Paul Merson blasts 'terrible rule' after Villa VAR controversy

Paul Merson blasts ‘terrible rule’ but praises Kasper Schmeichel for ‘intelligent goalkeeping’ as Aston Villa have goal controversially ruled out by VAR for foul on Leicester City captain 

  • Jacob Ramsey scored to put Aston Villa 2-1 late in the first half against Leicester
  • Referee Michael Oliver ruled out the goal after consulting VAR
  • Ramsey was adjudged to have fouled Kasper Schmeichel as he hit the ball
  • Law 12 states goalkeepers are in control of the ball if they have at least one hand on it while holding it against the ground. 

Paul Merson suggested Kasper Schmeichel exploited the rules in his favour after Aston Villa had a goal controversially ruled out against Leicester City.

Jacob Ramsey looked to have put the home side ahead at Villa Park in the closing stages of the first half as he pounced on a loose ball Schmeichel had palmed into his path, before firing home. 

Referee Michael Oliver initially allowed the goal to stand, before reversing after consulting VAR. 

Kasper Schmeichel tried to regain control of the ball after palming it into Jacob Ramsey’s path 

Replays showed the Danish keeper’s outstretched right hand was just over the ball as Ramsey struck it, but it was difficult to ascertain whether Schmeichel was in control of the ball.

According to Law 12 of the Laws of the Game as regulated by the International Football Association Board, ‘a goalkeeper is control of the ball if the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface’  such as the ground or his own body.

A keeper is also considered to be in control of the ball  ‘by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save’ 

But the Villa midfielder fired home and thought he had put his side 2-1 up at Villa Park

Speaking on Sky Sports at halftime, Merson hinted Schmeichel attempted to stretch his arm over the ball to draw a foul. 

‘I think the rule is terrible,’ he said.

‘I think Schmeichel knows the rules there. I think he’s leaning over to put his hand on it. He doesn’t try to pull it back. 

Referee Michael Oliver initially allowed to goal to stand before ruling it out after a VAR check

His decision sparked furious protests by Villa players and fans, who believed the goal should have stood instead

‘He literally just dived to put one hand on it. I think it might be intelligent goalkeeping.’

Don Goodman, who was the co-commentator for the game, echoed his colleague’s thoughts: ‘Schmeichel is very fortunate and he will know that,’ he said.

‘I think the goal should stand but it’s a rule that is open to interpretation.’

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