Graham Poll offers his thoughts on the weekend controversies in each Monday’s Mail. Sometimes we agree, sometimes not. This occasional column will explore those of his verdicts that find us at odds with our own …
Today, Graham Poll insists Kieran Richardson should have been sent off when Phil Dowd awarded the penalty to Liverpool. He mocks the perfectly plausible argument that Suraez, as Dowd saw it, was heading away from goal and may even have pushed the ball too far to be able to control it. He was emphatically not making a simple tour round Mignolet to tap the ball home, much as he may have wished.
And Poll presents no view at all on the charging down by Suarez with his hands when Richardson made his bodged clearance near the halfway live. Had this been in a penalty area, and done by a defender, a penalty would have been a very likely outcome. Instead of being penalised, Suarez was allowed to take full advantage of the ball bouncing from his hands to his feet. He was through.
And Phil Johnson, a regular Salut! Sunderland reader from Thailand, adds these points, each the sort of thing we might hope a man like Poll to address:
Given all of the column inches that have been given to the incident in question I thought that a look at the rules of the game were in order.
Now, in relation to the offence of “Denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity”, which shall result in a red card for the offending player, the criteria are:
1) The direction of the play (more about that later)
2) The location of the foul
3) The proximity of the ball to the player
4) The probability of controlling the ball
5) The location and number of opponents
6) The opportunity for an attempt on goal
Taking these one at a time (returning to number one last) …
2) In the penalty area, but not relevant to the card colour
3) Close enough but again not relevant in this context
4) This is debatable – had Suarez pushed the ball too far ahead, or not?
5) Not relevant
6) Again debatable (See 4)
The killer blow, though, for all those claiming that the card colour should have been red is that “Play MUST be heading towards the offending player’s goal” and this shall override all other considerations!
There is no reference to “goal line or corner flag (where Suarez was heading) ONLY “goal”, which as we all know is the bit in the middle of the goal line and can be clearly identified by posts, crossbar and nets!
I say all (Graham Poll obviously not included) and as an aside when I posted the relevant section of the rule book under comments in the Daily Mail, this appeared about five minutes later: “We’re sorry but reader comments are currently unavailable”.
Over to you Mr Poll (whose book, as shown, can be bought at a bargain price at the usual Amazon link).