Home News Sean Dyche and Liverpool fans baffled as “bizarre” handball benefits Man City

Sean Dyche and Liverpool fans baffled as “bizarre” handball benefits Man City


Four days on from Martin Odegaard’s handball vs. Liverpool, VAR David Coote upheld a handball in Everton‘s loss to Man City which Sean Dyche called “bizarre.”

The level of officiating in the Premier League is under increasing scrutiny, as the current band of referees make mistake after mistake in high-profile games.

Not a week goes by without controversy across multiple fixtures, which has only heightened over the busy festive calendar.

For Liverpool, that saw a clear handball from Arsenal captain Odegaard in the box during the 1-1 draw at Anfield on December 23, before two goals strangely ruled out against Burnley on Boxing Day.

Coote was VAR for the title clash, and retained those duties four days later as he manned the booth at Stockley Park for Everton vs. Man City.

The tie was poised at 1-1 after Phil Foden cancelled out Jack Harrison’s first-half opener, when Nathan Ake blasted a rebounded shot on goal that saw Amadou Onana throw himself in the way.

Onana was a matter of feet away from Ake when he fired at goal, with the ball striking his upraised arm and onto his face – and referee John Brooks blew for a penalty.

Brooks only did so after being surrounded by Man City players who faced no reprimand for doing so, and though the decision went to VAR, Coote took no issue.

Dyche certainly did, though, with the Everton manager questioning the interpretation of the laws and describing the call as “bizarre.”

“That’s completely natural. He’s not even putting his hand up to save it, he’s not putting his hand up to get in the way of it,” he told Amazon Prime.

“He’s literally throwing himself to try and block it for his team.

“How that’s given as a penalty is bizarre in my world, but then I must be from a different planet.”

Asked whether it was the officials who were the problem or the laws themselves, Dyche replied: “Who knows?

“All the managers are debating it. We all said on a Zoom call months ago ‘what is going on with it?’.

“I keep hearing about [lawmakers] IFAB and all these people, but someone’s got to stand up at some point and realise that that can’t be a penalty.

“He’s just thrown himself to try and block the ball, that’s it.”

Dyche’s sentiment was shared by a number of supporters in the wake of the Odegaard handball, which was somehow deemed to have been natural.

Sadly, the ineptitude of referees is harming the integrity of the Premier League as both a competition and as a product, with more focus now on decisions than the sport itself.

Whether Everton will receive an ‘apology’ or even an explanation from Howard Webb and the PGMOL for this decision is unclear.

But there is a clear need for a shakeup of not only the officiating group, who have floundered time and time again, but also the laws they are required to enforce.