Bloopers

Handballs, phantom goals and some refereeing howlers

Referees have a tough job. Without the use of technology (which boggles many as to why they still don’t) the job they do can be tough. And contraversial as has been the case on many occasions.

One of the most shocking fouls in the history of the professional game to go unpunished occured at the Estadio Pizjuan in Seville at the 1982 World Cup in a game between West Germany and France. With France’s Patrick Battiston clean through on goal, he had only goalkeeper Harald Schumacher to beat. The 6 fot 2 inch ‘keeper launched himself in the air at Battiston and collided with him mid-air. The French defender was instantly knocked unconcious (before later slipping into a coma) and required oxygen on the pitch. The then-Saine Etienne player lost three teeth and badly damaged his vertebrae. The referee’s decision? Sending off? No. Yellow card? Nope. A talking to at least? Not a chance. Seeing as the ball rolled out of play during Schumacher’s challenge, he waved for the German ‘keeper to take a goal kick. Cheers, ref.
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One of the most famous decisions that a referee got wrong involved the great Diego Maradona when he famously punched the ball into the English net at the Azteca Stadium in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The Argentine genius later said in his autobiography, El Diego, that it felt a little like “pickpocketing the English”. Maradona may have scored the goal of the century four minutes later, but the many English fans and media have refused to forgive the legend for his ‘hand of God’. But even Gary Lineker himself now would admit that Diego put a ‘touch’ more class on the handball than when a certain Frenchman did against Ireland recent years.

Some phantom goals have been awarded in recent years, as have blatant goals that haven’t. But when a ballboy scores an 89th-minute equalizer for Brazilian club side Santacruzense against Athletico Sorocaba and it’s given, we a truly entering the world of ridiculous. Sepp Blatter has stated that FIFA intend to not bring in goal-line technology anytime soon. At least his decision will continue to be the subject of much discussion for years to come.