Referee Got Luis Suarez Decision Correct In Awarding Penalty to Liverpool [VIDEO]

The discussion about whether Liverpool should have been awarded a penalty against Aston Villa on Saturday has nothing to do with whether Luis Suarez dived or not, but that’s not what mainstream media want to hear. What the focus should be on is whether referee Jon Moss made a correct decision.

With the aid of TV video replays, a luxury that Moss and his match official colleagues did not have, we can see that the referee made the correct call. Contact was made, albeit minimal. And Suarez played within the rules of the game to earn Liverpool a penalty decision.

But even with the benefit of video replays, there was disagreement among the pundits whether Moss made the correct decision or not. talkSPORT’s Stan Collymore and Sam Matterface were flabbergasted that Moss pointed to the spot, and were adamant that Suarez dived (even after watching several TV replays of the incident). NBC’s Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle disagreed with each other. Meanwhile former referee Dermot Gallagher and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, as well as the Match Of The Day pundits on BBC, agreed it was a definite penalty.

The debate would have continued endlessly if it wasn’t for the footage where we were able to see the incident between Suarez and goalkeeper Brad Guzan magnified to prove that there was the slightest of contact (see video below), which was enough for the striker to go down in the box.

The important thing to consider is that TV video technology is a dangerous tool when placed in the hands of people who aren’t referees. Earle, Gallagher and Rodgers were proven correct in their analysis, but more importantly, the match officials should be given credit for making the correct decision without replays, under pressure and in real time. That’s one topic we’re unlikely to hear in the next 24-48 hours.

Illustration credit: Kieran Carroll.

43 thoughts on “Referee Got Luis Suarez Decision Correct In Awarding Penalty to Liverpool [VIDEO]”

  1. Contact itself does not “prove” it’s a penalty.

    For the sake of the game, we have to stop rewarding strikers for their ingenuity in
    finding the limb of a defender or goalkeeper and then throwing themselves to the ground.

    1. It’s frustrating watching a player thats so talentd and strong on the ball go down at the sight of any contact in the box….

    2. Stephen, the rules of the game state that if a player “trips or attempts to trip an opponent and [the incident] is considered by the referee to be
      careless, reckless or using excessive force,” then it’s a penalty.

      1. What do the rules say about a player leaving a leg out or otherwise looking for contact?

        This is the best view I’ve seen but I still don’t find it conclusive. What is the explanation for why Suarez didn’t put his left foot down?

        I don’t think there was enough contact for him to go to ground.

      2. I just wish football would show a greater instinct for self-preservation.

        Don’t we all agree that diving is a blight on the game?

        When there’s an argument about handball the referee has to ask himself whether it was hand-to-ball or ball-to-hand. Now, when there is “contact” in the penalty-box, they should now be required to ask themselves if the goalkeeper swiped the striker’s legs, or whether the striker deliberately sought out a limb. A tricky task, I agree, but let’s at least acknowledge that the question should be asked.

        Simply yelling “Look! There was contact” just won’t do.

      1. While I know hindsight is 20/20 but It’s clear in every replay Guzan made it around him. His arms were nice and tucked. If anything he might of gotten a bit of Suarez’s heal. But, by then the ball was unplayable and no scoring opportunity was present. It was also clear Guzan made an attempt to avoid fouling the player. He wasn’t careless, wreckless, and no attemt to injure was made… Across the board it was a bad call. The only way to justify it is and is only this. “The speed of the game made it LOOK like Suarez drew contact”…

          1. Diving has become more sophisticated and those that interpret the laws of the game have to keep pace to prevent forward play becoming a simple diving competition.

            You say that Guzan’s right knee made contact with Suarez’s right foot, but this is like a person who has thrown a punch claiming his fist was assaulted by a chin.

            I’m not interested in the “Is Suarez the biggest cheat in the premier league?” debate. Mostly this sort of cheating passes without comment. Altidore dived a penalty for Sunderland last week and it wasn’t even remarked upon.

            If we follow Shearer’s line and argue that “the goalkeeper was asking for trouble” and say “the forward was entitled to go down” then we’ll get more of the same. I can well understand how difficult it is for the referee to make a judgment in real time with a limited view, but, for pity’s sake, pundits with the benefit of replay technology should know better.

