Belfast Telegraph

Wiley backs under-fire Clattenburg

Former Premier League referee Alan Wiley has backed Mark Clattenburg following the controversy over Manchester United's second goal in their win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Nani slotted home a second goal for the home side while Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes looked on, believing he had lined up a free-kick following a handball by the Portugal winger. But Clattenburg allowed the goal to stand as he had not awarded a free-kick, meaning that the ball was active from the moment Gomes had grounded it.

Wiley, who now coaches the 16 select match officials as part of his role with the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), told Radio Five Live: "First and foremost, what we have to remember is that the goal is within the laws of the game. The game hadn't stopped and so, in essence, Mark was right in law."

He added: "You're taught right from the very start that you don't stop until the whistle blows or the ball goes out of play, so in law, the goal is a correct goal."

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp branded the decision as "farcical" and "scandalous" but Wiley, who retired from refereeing in July, also rubbished the theory that Clattenburg should have chalked the goal off on the basis that Tottenham had not received an advantage after the failed penalty appeal by Nani that preceded the incident.

"I'm sure that Mark must have thought at that stage, at 1-0 to Manchester United and Spurs wanting to keep the game going and Gomes had the ball in his hands, that he wanted to keep the game moving.

"The situation is that if you're going to think about bringing it back, for instance if a player is fouled but then he loses his footing and he still can't keep control of the ball, then you can bring it back.

"In that situation there, Gomes has actually got the ball in his hands and has actually still got possession of the ball. What he then does after that is nothing to do with the referee. If he chose to throw the ball on the ground, that was his choice.

"He didn't throw it there because he lost control of it, so therefore in those circumstances you're probably giving the goalkeeper two bites of the cherry."

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