Liverpool won the Community Shield final 3-1 against Manchester City on Saturday at the King Power Stadium, Darwin Nunez won Liverpool a controversial penalty after Craig Pawson consulted with VAR. An Ex-Premier League referee believes this was in fact the wrong call.
During Liverpool’s win over City, Nunez attempted a close-range header which struck the hand of midfielder Rodri, although play continued referee Pawson eventually consulted with VAR once the ball went out of play at the other end of the field.
The penalty was awarded after a long deliberation by officials and Mohammed Salah converted the spot kick in the 83rd minute to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead with seven minutes to play.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett believes the officials on the day got the decision wrong saying “I think it’s a tough call,
“What’s important this year is that the Premier League, through the PGMOL, in the close season have hopefully talked to match officials to get a more consistent understanding of what handball is and how they are going to punish it.
“In a way, the whole discussion centers around this making the body larger. We’ve also got to take into account that arm movement is linked to body movement when players are trying to get to the ball.
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“What disappoints me is that there isn’t an emphasis in law and referee’s interpretation on the word deliberate. Can we say that handball was deliberate?”
Hackett then went on to say he believes Rodri’s arm position was natural, therefore not a penalty “You want to see some movement, you want to see that body extension. For me, this appeared to be a natural play by the defender with no intention of handling the ball.
“I think the ball struck him, I don’t think his arm was out deliberately to stop the ball or in an unnatural position. Therefore, for me, I don’t support the decision of a handball.
“This coming season we’ve got to get a greater clarification and consistency on handball. On this one, I’m going with Craig Pawson’s initial decision. I think VAR has gone hunting.
“I think the penalty kick was harsh and this highlights the dilemma that referees have got until the guy at the top gives a very clear brief on what is going to be punished and what is not going to be punished.”
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