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World Cup news

Poll suggests penalty-goals

July 5, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Former World Cup referee Graham Poll has said FIFA should consider introducing penalty-goals after Luis Suarez's handball prevented a last-gasp goal against Uruguay and in so doing denied Ghana a certain semi-final place.

Luis Suarez palms the ball clear
GettyImagesLuis Suarez palms the ball clear at the end of extra-time against Ghana

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"The officials got it spot on, dismissing Suarez and awarding a penalty, but that gave Uruguay a lifeline they did not deserve," Poll wrote in the Daily Mail. "Referee Olegario Benquerenca would have been relieved to spot the handball, but in the dressing room afterwards his team would have discussed the sense of injustice.

"The clause in the law under which Suarez was dismissed was the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The problem is that Ghana were denied a goal, not just the opportunity to score one. A penalty-goal in these circumstances would be appropriate."

While some argued Suarez acted instinctively, Poll said that should not affect the punishment against his team. "If that is true then awarding a penalty-goal and a yellow card seems more appropriate. Then the wronged team would not be denied a goal and the instinctive act less harshly punished.

"The denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity was seen in the Paraguay-Spain quarter-final, when Antolin Alcaraz brought down David Villa. No striker converts every chance, so awarding a penalty seems fair. Referee Carlos Batres failed to dismiss the Paraguay defender, but it was only an opportunity denied and not a certain goal."