Monday, September 22, 2008

Watford captain calls for replays after phantom goal

Watford captain calls for replays after phantom goal.
Watford captain Jay DeMerit has told Soccerphile only video replays will stop a repeat of the phantom goal 'scored' by Reading on Saturday.

The Hornets were the victims of outrageous fortune in the 13th minute when John Eustace put the ball out of play wide of the post. Working on the advice of assistant Nigel Bannister, referee Stuart Atwell stunned the Vicarage Road crowd and the 22 players, who were running back in expectation of a goal kick, by signalling a goal.

Watford fought back to lead 2-1 before Reading truly stole the points with an 87th-minute penalty. While the refereeing body, the Professional Game Match Officials Board, today confirmed a mistake had been made, the phantom goal still stands and Watford remain victims of a shocking miscarriage of justice.

Hornets skipper Jay DeMerit spoke to Soccerphile and admitted it is tough accepting such a blatant mistake by the officials.

"It was an unbelievable call," said DeMerit. "It was all so confusing and frustrating. The Reading player kicked it back from across the line but why would he have done that if they had scored? The linesman would have been down that corner and right in line with the play, so obviously he would have seen if the ball had gone over the line."

The absurdity of the decision, which Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd likened to a UFO landing at Vicarage Road, adds more weight to calls for video replays in football.
"I have always been in favor of video replays, said DeMerit, who hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin, a stronghold of the NFL, where replays are part of the game.
"The game gets stopped all the time and it doesn’t take that long to see if you’ve made the right decision or not. Or you can even do as the NFL does and have an allocated number of times you can do that. Or, you can waste a couple of minutes arguing instead. And how much time does it take to use the technology? Not that much when goals are critical. For goal-line decisions at least there should be TV replays, to help the officials."

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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