05 September 2007

Well, this might explain it…

If you’re at all like me, you've probably wondered why Peter Crouch is whistled for fouls far more often in Europe than in the Premier League.

World Cup refs 'targeted Crouch'

Former referee Graham Poll says officials at last summer's World Cup were encouraged by Fifa to "look out for" England striker Peter Crouch.

Crouch, 26, is banned for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel on Saturday and Poll says that is no surprise.

He told BBC 5live: "Fifa's head of refereeing said, 'look at Crouch, he's a pain and he gets away with a lot. We need to mark him out and look for him'.

"We were shown videos of him. I tried to defend him, being English."

"We had been out there for two or three weeks before, and it was pointed out the way he used his arms.

"Now, Crouch has been picking up cautions in qualifying and is out of Saturday's match."

Would this be the same World Cup where the same head of refereeing (Jose-Maria Garcia Aranda) wrote about “proactive refereeing” beforehand and there were a record number of yellow and red cards on display?

I’ve long suspected Crouch was treated differently because of his height, and there have been times where he’s been frustrated straight out of matches.

Maybe this is why he averaged a foul per appearance in the Premier League and nearly double that in the Champions League last season. More tellingly, Crouch committed about twice as many fouls than were committed against him in the Champions League. In the Premiership, more fouls were committed against Crouch than by him. The numbers are even worse in the World Cup, where in 4 games, 13 fouls were committed by Crouch and only 5 fouls were committed on Crouch.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

He uses his height as an advantage to be sure, but the amount of fouls he’s called for in European competition has long been disproportionate and in some cases has bordered on the absurd. And now we’ve got an explanation why.

Seeing as how Crouch looks likely to get most of his time this season in the Champions League, I’d hope that Poll’s comments go some way towards rectifying this.

Also, the irony of Graham Poll criticizing referees for their World Cup performance is utterly delightful.

1 comment:

Anna said...

As soon as some of these referees retire they're everywhere talking this and that. What I'd like to know is why Graham Poll didn't speak out while this was actually going on.

And yes, it is ironic that Poll is the one criticizing referees.