It is certainly a whistle that decides the maintenance of a club, the descent of another, but Fos-Provence should never have found itself in this situation. At 67-79, 2 minutes and 20 seconds from the final buzzer, the BYers should never have been reduced to hoping – and obtaining a miracle – on their last throw-in. But their money-time was cataclysmic: bad choices , forced shots, questionable defensive withdrawals, a costly stray ball from Jamar Diggs, a 0/2 from Lasan Kromah on the penalty line 9 seconds from the end at 76-79, the choice not to foul in the stride sanctioned by the ave maria shot of Devin Davis…
0.5 seconds from the siren, Fos-sur-Mer had one foot in Pro B. How can you imagine the southerners winning the extension that was to follow with such dynamics, in the fiery atmosphere of the Cauldron? Impossible. But providence fell on the BYers, a technical foul whistled at Mathieu Wojciechowski. And about sixty kilometers away, in Gravelines, Germain Castano was not taking off.
“You have seen the scenario which is still incredible”, he exclaimed in the columns of La République du Center. “Putting a technical foul 0’5 from the end… I think those referees don’t even know the situation. To whistle, at 0’5 a technical fault, you decide what will happen. Yes, he may have done that, yes… but there… There are people who are going to lose their jobs. So this technical fault, you do not put it. They put a three-point or two-point shot, at 0’5, well done. But you don’t give them a free throw like that to win… […] The guy puts a technical foul at 0’5 when there is extra time to play, let the players decide! Let the players decide who goes down! And if in overtime Fos wins, and then we go down, it’s not the same! It’s dramatic, it’s dramatic. »
Strict application of the rules
So let’s go back in detail to the action at the Cauldron. After Rémi Giuitta’s time-out, Mathieu Wojciechowski prepares to defend on Jamar Diggs’ throw-in. It is he who asks Nicolas Maestre how he should defend. The referee does not tell him once, but twice, which zone he will have to respect. Before giving the ball to the American leader from Fos-Provence, he once again replaces the stellist winger. A system for a DJ Stephens alley-oop is designed but Wojcie will be awarded a technical foul before Diggs’ pass even arrives (or not…) at its destination. The reason ? He bit both feet on the sideline trying to hinder the Minneapolis veteran.
— tom16 (@olbceltics) May 17, 2022
Severe ? The context gives a completely different scope to the whistle but Nicolas Maestre only applied the rules. Articles 17.3.3. and 17.3.4. of the official rules and then paragraph 36-39 of the official interpretations both indicate that a technical foul must be called, “without further warning”, in the event of crossing the touchline. A rule put in place for obviously the voluntary use of this violation, sometimes used by coaches in order to be able to see the opposing system.
So yes, there is the spirit and the letter, we can always wonder about the discernment to be shown in this type of situation but Nicolas Maestre whistled what he was supposed to whistle. Warned several times, Mathieu Wojciechowski committed a fault with consequences that surely never crossed his mind when he jumped, caught in the adrenaline of the match. For Orléans, it is indeed hard to see his descent being sealed on such a stroke of fate, but the Loiret club can always blame only himself for not having been able to do what was necessary during the 33 games. previous ones. And what would Fos-Provence have said if the violation had not been sanctioned? Admittedly, it should have already been seen, this action not being exactly the prototype of a controversy in the opposite direction. But there are referees for that and they have done their job: apply a rule specifically enacted for this case. The law is harsh but it is the law…
Mathieu Wojciechowski explaining what happened to Tadas Pazera
(photo: Pauline Ledez)