3 refereeing decisions in the English Premier League that left football fans baffled
The English Premier League is one of the most competitive football leagues globally. Thousands of Kenyan football enthusiasts are deeply in love with the high-tempo and ultra-entertaining dish of football the English Premier League presents. Every weekend, we eagerly savor our favorite teams playing, watching out for what the fiery likes of Haaland and De Bruyne would do.
Inevitably, bookmakers have also enhanced the appeal of the Premier League. Some of the finest bookies like SportPesa provide remarkably profitable markets on English Premier League fixtures, with the SportPesa Kenyan app – visit site to download – a favorite among Kenyan punters.
It goes without saying that the English Premier League hoards some of the most elite footballers and referees the game has. Unfortunately, there have been several controversial refereeing decisions that have divided fans, causing unending debates.
This article discusses three such controversial refereeing decisions in the English Premier League.
Michael Olivier No Red Card Liverpool Vs. Everton, 2020/21 Season
Liverpool was facing off against Everton on October 20, 2020, in a regularly heated Merseyside derby. The game’s highlight was the incident between Jordan Pickford and Virgil Van Dijk.
Virgil Van Dijk had wandered into the Toffees penalty area before he fell victim to a wicked tackle from Jordan Pickford. The challenge ruled out Van Dijk for the rest of the season, which had a disastrous effect on Liverpool’s season. What’s more surprising was that Pickford didn’t get any booking for the foul, nor was Liverpool awarded a penalty.
Referee Michael Olivier and VAR adjudge Van Dijk offside in the build-up, nullifying the play. He would later admit after the match that he should’ve sent Pickford off, adding salt to the wound of Liverpool fans. Oliver further explained that he didn’t do so because he focused on the offside instead.
Graham Poll Everton Vs. Liverpool, 1999/2000 Season
Merseyside kickstarted the 21st century with one of the most bizarre controversies in EPL history. The two teams battled it out but couldn’t break the deadlock in a fixture crucial to their respective seasons.
In the last minute of extra time, Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerfield made a horrendous mistake. He hit Don Hutchison with a free-kick, and the ball bounced off into the net. Referee Graham Poll insisted that he had blown the final whistle before Westereid took the free kick instead of awarding the goal.
The Everton players protested and appealed to no avail, and the referee ended the game. He would later admit that the decision was a mistake and the game should’ve stood.
Everton Vs. Bolton “The Goal That Never Was, 1997/98 Season
Bolton Wanderers were playing in their new stadium in front of 23,131 fans. Expectations were high, and the two teams battled fair until disaster struck Bolton. The club’s then-record signing from Newcastle United, Robbie Elliot, was on the receiving end of a season-ending tackle from midfielder Tony Thomas.
However, the horrendous refereeing of the night would overshadow the incident. It started when Alan Thompson made a fine cross which defender Gerry Taggart helped towards the goal. Bolton players were already celebrating the goal, only for the referee to cancel it, claiming that the ball didn’t cross the line.
Nani Illegal Cheek-in Vs. Tottenham, 2010/11 Season.
Next is a goal many consider one of the most bizarre in the league’s history. It involves two familiar foes, Manchester United and Tottenham.
The two sides met in a seemingly regular EPL game in 2010. Everything was going well until Nani went down in the penalty box after minimal contact from defender Kaboul. Referee Mark Clattenburg ignored the penalty appeal and waved play on, unaware that Nani had handled the ball during his fall.
An innocent Heurelho Gomes (Spurs goalkeeper) kept the ball to play a free-kick for the handball without hearing the referees’ whistle. Nani kicked the ball into the goal before Gomes could react, and the referee awarded a goal to Manchester United.
Spurs appealed for a review to no avail, and the goal stood.
These decisions remain contested to this day. Football enthusiasts continue to be split over their legitimacy.