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Luis Boa Morte WAS fouled by Xavier

last updated Monday 04th March 2002, 2:28 PM
Fulham attacking midfielder Luis Boa Morte
Fulham attacking midfielder Luis Boa Morte again not given the benefit of the doubt
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Fulham v Liverpool Referee Alan Wiley made an error in booking Luis Boa Morte for diving.

Luis had collected the ball in front of the Riverside stand and was running with it into the penalty area at the Hammersmith End with Abel Xavier of Liverpool attempting to tackle him.

The film of the incident, freely available on Sky and ITV, clearly shows Xavier with his forearm and hand on Luis's right shoulder. It also appears to show Xavier push Luis to the ground.

Of course Referee Wiley may have been unsighted and therefore not able to see all the details of the encounter but he must have been able to see that there was contact between the two players and the laws of the game are quite clear on what he should have done.

A penalty kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball inside his own penalty area irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.

The above is obviously also the case if a player is guilty of pushing an opponent in the penalty area.

Rather than following the above law of the game and awarding a penalty Mr. Wiley decided that Boa Morte had intended to deceive the referee, and therefore must be sanctioned for unsporting behaviour.

Why did Mr. Wiley make his choice between the two options? His only honest response can be that he genuinely thought there had been no contact by Xavier and Boa Morte.

The T.V. pictures, available after the game, prove that Xavier did make contact with Boa Morte and in fact could well have pushed him to the ground.

Mr. Wiley has the ability, and in light of the television pictures the duty, to review his decision and then to rescind the yellow card given to Boa Morte. In doing so he would be doing the right thing and also helping to improve the standing of referees.


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