Bournemouth to discuss claim against Hawk-Eye for ghost goal during Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

July 28, 2020

Bournemouth's board will meet later this week to discuss the possibility of pursuing a compensation claim against Hawk-Eye, whose mistake may have contributed to their relegation from the Premier League.

Hawk-Eye released a statement apologising after a blunder by Aston Villa's goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who carried the ball over the line against Sheffield United in the first game back after lockdown, was not detected by their goal-line technology system.

Referee Michael Oliver received no signal to award a goal and play continued, the game finishing in a goalless draw.

After the match, the goal-line technology company apologised, claiming "seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender and goalpost".

On Sunday, without that point, Villa would have been relegated on goal difference - and Bournemouth would have survived by a single goal.

To date, no lawyers have been instructed. However, the club's board is scheduled to meet in the next few days, where a decision will be made on their next move.

Other issues, including the future of manager Eddie Howe and the club's finances post-relegation are also expected to be on the agenda.

The 'ghost goal' - what happened?

Oliver Norwood's 42nd-minute free-kick was fumbled by Nyland, who collided with team-mate Keinan Davis and fell into his side-netting.

The goalkeeper did his best to keep the ball on the right side of the line but though replays conclusively showed it was over, Oliver's goal-line technology watch did not vibrate.

It is understood Oliver did get alerted for that "goal" - but not until he was in the dressing room at half-time.

Hawk-Eye apologised for its error, claiming the obstruction was like nothing they had seen in 9,000 games using the technology, though images of the "occlusion" have not yet been released.

Why didn't VAR step in?

A statement from the PGMOL said: "Under the IFAB protocol, the VAR is able to check goal situations, however due to the fact that the on-field match officials did not receive a signal, and the unique nature of that, the VAR did not intervene."

What did the managers say?

Blades boss Chris Wilder admitted to a range of emotions after the game: frustration, bemusement - and sympathy for Oliver and fourth official Chris Kavanagh.

He told Sky Sports: "The statement's come out, unprecedented, unbelievable. That's the balance. We were waiting for somebody, I don't know who it was at Stockley Park, to show a bit of courage, stick their chest out and say I'll make that decision. But if they say they haven't seen it, and seven cameras haven't seen it, I suppose he's going to say he can't make that decision.

"I think we all had the feel, both sets of players, fans and staff, I think even speaking to the referee and the fourth official, I think we all had the feel of a goal. You listen to the statement that's been given by Hawk-Eye, my issue is one of frustration, seven cameras haven't picked it up, the most technical league in the world, video analysis and everything we see at every angle hasn't seen a goal. That's disappointing from our point of view."

Villa boss Dean Smith told Sky Sports: "I know they've scored a goal that isn't given because of technology, but we did enough to score. I feel for them, but I've had technology go against me, and we're probably due that little bit of luck."

Smith later pointed to an equaliser against his side had chalked off against Crystal Palace after Jack Grealish was wrongly penalised for simulation in August.

He said: "Go watch the 94th minute at Crystal Palace. Things happen. Referee Kevin Friend has blown a whistle when we have scored a goal. It should have been a penalty or a goal. We got neither."

A lawyer's view

Barrister Thomas Horton, who is the founder of the website Football Law, told Sky Sports News: "There is an argument to say that there is a duty of care owed by Hawk-Eye to Bournemouth and other Premier League clubs as well.

"A Premier League club's loss of revenue from not finishing in a higher league position due to losing points because of goal-line technology not working is reasonably foreseeable.

"But, getting on to any claim of negligence is where I would consider Bournemouth to have difficulties.

"This is something that has happened once in over 9,000 matches so the rarity of it is incredible but is something that must be accepted.

"There seems to be an inherent trust and reliance on the goal-line technology which is completely fair when you have technology that meets the standard and has been tested before the match.

"I think anyone in that position would have done the same as Michael Oliver did and likewise the Video Assistant Referee on the day.

"It is unfortunate but completely understandable in the circumstances."

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