Luis Suarez handball: Graham Poll"s verdict

Suarez can't be held responsible for his handball, even if he owned up the ref's call would have stood

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

21:58 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 6 January 2013

Luis Suarez has form when it comes to cheating. But in the latest incident to attract negative headlines the Uruguayan striker was blameless, scoring what proved to be the winner in the FA Cup clash at Mansfield Town.

Handball remains the only offence in law which must be deliberate for a free-kick to be awarded – if the referee sees it.

*LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF SUAREZ'S HANDBALL BELOW AND GRAHAM WILL RESPOND TO THE BEST DEBATED COMMENTS ON MONDAY AFTERNOON

Instinct or intent Luis Suarez handled the ball before he scored for Liverpool

Instinct or intent Luis Suarez handled the ball before he scored for Liverpool

Another view: Suarez bats the ball back into his path before firing it home

Another view: Suarez bats the ball back into his path before firing it home

No chance: Alan Marriott is helpless to prevent Suarez netting the Reds' second of the tie

No chance: Alan Marriott is helpless to prevent Suarez netting the Reds' second of the tie

Rolled in: Suarez tapped the ball into an empty net

Rolled in: Suarez tapped the ball into an empty net

However, there are occasions when the
officials may see a handball they do not believe to be deliberate,
though penalise the offender because they have gained too great an
advantage from the ball hitting the arm.

The Suarez goal was just such an
incident which is why I am sue referee Andre Marriner did not see the
contact, rather than judge it to be accidental. Replays certainly showed
his view was obscured.

To be clear, Suarez sees the ball
rebound from the Mansfield Town goalkeeper, Alan Marriott, and tries to
get his arms out of the way; the ball hits his right arm and drops
kindly for the striker to tap the ball into the empty net.

Complaints: Mansfield players were unhappy with the decision to allow the goal

Complaints: Mansfield players were unhappy with the decision to allow the goal

The celebration, the commonly known
kiss of the wrist, was in no way an indication to opposing fans that he
had cheated, as was asserted by the ESPN commentary team.

Having known he gained from the
handball there have been suggestions that he should have told Marriner,
but I do not believe that would have made any difference – other than to
improve the Uruguayan’s tainted image.

Referees give what they see and stick
with those decisions. The images of Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler asking
Gerald Ashby to change a penalty award at Highbury are still clear – but
the penalty stood.

Trademark: Suarez kissed the inside of his wrist, as he does to celebrate his goals

Trademark: Suarez kissed the inside of his wrist, as he does to celebrate his goals

There was a period when after such
incidents referees in Germany's Bundesliga asked a player if he had
handled the ball. If the player took the opportunity to admit his guilt,
the goal was ruled out.

If, on the other hand, he denied it,
he could be suspended with the use of video evidence. This would not
need a law change to be introduced here – just a change of disciplinary
code from the Football Association.

Perhaps an overspill from his days
playing in Germany, Miroslav Klose did exactly that when playing for
Lazio in Serie A last year. As a result, the referee disallowed the
goal.

Confession time: Miroslav Klose admitted to handling the ball to score during a Serie A match in September, and the referee Luca Banti duly disallowed the goal

Confession time: Miroslav Klose admitted to handling the ball to score during a Serie A match in September, and the referee Luca Banti duly disallowed the goal

There are of course two other
options; Liverpool could have allowed Mansfield to score straight from
the restart, or the referee could have looked at a replay of the
incident.

As neither of those are likely to
happen in the foreseeable future why not allow the offender the option
to confess and improve everyone’s opinion of modern day professional
footballers