A contentious goal scored by Liverpool striker Christian Benteke against Bournemouth last Monday should have been ruled out for offside, the Premier League admitted on Friday.
Benteke stabbed in a cross from Jordan Henderson in the 26th minute of the game at Anfield and the goal stood despite team-mate Philippe Coutinho attempting to get a touch on the ball while standing in an offside position.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, whose side lost 1-0, criticised the decision and the Premier League has now conceded that in light of new guidelines regarding the offside rule, the goal should have been ruled out.
“The Premier League has this week written to its clubs to clarify the new interpretation of the offside law decided by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) this summer,” the Premier League said in a statement on its website.
“Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) issued this guidance in order to clear up any misunderstandings that arose following the goal awarded to Liverpool in their Monday night match against AFC Bournemouth.
“The Premier League does not generally comment on decisions made by match officials. However, given the recent change to the interpretation of the offside law and the fact that it was made close to the start of the season, the league felt it was appropriate, in this instance, to publish in order to inform fans and other stakeholders.”
Using a pair of diagrams, the Premier League explained that because Coutinho makes a “clear attempt to play the ball” and his “actions impact on” goalkeeper Artur Boruc, the “expected outcome” would be an “offside offence”.
The new guidelines introduced by rule-making body the IFAB state that if a player is in an offside position, makes a clear attempt to play the ball when it is close to him and impacts on an opponent, he will be deemed offside. Previously, a player had to make contact with the ball to be deemed to have interfered with play.
Speaking after the game, Howe had said: “That is the clearest example of the new rule you will see. It’s a yard and a bit offside and he (Coutinho) has clearly impacted on the goalkeeper. I don’t think it’s a tough one.”