            1. Stephen, who do you trust? Is Jon Moss, Dermot Gallagher, Robbie Earle, Gary Lineker, Danny Mills and Alan Shearer correct in saying that it was a penalty? Or do you believe Stan Collymore, Sam Matterface, Lee Dixon and Robbie Mustoe? What ex-referee or trusted pundit said it shouldn’t have been a penalty?

          2. Sorry Stephen but the game hasn’t changed and with the way certain people go on about incidents like this you’d think this was a new game and it’s being severely damaged.

            We’ve played football over here long before the Premier League and it was the same back then.

            People are only getting on their soapbox because it was Suarez and that’s the bottom line. If a player does it next week, I’ll be surprised if it gets a mention.

            And re all these nonsense posts about contact or no contact. “OR ATTEMPTS TO” is applicable in FIFA law. Contact or no contact… “or attempts to” is a pivotal part of the rulebook.

            1. Agreed Paul. Here’s what Nick Geber said about the incident:

              “Sorry, if it was any player other than Luis Suarez we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Too many people quick to project their dislike of LFC onto Suarez. Yet almost every one of them would love him on their team.”

          3. If it was any other player than Suarez we wouldn’t be talking about this? How about when it was Junazzi a couple months ago, or Ashley Youg, or Gareth Bale last season? Could it possibly be Liverpool fan boys just being dismissive because they’re over defensive about their biter?

  2. There is no contact.
    What is clear is that Suarez moves the ball to his left but does he move left to go for it? No, he moves his body to the right and dives.
    The writer here needs to get glasses and learn the rules.

  3. Before you boldly state to people “to know the rules”. note that ex-refs who are used by the media, for just such a ‘know the rules’ instance agree that it was a penalty.
    Also Patrick argument would make sense if Guzan had seen a red “He wasn’t careless, wreckless, and no attemt to injure was made”, that has nothing to do with if it is a penalty.

    1. I think Patrick mentioned “careless, wreckless”, etc. because Christopher mentions it in a previous post.

      Besides, you are the one misunderstanding the rules. “careless, wreckless or using excessive force” have EVERYTHING to do with whether this was a penalty. If any of those 3 criteria are met when a player is tripped, kicked, etc., then it is a foul. Further, if it was “careless”, nothing is left to be done. If it is “wreckless”, a caution is to be given. If it is “using excessive force”, the player is to be sent off.

      Go read the rules. Page 36:

  4. I don’t want to stir up any conspiracy theories and what not, but in my opinion it would appear that the FA want this guy to succeed. They need him to stay in the EPL and shower the stats with goals (with no asterisk next to the goals scored against lower level clubs).

    IF his reform is legitimate and IF he doesn’t do anything stupid between now and May… again, big IF… then it would definitely be a success story about how the FA “handles” their problems.

    In other words. Dive or no dive, the FA wouldn’t do a d@mn thing about it. Sad.

  5. I guess what bugs me about Suarez is the melodrama. It’s true that a lot of players go down very easily in the box. I always shake my head because its silly for these world class athletes to go down when they are lightly touched.

    I mean, if any of us did this in our Sunday league games, we would be mocked for at least a year. Teammates and opposing players would be throwing themselves to the ground left and right just to make fun of us.

    I think what Suarez does wrong is his style of doing this. It’s like he needs to watch some film of himself and work out how to do this in a slightly more manly way.

  6. Directly from FIFA:
    “A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
    of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be
    careless, reckless or using excessive force:
    • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
    • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
    • jumps at an opponent
    • charges an opponent
    • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
    • pushes an opponent
    • tackles an opponent”

    So simply making contact is not enough for a foul to be called, right?

    A typical dive we see is a player gets kicked ever so slightly, then tumbles to the ground. Since the kick was not careless, reckless or using excessive force, the first criteria above fails. Since the player voluntarily fell to the ground, he was not tripped, so the second criteria above fails. The other 5 criteria do not apply here, so there are no grounds for calling a foul.

