Well, we have some clarity over at least one of the controversial penalty decisions in Sunday’s draw between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) group, which oversees Premier League match officials and their decisions, has weighed in on the first penalty, which Jon Moss awarded to Tottenham after Harry Kane was tripped by Loris Karius.
Moss was caught by a TV camera in discussion with the sideline referee’s assistant Eddie Smart discussing whether or not Martin Lovren had deliberately played the ball before the feed to Harry Kane, who was in an offside position at the time.
In the statement, a PGMOL official says that, while Moss’ decision to ask fourth official Martin Atkinson via his radio had seen anything on the TV feed was “misguided” (as officials are not allowed to use television replay or camera angles to to make on-pitch decisions), he never actually heard anything back from Atkinson that would’ve influenced his decision. The PGMOL also upheld the decision to award a penalty to Tottenham, which Harry Kane missed, as the correct one in that situation.
Here’s the statement in full:
News: PGMOL say Liverpool/Spurs ref Moss acknowledges his TV comment was "misguided" but made CORRECT decision on offside/pen pic.twitter.com/U3GvyxK1ca— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 5, 2018
Honestly, I’m still not sure why we’re spending so much time discussing this particular decision. While the issues it brings up regarding the offside rule, its interpretation, and the possible future implementation of VAR are interesting, the fact that Kane missed the penalty makes the whole situation moot. The miss, coupled with the fact that Liverpool used the momentum from a saved penalty to score a few minutes later, means that at worst the decision had very little impact on the course of the match.
In fairness, let’s just say this: the interpretation of Rule 11 of the laws of the game in this particular circumstance is confusing as hell in the best case, and more than a little dumb. It was, however, correctly interpreted by Moss, even if its impact on the match was negligible.
Interestingly, as far as I can tell the PGMOL did NOT weigh in on the second penalty, in which Virgil Van Dijk kicked the back of Erik Lamela’s legs, pretended that he hadn’t, and caused the whole of Liverpool nation to collectively lose their minds in apoplectic rage. To me that ironically implies that this decision was the less controversial of the two and Moss also got this one right, but again, that’s never going to be enough for Liverpool fans who have already decided that this is collusion between Spurs and match officials of the highest order.