LONDON - Referee Stuart Attwell's decision
to allow Dirk Kuyt's controversial opening goal to stand in
Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Sunderland on Saturday has been deemed
the correct decision by the Premier League.
Liverpool's first goal after six minutes brought howls of
protest from the visitors after the referee adjudged Sunderland
defender Michael Turner had taken a free-kick when he backheeled
the ball towards goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
The centre-back gifted the ball to Fernando Torres who ran
through the Sunderland defence and set up Kuyt to score.
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It was unclear if Turner had deliberately taken the free-kick
or just knocked the ball back for Mignolet to take it but
Attwell, who did not see Turner backheel the ball, allowed the
goal to stand after consulting his linesman.
"When the first goal went in, everyone in the ground knew
the free-kick hadn't been taken," disappointed Sunderland manager
Steve Bruce told the club's website.
However, the Premier League's Professional Game Match
Officials (PGMO) board later reviewed the goal and said in a
statement that "the correct decisions were made".
"According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game
for any infringement the referee is required to 'indicate the
restart of the match'," it said.
"In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate
for the restart by gesturing to players to take the kick. These
gestures can be minimal... there is no requirement by Law to use
the whistle to make the indication.
"The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So,
in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it was kicked by a
"Also, the Laws state that the free-kick must be taken from
the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case,
the referee correctly determined that the free-kick was played
from the right place."
Two goals from England striker Darren Bent had later given
Sunderland the lead before Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard
grabbed a 64th minute equaliser for the hosts.
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said the referee was right to
allow Kuyt's goal to stand.
"I thought it was a good bit of quick thinking from Torres
and Kuyt," Hodgson told the club website.
"I don't think the first goal should have been ruled out."
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