    Another typical dive we see is a player dragging his foot/leg to force contact. Let’s assume it is indeed enough contact to make the diver stumble or fall. I submit that, in those cases, the defender did not trip the diver, but rather the diver tripped himself up (on the defender’s foot). (If I am sitting in a chair with my legs outstretched and my son intentionally walks into my legs and falls over, would a reasonable person say I tripped him? Of course not. A reasonable person would say my son tripped himself, and on purpose no less.) Additionally, since it is not natural to drag the trailing foot, the diver is the one who is kicking the defender, and has thus committed a foul himself.

    So, now for this Suarez penalty call. Guzan did not kick, attempt to kick, jump at, charge, strike, push or tackle Suarez, or attempt to do any of those things. Guzan seemed to try to avoid tripping Suarez, so “attempts to trip” is off the table. All that is left is “trips”. I think contact was made, but if so, there is no way on earth it was enough contact to make Suarez fall, stumble, go off balance, etc. Suarez was not tripped. He chose to fall. So in this case (as with so many other cases of diving), the contact did not meet any of the requirements for being called a foul. Bad call.

    1. Look closer at the third point, the keeper trips or attempts to trip the striker. Contact was made so the ref made the correct call.

      1. Luis: I think you mean the second bullet point, as that’s the one that references tripping. And I did not miss that point at all. Read my last paragraph again.

        How hard is it to understand that “contact was made” does not automatically mean “a player was tripped”?

    2. At last.

      Now will all those who simply fixate on whether or not there was contact please realise that this misses the point.

  7. “Suarez played within the rules of the game to earn Liverpool a penalty decision.”

    I’m glad I only visit this site to occasionally check the TV Schedule because this is embarrassing. Just say you have a bias as a LFC supporter and the club got away with one. It’s not that difficult. He was looking for contact and drove to the turf. Not much different than Oscar against Southampton a few weeks ago.

    1. It’s garbage posts like this that prove the point perfectly how some people just have no idea what they’re talking about… and yet go ahead anyway!

      The writer of this piece is a lifelong Swansea supporter if I’m not mistaken, so there’s certainly no Liverpool bias there.

      I could have argued that he was quick enough to get the first video up to create a stir moments after the incident happened. Does that mean that he’s got an anti-Liverpool agenda? Or does it mean he’s just trying to create a stir and debate on his site? Not everything has to have a hidden agenda pal.

  8. agree. Chelsea champions. this web again showing pro- liverbool. as mourinho said all the media dominated by ex liverbool players. This is beyound limit! And i can’t beleive “gaffer” such a respected person in this site said this was penalty may be it was saturday night he might had little juice!

  9. Well, let’s face it, he DID have lessons from the best diver in English football over the last decade ……

    Just look at dives 3 and 5 and see the similarity !! In fact, in the words of the author, “if there is contact then it is a penalty”! Even, that is, when the player going down kicks out at the keeper, like dive 3 ?!

  10. Guzan made the decision to slide toward Suarez (on the wet pitch) which put him at an automatic disadvantage. No striker would have jumped out the way so contact or not, at first glance, it’s a penalty. That’s all the referee gets. Suarez got his fair share of non-calls during the game anyway. Some of which were definite fouls.

  11. Additionally, recent debate of wanting referees to give post game explanations of their ‘calls’ should be put to rest solely with this incident. Imagine the incredible backlash any ref would get if he said “after looking at video, I now see it wasn’t a foul.” Accusations would run rampant if refs gave explanations that they made a mistake. Half the league refs probably wouldn’t have give a penalty.

  12. Why can’t the haters of LFC just revel in the fact that the draw indicates that Liverpool has no shot at the EPL title and is a questionable team for the Champions League?

  13. I play football regularly (albeit not professionally) & that amount of contact wouldnt knock me over. In fact youd be laughed at if you went down from that in a game. Football is a contact sport and to me thats a dive. Its within the rules etc but come on. He feels the touch and throws himself. In my opinion thats a dive but I can see both arguments. However what about the racial abuse Collymore got from the so called Liverpool fans on twitter just coz he called it a dive.. never seen him get so much racial abuse (and normally he gets a lot).. I dislike Collymore but no one deserves that abuse. Disgraceful behaviour

  14. Gary Neville just said his piece on the ‘incident’ on MNF. To cut a long story short… he’s in agreement with everybody else that Suarez was in the right.

    You might want to find a video of it to share.

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