Soapbox: a frantic search for excuses

From television coverage in Abu Dhabi, I – along with the commentary team and Dubai-based studio panel – felt Sunderland should have been awarded not one but two penalties. Of the three shouts, the one that Rob Styles gave – surprise, surprise to Liverpool – was the least deserving. Disgraceful refeering, though surely not to make up for past sins against the ‘pool and not, says Pete Sixsmith, why we lost

This morning’s Northern Echo says Howard Webb (a decent referee) was at the Academy last week and went through all of the scenarios that result in Premier League referees awarding penalties.

He made it clear that if a player put his hands up in the box and the ball struck them,

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