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No replay for Royals clash
22 Sep 2008 - 17:21:47
Saturday's controversial Championship clash between Watford and Reading will not be replayed even though the Royals' first goal should not have been allowed to stand.
In the 13th minute of the Vicarage Road encounter, referee Stuart Attwell ruled that John Eustace's challenge on Noel Hunt had resulted in an own goal rather than the ball crossing the touchline to the side of the goal.
The match eventually finished 2-2 and, after analysing the incident, the Professional Game Match Officials board said: "It is clear that the ball did not cross the goal-line between the goalposts.
"According to the laws of the game, the decision of the referee, regarding facts connected with play are final and that includes whether a goal is scored or not. The referee cannot change that decision once the game has been restarted.
"Football is a human game played at a fast pace where mistakes are made by players and match officials alike.
"We regret this error of judgment and will now work with the officials concerned to determine how this occurred in an attempt to minimise such mistakes in the future."
Reading boss Steve Coppell had earlier intimated that he would be happy to play the game again, saying: "I've seen it and my conclusion is obviously that it wasn't right.
"If the authorities decide a replay is the correct thing to do, I've got no objections whatsoever.
"I'm not sure there's a precedent, but if that's what people decide I'm quite happy to do it. We don't want to be seen to be taking advantage of anything.
"To an extent I have sympathy with Watford and I really don't know what to say to make it right.
"Decisions are the referee's responsibility. I still have the same conclusion that surely at this stage of football's development we can have immediate video evidence to protect teams against this type of thing.
"The game is so quick and mistakes happen. If we can use technology to avoid mistakes or minimise them, it's got to be for the good of the game.
"I always say, when the referee is wrong, he's still right. We got the advantage this time, but I'd like to think if we'd been on the other end of it we'd be able to accept it.
"Like I said, if the League were to phone me up now and say they think something was definitely wrong, I'm happy to go along with it."