Sunderland ‘beach ball goal’ should have been disallowed says referee

Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter says Sunderland’s winning goal against Liverpool yesterday should have been disallowed, according to the laws of the game.

Darren Bent’s fifth minute goal hit a beach ball that had been thrown onto the pitch by a Liverpool fan, deflecting past Reds keeper Pepe Reina.

But Winter says that there is a law in the rules of football that referee Mike Jones failed to use.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Winter said, “Everyone’s going to have a field day but nobody’s getting upset about it.

“But the laws of the game clearly state that if there’s an outside interference the game has to be stopped.

“The referee and his assistant knew something was wrong, and it should have been a dropped ball.”

Sunderland fans would say it would have probably gone in anyway and that it was a Liverpool fan who threw it [the beach ball] on the pitch.

“But I’m absolutely amazed. It is a basic law in football and the goal should just not have stood.

“I am absolutely amazed that a referee at that level of football, that between him, his assistant and the fourth official they didn’t see what had happened and give the correct decision.

“There would have been absolute ructions at the Stadium of Light because the fans wouldn’t have understood what had happened but I was watching yesterday afternoon and I was thinking ‘hang on this can’t be right’.

“I try to defend referees whenever possible but this, in terms of interpreting the laws of the game, is far more serious than when a ball crosses a line and somebody doesn’t see it.

“But on this occasion the irony is that everyone is having a laugh and a joke about it.”