Thu. Mar 4th, 2021

Man Utd

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Why referee checked monitor for Man United penalty despite Maguire being offside

2 min read

Harry Maguire’s position on the pitch – offside or not – would not have mattered had referee Craig Pawson decided to stick with his original decision to award Manchester United a penalty against West Brom.

With the scores level at 1-1, Maguire went down in the box under a challenge from Semi Ajayi as he vied to get on the end of a free-kick in the second half.

Pawson pointed to the spot before overturning his decision after re-watching the incident on a pitchside monitor. Viewers, pundits and even former referees were left confused by the sequence of events, with many believing the fact that Maguire was in an offside position in the first place should’ve rendered whether Ajayi had fouled him or not irrelevant.

However, FA rules stipulate that because the foul took place before Maguire had played or attempted to play the ball, the penalty would’ve stood had Pawson not deemed himself to have made a clear and obvious error.


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FA rules state: “In a situation where a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence.”

Afterwards, Maguire vented his frustration at the decision and overall process, though admitted that United must do more to win games than rely on refereeing decision.

“I was so certain it was a penalty,” the United captain told Sky Sports.”I don’t understand why he’s been sent to the monitor to check it. I’m goal-side of the defender and I feel a touch on my shoulder, he’s pulling me back and there’s a clip on my heels.

“It’s minimal but it’s a penalty. When he points to the spot you think there’s no chance he overturns it. There are decisions going against us, but we need to do more to win the game. We can’t be reliant on VAR decisions. We huffed and puffed and have to improve.”

Graeme Souness, however, disagreed with Maguire’s assertion that United should’ve had a penalty. He told Sky Sports: “It’s clearly offside, and he goes to ground like he’s been hit by a baseball bat – diving. He said he thinks it’s a penalty, that’s not enough to bring him down. That’s throwing himself to the ground.”

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