Call for video decisions after goal blunder

Three of the English Premiership’s leading managers united in a call for the introduction of video technology to help referees after Tottenham were denied victory over Manchester United by an astonishing blunder by officials at Tuesday night’s Premiership match.

Spurs boss Martin Jol was left almost speechless after watching a speculative stoppage-time shot from Pedro Mendes bounce out of United goalkeeper Roy Carroll’s arms and cross the line by almost a metre.

Carroll clawed the ball back into play but even the Northern Ireland international looked shocked when referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on to deny Tottenham what would have been a decisive goal in a match that finished 0-0.

Replays of the incident clearly showed that a goal should have been awarded and Jol reacted by saying the case for using video tape to review such decisions is now unanswerable.

“Before the game we would have taken this result because we had a few key players injured and this was our fourth match in nine days,” Jol said after the match.

“But after the game you have to say that technology needs to be introduced because we feel robbed—and rightly so.”

Even United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Spurs had been dealt a harsh blow.

“It just adds weight to the point about technology being brought in. I don’t think you can blame the referee or the linesman because I wasn’t sure myself that the ball had crossed the line.”

Ferguson said he will back a system where video evidence can be consulted provided it allows for a decision within 30 seconds of an incident taking place.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger weighed into the debate.

“When the whole world apart from the referee has seen there should be a goal at Old Trafford, that just reinforces what I feel—there should be video evidence,” he said.

“It’s a great example of where the referee could have asked to see a replay and would have seen in five seconds that it was a goal.”

Jol refused to condemn the officials for their error.

“It was hard for both the referee and linesman to see what had happened, which makes it even more important for changes to be introduced,” the Dutchman said.

“We talk about new technology all the time but nothing seems to happen, yet it would be so easy to put something there on the line to help the game.

“But I’m pleased with the way we played. We made it difficult for United to score.

“The ball was definitely over the line. I thought it was from where I was standing and I suppose it has cost us the game.

“Looking at the incident now the ball was two feet [60cm] over the line. We are in the year 2005 and shouldn’t have to be having these discussions. Where is the technology?

“I’m proud of my team. We got a point but should have had all three.”

The result left United 11 points adrift of Premiership leaders Chelsea, and Ferguson knows his side face an uphill battle to overhaul their London rivals, not least because Ryan Giggs will miss the next three weeks of the season with a damaged hamstring.

“I sometimes think this is when the season starts in earnest because there is an added pressure as you reach the point of no return,” said Ferguson.

“I think we are better under pressure because there is a great sense of urgency in the team as they realise that they will have to grind out results now.

“It is consistency in terms of results that wins league championships and I’ve told the players this is the most relevant quality now.”—Sapa-AFP

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