Should ref have called Van Nistelrooy goal offside?
Some you win and some you lose but it looks like almost every journalist and most TV commentators, as well as the Italian players, were totally wrong in claiming Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s opening goal against Italy in Netherlands’ 3-0 win in Berne on Monday was offside.
UEFA have confirmed that referee Peter Frojdfeldt and his assistant Stefan Wittberg were absolutely correct in awarding the goal. UEFA general secretary David Taylor said the ref interpreted Law 11 relating to offside correctly and the reason why is this:
Even though Italian defender Chrstian Panucci was off the pitch after an accidental collision with his own goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, he was deemed to still be in active play and therefore playing Van Nistelrooy onside.
His position is “assumed” to be on the goal-line and therefore Van Nistelrooy had two opposing players between him and the goal when he scored. The law is vague on the issue and Taylor admits it does not specifically cover incidents such as the one that occurred last night.
It also raises a whole lot of questions. If the law is not specific on the issue and open to interpretation by the referee, then shouldn’t it be more specific? Shouldn’t it be re-written?
The officials might have applied the universally accepted interpretation of the law and been exonerated … but is the universal interpretation really in the spirit of the game? You have to bear in mind of course that a defender should not be allowed to step outside the field of play behind the goal-line to render the opposing attacker offside.
Also, if Panucci had not been injured and lying on his back, and had merely stepped over the line a few feet and then raced back on to the field, he would not have needed the referee’s permission to do so.
On reflection, I agree the referee and linesman were right. But I think the law needs looking at. What do you think?
PHOTO: Players react to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s goal at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, June 9, 2008. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen