalkeeper.
The second half seemed more calm than the first half with a couple of NK Domžale players getting over enthusiastic in some of their attempts to win the ball back. NK Domžale’s Horvat was the only player cautioned in the second half, the NK Domžale player went into the Turkish referee’s note book after a series of fouls topped off by pulling Pedro Obiang after a promising counter attack. Apart from that, no big talking points to highlight but overall it wasn’t a great performance by the referee. 
Overall, a nervy refereeing performance by Mete Kalkavan, it didnt look like he was confident and convinced with his own decision making, especially after awarding that very questionable penalty to NK Domžale in the first half. It’s now all to play for next Thursday in our first competitive game at the Olympic Stadium. We go with an away goal and Adrian single handily saved us from even more embarrassment. With a lot of the first time available and a strong squad, we did miss that cutting edge especially with Antonio looking a little loss. We definitely need to turn this around and hope Slav and the team pull together and get a result. Throughout the season, I will be giving my opinion on decision making by referees and analysis for The West Ham Way for as many West Ham games I can, you can follow me on Twitter @SamRoyden and tweet me using the hashtag #TWHWRef


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