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Former ref slams decision to allow 'beach ball goal'

Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter branded the decision to allow Sunderland's winner against Liverpool as ''absolutely amazing''.

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Darren Bent's strike beat Reds goalkeeper Jose Reina with the held of a sizeable deflection off a beach ball which had been thrown onto the Stadium of Light pitch by an away fan. Referee Mike Jones conferred with his assistant but decided the goal should stand, helping Sunderland to a 1-0 win.

Winter told BBC Radio 5 Live: ''I'm absolutely amazed. It is basic law in football. The goal should just not have stood. The laws of the game state that if there's an outside interference the game has to be stopped.

''Talk about an outside influence - the ball went in off the beach ball and completely deceived the Liverpool goalkeeper. I am absolutely amazed that for a referee at that level of football, that between him, his assistant, the fourth official, they didn't see what had happened and give the correct decision.''

Winter added he was surprised more focus had not been put on Jones.

He said: ''I try to defend referees wherever possible having been there and knowing the problems they face but, on this particular occasion, everybody's having a laugh and a joke about it, but this is far more serious in terms of the laws of the game than when the referee doesn't see the ball go over the goalline.

''That is understandable with the pace of the modern game and being unsighted, but this is just basic law.

''An outside influence is any outside influence. It is anything other than the 22 maximum players on the field and the referee. If it hits the referee and goes in, he's part of the game. If a spectator comes on the pitch and kicks the ball, the game must be stopped.

''It's a basic law of the game - one that fortunately doesn't come into practice too much - but it's a basic law of the game that a referee would learn on his initial refereeing cause, not when you're an established Premier League referee.

''The fact that the referee conferred with his assistant, they knew something was wrong, it's just absolutely amazing the goal was allowed to stand.''

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