Former PL referee reveals whether handball call against Spurs was fair or not

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Ben Davies
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Ex-Premier League referee Kieth Hackett has applauded the officials for giving a penalty to Crystal Palace for handball against Tottenham Hotspur.

The moment came in the 75th minute when the energetic Conor Gallagher put a ball into the box which struck Ben Davies on the arm. John Moss did not give the decision immediately but the assistant flagged, leading the onfield referee to point to the spot.

Wilfried Zaha stepped up and converted the spot-kick in what was the opening goal of the game and it proved to be a catalyst for a late Spurs collapse as they conceded two more and lost the game 3-0.

It was a disappointing afternoon for Nuno Espirito Santo who was looking to continue his perfect start to life in the Premier League with Spurs.

Even after losing Tanganga to a red card, the Portuguese manager would have hoped that his side could hold on to a point but Davies’ handball was the beginning of the end.

Hackett claimed the decision, however, was the right one (Football Insider): “I thought the decision was terrific.

“Great officiating. John Moss was not in a position to judge, the assistant was. The vigour of which he flagged sold the decision to me.

“When you see the replay he had no alternative. The hand and arm was extending out of the body and it fills the criteria of handball, 100 per cent.

“There was no doubt in the decision, it was a good piece of refereeing and good teamwork.I don’t think every handball in the penalty area is a yellow card. Let’s put some value into a yellow card.

“If that handball had stopped a promising attack…In some instances, then, yes. But I support the match official’s decision. The penalty kick is sufficient punishment.

“We got into that habit, as English referees, of showing a yellow card for every penalty. With the lighter touch that we are seeing, we’re seeing a softer touch and I think that is benefitting the game.

“It will work if the players behave. One of the differences at the Euros was that the player’s discipline was excellent. If we see a deterioration of player behaviour then it does make it difficult for the referee to apply a lighter touch.”

SpursWeb Opinion 

When Tanganga got sent off, the opening goal for Palace felt inevitable – but the way in which it happened was avoidable.

Davies, an experienced player, should know better than to leave his hand out like that: it was, without doubt, the correct decision.

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