Monday, November 1, 2010

Under-fire Nani goal ref backed

Nani handles the ball
Nani's goal made it 2-0 to Manchester United

Ex-Premier League referee Alan Wiley has backed under-fire Mark Clattenburg following Nani's disputed goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Tottenham.

Manchester United's Nani slotted past Heurelho Gomes, with the Spurs keeper looking on, believing he had lined up a free-kick after the winger's handball.

Referee Clattenburg allowed the goal as he had not awarded Spurs a free-kick.

"What we have to remember is that the goal is within the laws of the game," Wiley told BBC Radio 5 live.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp branded the decision "farcical" and "scandalous" and could now face a Football Association charge for his post-match comments.

"The whole thing was a farce," said Redknapp after Saturday's 2-0 defeat. "It was handball. Nani put his hand on it and dragged it down.

"Mark Clattenburg is a top referee but he has had a nightmare with that."

But Wiley, who now coaches the 16 select match officials as part of his role with the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), has given Clattenburg his support.


"The game hadn't stopped and so, in essence, Mark was right in law," Wiley added.

"You're taught right from the very start that you don't stop until the whistle blows or the ball goes out of play, so in law, the goal is a correct goal."

Wiley, who retired from refereeing in July, also rubbished the theory that Clattenburg should have disallowed the goal on the basis that Tottenham had not received an advantage after Nani's handball that preceded the incident.

"I'm sure that Mark must have thought at that stage, at 1-0 to Manchester United and Spurs wanting to keep the game going and Gomes had the ball in his hands, that he wanted to keep the game moving," Wiley continued.

Rednapp blasts 'farcical' Man Utd goal

"The situation is that if you're going to think about bringing it back, for instance if a player is fouled but then he loses his footing and he still can't keep control of the ball, then you can bring it back.

"In that situation there, Gomes has actually got the ball in his hands and has actually still got possession of the ball.

"What he then does after that is nothing to do with the referee. If he chose to throw the ball on the ground, that was his choice. He didn't throw it there because he lost control of it, so therefore in those circumstances you're probably giving the goalkeeper two bites of the cherry."

At full-time on Saturday, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said his belief that the officials were not to blame.

"You can look at the referee and look at the linesmen and blame them, but the goalkeeper should know better. He's an experienced goalkeeper. I thought he made a mess of it," Ferguson commented after seeing his men keep up the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Tottenham were also unhappy that while their players were waved away by Clattenburg as he spoke to his assistant about the incident at Old Trafford, United defender Rio Ferdinand was not.

Mark Clattenburg
Clattenburg came under fire following Saturday's controversial goal

And while Wiley conceded that Clattenburg should have also sent Ferdinand away, he did not believe the England skipper's presence had any impact on the decision.

"If you watch it again, although Rio Ferdinand is having a say, if you watch the actual conversations between the referee and the assistant, they almost blanked Rio Ferdinand out," Wiley added.

"I suppose in hindsight if Mark looks at that again he would have probably moved Ferdinand away as well."

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