Manchester – Arsenal. Controversy over an established goal

In the 13th minute the players of Arsenal took a corner kick. The football was crossed into the penalty area, and there the goalkeeper fell to the ground. The game continued and as the ball was in front of the “sixteen”, Emile Smith Rowe fired an empty shot to score the goal 1-0. Experienced referee Martin Atkinson, just as the ball entered the net, whistled an offense on de Gea and refused the goal.

As the repetitions showed, the referee’s decision was wrong, because it was Fred, a teammate of the Spanish goalkeeper, who stepped on his leg and caused his fall. Therefore, after consulting with the VAR judges, the decision was changed and the goal was eventually awarded, which is the correct decision. If the referee had called the offense before the ball had entered the net, the ball would have been mustard after dinner and VAR couldn’t help at all.

Many people wonder if the referee should stop the game when he sees the goalkeeper lying on the ground. The situation is unusual, so let’s take a look at the rules of the game which determine when to stop play when an injury occurs. In the fifth article there is a comprehensive record of what to do when a player is injured.

If a player is slightly injured, the referee shall stop play as soon as the ball goes out of play. However, if it is a serious injury, you should stop the game immediately and call for help. The problem is on what basis the referee is to judge from the pitch, what kind of injury it is – especially in times when players often add from themselves. Therefore, it is often stretched by arbitrators and often has nothing to do with the theory. Returning to our situation, the rules of the game do not contain any reference to a lying goalkeeper, so referee Atkinson did the right thing by not interrupting the game.

As already mentioned, the above notation is a theory that often has nothing to do with practice. The referees, for their own safety, wanting to avoid unnecessary controversy when they see the goalkeeper lying down, stop the game to check what is happening. In this case, however, Arsenal was still in offensive action. Therefore, it is good that the referee did not interrupt the game on seeing the Manchester goalkeeper lying down and waited until the ball entered the goal.

In the 67th minute, at 2-2, Sancho passed the ball to Fred, who was running into the penalty area, and when it seemed that a dangerous action would take place, the Brazilian was attacked by Martin Ødegaard and the action was over. Martin Atkinson found no fault and ordered the game to continue. About half a minute later, he paused in the middle of the field, made a television gesture, and ran to the VAR monitor. The repetitions did not give any illusions. The Arsenal midfielder, while sliding, missed the ball, but simply crashed into Fred’s big leg, for which a penalty kick had to be awarded. This is what the referee did, and Cristiano Ronaldo turned “eleven” into a goal.


About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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