“It spoils the fun.” Difficult, Wednesday evening, not to share the analysis of Habib Beye on Canal, who regretted at the end of this very lively Bayern-City that the match had been polluted by more than questionable refereeing decisions. The two penalties whistled by Clément Turpin for really (really) unintentional hands certainly had no influence on the final result, Erling Haaland having had the good idea to miss the one offered in the first period when the score was still 0-0 and that Bayern was doing everything to start the recovery operation, but that should not hide the aberration of the decisions of the French whistle.
As too often since the introduction of VAR, the referee seemed stuck in a regulation and a video support that extinguishes all discernment. We take stock of the criticisms made of Clément Turpin, with Ifab regulations (the International Board in charge of the rules of the game in football) in support.
1- The peno against Bayern Munich
The context : We have just passed the half hour of play, Bayern, who have three goals to come up after the first leg, got two, three big chances to open the scoring and start the comeback operation. It does not pass for the moment but the Bavarians are not yet dead. On a Mancunian incursion into the opposing camp, Gundogan fires a shot that Sommer deflects. Turpin whistles, in general incomprehension. We need slow motion to see that Upemacano deflected the ball with his hand.
The question : Shouldn’t the referee take into account the intention shown by Upamecano to put away his hands as best he can?
The answer : YES. This was precisely the objective of the Ifab when it took care in an update of the regulations in March 2021 to specify in which cases it was necessary to whistle hands in the surface and which ones should not be done. After first recalling that “any contact of a player’s hand or arm with the ball is not an offence”, the Board explained that there is a hand only if the contact is “not justified by the movement of the player’s body for this specific situation”. The French defender couldn’t do much better on the spot.
In addition, referees are now clearly invited to “use their judgment” rather than whistling systematically. Clément Turpin should therefore have taken into account Upamecano’s attitude, the fact that his deviation had no influence on his trajectory and Sommer’s stoppage, and the moment of the match, when there was still one semblance of suspense.
2- The peno against Man City
The context : We play the 80th minute, Bayern have long understood that they will not see the half. On a breakthrough in the corner of the area, Sadio Mané, in a duel with Manuel Akanji, crosses as he can before the ball crosses the line. Clément Turpin designates the corner point, but suddenly asks the shooter to wait. His colleagues in the video truck have reviewed the image and ask him to go check it out for himself. Stuck, the French referee is obliged to award the penalty.
The question : Did the video assistants do the right thing to intervene?
The answer : NO. Ten times no. Once again, the Ifab has clearly specified this in its development. “We insist to the VARs that they must intervene only if a referee has made an obvious error or missed a serious incident. “Failing to whistle on that ball which accidentally lands on the City defender’s hand in the corner of the box cannot be considered a clear mistake. Or as Michael Ballack said on the microphone of DAZN, “if it’s a penalty, we can stop football”.
3- Bonus: The red of Thomas Tuchel
The context : 86th minute, Aymeric Laporte climbs on Kingsley Coman and almost strangles him so as not to let the Frenchman slip away on the counter. Whistled foul, logical yellow for the City defender, but Tuchel comes out of his hinges. It’s not the fault that overwhelms him, but the fact that Ruben Dias went through it to send the ball loiiiiiiiin into the stands to save time after the referee’s whistle. The German enters the field squarely to yell a good shot at Turpin, who responds by sending him to join the ball in the stands.
The question : Did Tuchel deserve to be excluded?
The answer : We love him a lot, but yes, for all of his work. Boosted, the German spent his match yelling at anything that moves like a Marc Madiot watching Thibaut Pinot play for the win at the top of the Tourmalet.