A goal ruled out for pointing to where you are going to run.
It sounds unbelievable but that is what appeared to happen to Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford in the 4-1 defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The 27-year-old was comfortably onside when he raised his arm to tell Mateusz Klich where to play the ball and he ran on to score, seemingly equalising for his side.
However, after a video assistant referee (VAR) review, the goal was ruled out – prompting a furious reaction from many fans and pundits.
‘The worst decision in the history of football’
“That is the worst I’ve ever seen. The worst in the history of football,” said former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage, who was watching the game for BT Sport at the time.
“Absurd,” Match of the Day host and ex-England striker Gary Lineker posted on social media. “That’s another ridiculous VAR offside decision to disallow Bamford’s goal. I actually loathe the way it’s being implemented.”
Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “It was an absolutely disgusting decision not to give Bamford the goal. He’s been done for having long arms and for pointing where he wants the ball played.
“It’s ridiculous – we’ve lost our minds in our sport at the moment. There’s no doubt that would have had an impact on the game.”
‘Even the referee couldn’t make sense of it’
Bamford himself was still none-the-wiser after the game as to why it was ruled out.
“I don’t understand the rule,” he said. “You can’t score with your arm. It doesn’t make sense.
“It’s happened with me today but I’ve seen it on numerous occasions. It’s ruining football. You want to see goals. To have it ruled out for something like that is daft.
“Even the referee couldn’t make sense of it. When the players and the officials can’t make sense of it, does it make sense?”
Was it the wrong decision?
By the letter of the law, it was the correct decision to rule it out.
While the action of pointing itself was not the reason for ruling it out, it was the fact his arm was deemed to be in an offside position, regardless of its motion.
A change in the handball rule means that the top of the arm, a part of his body that a person can score with, can be offside.
The question is, will Bamford point for balls in the future?
“It is a tough one,” said the Englishman.
“You are giving handballs for jumping with their arms up, which is a natural jump. You are giving offside for when someone points where they want the ball, which is part of the game.
“If you asked me what the offside rule is I couldn’t tell you. It is my job to stay onside but I just don’t know.”