Sunday, 18 October 2009

Sunderland Goal Should Have Been Disallowed Due to “Outside Interference”

During the Sunderland v Liverpool premiership match on 17 October 2009, the only goal scored in that match should not have been allowed, according to the Laws of the Game. In the 5’, Sunderland striker Darren Bent’s shot appeared to be covered by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina but then it deflected off a red beach ball and went in the goal. The referee indicated a goal.

[Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina can only watch as the ball is deflected off the red beach ball and in to his goal]

The real shocker is just how many people (managers, players, commentators, football reporters) revealed their lack of knowledge of the Laws of the Game. During the match, there were no significant protests (largely because players most likely do not have complete knowledge of the Laws). Commentators and sports reporters did not comment whether the goal should have been disallowed. And after the match, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is reported to have said: “It's just one of those things” although, to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce’s credit, he did query whether the goal was legal. Understandably, Bruce and the Sunderland players were happy to be awarded the goal and did not query the referee’s decision during the match.

Ultimately, it is in the opinion of the referee (Mike Jones) during the match that decides whether the goal is allowed or not. Only Mike Jones can explain why, in his opinion, the goal was legal. Looking at the replays, it appears the referee’s view may have been blocked by Liverpool defender Glen Johnson (so let’s wait and see if there will be an explanation). HKRef's guess is that referee Mike Jones will say that, from his angle, he thought Glen Johnson deflected the shot in to his own goal. Meanwhile, the offending red beach ball, which was located exactly 6 yards from the goal line, was knocked off the pitch during the match ball's deflection so the referee probably did not notice that it was an “outside interference” prior to the goal.

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