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Ex-Premier League referee provides bizarre answer when quizzed on Man United and Arsenal’s handball calls vs Spurs



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Former Premier League referee Dermott Gallagher was asked about the differences between two handball incidents when Manchester United and Arsenal faced Tottenham Hotspur this season.

Gallagher, 66, is regularly seen on Sky Sports’ weekly segment ‘Ref Watch’ where many of the Premier League’s controversial officiating is discussed.

The former referee has regularly been criticised for agreeing with almost every single decision the officials come to and the latest clip of him attempting to back the decision-making has gone viral on social media for that exact reason.

Last month, Manchester United were denied a penalty against Spurs after Alejandro Garnacho’s shot was blocked by Cristian Romero’s arm inside the penalty area. No penalty was given and VAR did not change the on-field decision.

Gallagher’s assessment of the incident was clear at the time, saying: “I would say 100 per cent no (penalty). The feeling is he was so close. One of the problems there is that the arm is out. Is it an expected positon? Is it above the shoulder?

“You can ask all them questions, has the ball come too fast? That’s what they felt, it was too close, and that was the decision they arose at.”

However, fast-forward to the latest set of Premier League fixtures and an incredibly similar situation occurred in the North London Derby, where again Romero handled the ball again.

Perhaps the only difference between the two incidents was that the Argentine was closer to his own goal. However, the distance between the player and shot was shorter and his arm was almost in an identical place to the United situation.

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This time around the penalty was given and Gallagher seemed to have forgotten his prior assessment was asked about the situation on Monday. “[Romero]’s arms are out, he blocks the shot going in. He’s had a massive stroke of luck not being sent off,” he said.

Then, comically, the former referee was asked what the difference between the two penalty incidents were, and why it was not given for United. He essentially ignored the question and continued to fight his case on the Arsenal penalty, “His arm’s out, VAR’s seen it, it’s heading towards goal, it didn’t surprise me it was given.”

Unsurprisingly, United supporters online were left fuming by what was largely labelled as a ‘pathetic’ attempt to justify the regular inconsistencies seen across the officiating in the Premier League.