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Behind The Whistle: Listen to ref audio from key Championship decisions


Kevin Friend, Select Group 2 referee manager, and EFL referee Matt Donohue review in-game audio from the Championship this season alongside Sky Sports’ David Prutton and explain refereeing decisions using match footage and previously unreleased audio…

Blackburn 0-0 Coventry

INCIDENT: Coventry’s Liam Kitching was sent off for a professional foul on Blackburn striker Sam Gallagher as he was about to go clear of the defence.

Matt Donohue: “Liam Kitching does deny Sam Gallagher an obvious goalscoring opportunity because Gallagher would have been in on goal.

“We’re looking at what other defenders could be covering, the direction the attacker’s going and the distance that he is to goal as to how likely there is going to be an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

“It’s a good decision.”

Middlesbrough 0-2 Stoke

INCIDENT: Middlesbrough defender Paddy McNair receives a yellow card for bringing down Stoke’s Mehdi Leris.

Matt Donohue: “There are differences [to the Kitching red card] in the sense to where the offence took place, what direction the player’s going and the defenders.

“When McNair makes the pull back he’s in a very wide position, and therefore it’s far less likely there’s going to be an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

“Additionally, there is a covering defender moving towards where the challenge is, whereas in the Blackburn clip the defender peels away.”

Birmingham 1-1 Millwall

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Listen to the conversation between officials when Ryan Leonard’s strike for Birmingham against Millwall was disallowed for offside

INCIDENT: Ryan Leonard’s goal was disallowed for Millwall after his volley clipped team-mate Jake Cooper on its way into the net, with Cooper in an offside position.

Kevin Friend: “The assistant referee identifies three players are in an offside position to which the referee then identifies it comes off Cooper’s head.

“When they realise it comes off Cooper’s head and that he’s in an offside position, active and impacts the play so they correctly disallow the goal for offside.”

Watford 1-0 Sunderland

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Watch highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Sunderland

INCIDENT: Sunderland’s Luke O’Nien deliberately handballs to prevent a ball from going over the top in a Watford attack and receives a yellow card.

Kevin Friend: “The question here is whether it’s the denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity. You can quite clearly hear the assistant referee say that it’s a yellow card from his perspective on the line, so he’s got a real good view and depth of vision.

“There’s an element of doubt because the ball’s in the air, he’s not in full control of the ball, and if the ball goes past O’Nien, would the player have control of that ball?

“It’s a yellow card because there’s too many variables into the decision.”

West Brom 0-1 Sunderland

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Take a look at how referees aim to address players respectfully in the EFL on Mic’d Up

INCIDENT: Brandon Thomas-Asante was sent off for West Brom against Sunderland after two bookings in quick succession.

Matt Donohue: “In both challenges everyone expects yellow cards. These fouls are close together and just before half-time, but those factors don’t negate that they’re two reckless challenges and we have to deal with them with yellow cards.”

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