ghost perfectly legitimate, definitely-crossed-the-line goal appears to have some company in the pantheon of controversial decisions at the pointy end of competitions between Chelsea and Liverpool.
That moment? Adrian’s game-winning save in the penalty shoot out last night in the UEFA Super Cup. Upon replay, it was evident to any and all observers that the veteran Spanish goalkeeper had just come off his line before the ball was kicked. By the book, the pen should have been retaken. But then again, you try to tell the joyous, sprinting Jurgen Klopp that his celebrations were premature.
“The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line,” is the official by the book ruling, according to UEFA.
However, after the match ESPN reported that Roberto Rosetti, UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer, claimed that the save was in line with how the rule should be interpreted.
“Goalkeepers will only be penalised by VAR for leaving the line if it’s a blatant and clear violation of the new law,” Rosetti said.
This interpretation is probably the one that will be most welcomed by fans (especially Liverpool fans, in this case). Football is still a game of emotions, and the scenes after Adrian’s save would have been difficult—if not impossible—to reel in, especially on such a slight technicality.
We saw over the summer at the Women’s World Cup just how bad over-officiating penalties through the use of VAR was for the game. And it seems like UEFA (along with other leagues, including the Bundesliga) have considered a softening of the interpretation to be a good thing.
Alternatively, this could just be a poor attempt at media spin, or UEFA “interpreting” the rules after the fact. Either way, if they’ve set a new standard (i.e. “try to keep one foot on or near the line until the ball is kicked, pretty please”), it seems to be a good and workable one. Until it goes against us, at least.