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Referees' body backs Attwell after Liverpool goal

Stuart Attwell has won the support of the body that governs referees following the awarding of a controversial goal in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Sunderland on Saturday.

• Bruce tempers Attwell criticism
• Sunderland blog: Resilience at Anfield

Attwell allowed a goal from Dirk Kuyt to stand after five minutes after deciding that Michael Turner had taken a free kick when the defender appeared to merely knock the ball in the direction of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, in order that he would take the set piece.

With the Sunderland team standing unawares, Fernando Torres snuck in to collect the ball and square for Kuyt, who tapped home to provoke impassioned protests from the Black Cats.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said Attwell "got it wrong" and that the goal was "unsportsmanlike." However, Attwell has won the support of the Professional Game Match Officials organisation.

The statement read: "PGMO has reviewed the first goal scored between Liverpool and Sunderland and believe that the correct decisions were made. According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to 'indicate the restart of the match'.

"In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the re-start by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal. For the more important 'ceremonial' free kicks, which also involve control of the defensive wall, referees can indicate by using the whistle. However, there is no requirement by Law to use the whistle to make the indication.

"The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it is kicked by a Sunderland player. Also, the Laws state that the free kick must be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case, the referee correctly determined that the free kick was played from the right place."


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