The rule book can’t cover everything so sometimes officials have to think on their feet, resulting in such harsh but funny refereeing decisions as these.
There’s been a bit of a spate of them recently, so now seems like a good time to round up some of the best in recent memory.
Whether it be sense of humour failure or genuine case of human error, there’s something wildly entertaining about this phenomenon.
You might question the wisdom of the following harsh but funny refereeing decisions:
Player booked for showboating
Baroka’s Sipho Moeti was shown a yellow card for these bizarre rubber-legged antics:
Player booked for twerking
Clearly the referee in question was not a fan:
Penalty given for tangled laces
Florida Gators v Alabama Crimson Tide descended into farce when the referee awarded a spot-kick for this unusual coming-together.
Both players were felled in the incident, but the ref somehow interpreted it as a foul by the defending player:
Neymar sent off for wearing mask of his own face
The Barcelona star put it on – upside down, at that – and was shown a second yellow for his frivolity:
Player sent off for rugby-tackling ‘streaker’
Dorchester Town player-manager Ashley Vickers was shown red for bringing down a mankini-clad pitch invader during a match against Havant & Waterlooville.
He told the Dorset Echo:
I’m dumbfounded and speechless. I thought I was doing them a favour. The ref lost the game after that and he knew he had made a great error.
Penalty awarded for ghost tackle
There are harsh penalty decisions, and then there’s this. Just what did the referee think he’d seen?
Paul Gascoigne booked for booking referee
Playing for Rangers in a 1995 match against Hibs, Gazza playfully trotted up to ref Dougie Smith and showed him the yellow card he’d dropped.
Failing to see the funny side, Smith promptly turned the decision back on Gazza:
Team awarded free-kick for opposition goalkeeper’s untied laces
In Saudi Arabia, Al Nahdha goalkeeper Taisir Al Antaif was about to take a goal kick when he noticed his lace was untied.
It’s not easy tying laces with goalie gloves on, so Al Ittihad striker Jobson helped him out before the two exchanged high fives.
So far, nice show of sportsmanship – but the ref decided Al Antaif had taken too long and awarded Al Ittihad an indirect free-kick.
They refused to take advantage of this, kicking the ball out of play in a further gesture of sportsmanship, and the game went on to end 4-4.
And one more…
Unfortunately there’s no video footage for this one, but it’s certainly worthy of inclusion:
Referee has lost the plot and abandoned the game because of constant moaning from a fan.
— Edgware Town FC (@EdgwareTownFC) October 29, 2016