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Clattenburg: Both Tottenham Penalties Awarded Wrongly

The Premier League’s former top official says neither Spurs penalty against Liverpool should have been given.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-TOTTENHAM Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

It doesn’t matter whether either was a foul; whether there was contact and whether, if there was, it was enough to bring the attacker down. There’s almost always going to be some subjectivity there. But it doesn’t matter if either was in fact a foul because neither penalty should have been awarded anyhow.

So says the Premier League’s former top official, Mark Clattenburg, pointing to both plays being offside in the buildup to the called penalties and saying that if VAR—video assistant referee—was in place in England, both would have been ruled no penalty on review as a result of that incontrovertible fact.

“The ball is touched by Fernando Llorente and into Erik Lamela, who is fractionally offside,” Clattenburg said of the second incident—that earned Spurs a point. “As we have seen with VAR now, offside is a matter of fact and no benefit is given to the attacking team. Therefore, no penalty should have been allowed.”

As to the first, while there was contact on the ball by Dejan Lovren as it was played to Kane, Clattenburg noted allowing a player in an offside position to collect a ball when it’s played intentionally by a defender—as with a back pass—is different to it being touched in an attempt to stop it being played to an offside player.

Kane was offside. Lovren brushed the ball as he stretched to try to stop it being played to Kane by a Tottenham attacker. His decision was influenced by the player standing offside. Whether Lovren touched it is immaterial—just that he didn’t play it deliberately in the direction of Kane. It was an offside play.

Neither penalty was, by the laws of the game, a penalty. And that’s without even having to decide whether Harry Kane dove for the first or sufficient contact was made on Erik Lamela on the second. There is no grey area. Both were offside and VAR would have overturned both.

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