Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter has revealed he was ‘amazed’ that Sunderland’s winner against Liverpool on Saturday – which was deflected off a beach ball – was allowed to stand.
The incident occurred when Darren Bent’s shot from inside the penalty area deflected off a large red beach ball to evade Glen Johnson and Pepe Reina’s efforts to stop the strike. The Liverpool keeper was distracted by the original path of the beach ball and got himself in the wrong position to save the shot.
Mike Jones – who was the referee at the time – briefly consulted the assistant referee, but decided to let the goal stand. It ended up being the only goal of the Premier League game as Steve Bruce’s men condemned Liverpool to their fourth defeat of the season.
In the aftermath of the game, there was plenty of discussion as to whether the goal should have stood and former referee Winter believes that it ‘should have been a dropped ball’. He said that the laws of the game ‘clearly state’ that the game should be stopped if there is ‘outside interference’ and this interference clearly affected Liverpool’s betting odds.
He went on to say that it is ‘a basic law in football’ and that he was ‘absolutely amazed’ that such a high-level referee didn’t manage to give the correct decision. Winter also pointed out the fact that everyone is ‘having a laugh and a joke’ about the incident, even though it is ‘far more serious than when a ball crosses the line and somebody doesn’t see it’.
Overall, it is clear to see that Winter believes the wrong decision was made. As for Rafa Benitez, he admitted that the ‘goal changed the game’, while Sunderland boss Steve Bruce said that he thought such a situation was ‘Sod’s Law and you carry on’.