'An utter, utter farce' - Referee incensed at penalties involving Celtic & Rangers and offers solution

Former Scottish FA referee Steve Conroy has called the penalties given against Kilmarnock defender Ryan Aleboisu and Celtic star Greg Taylor for handball “an utter, utter farce”.

Rangers were able to go 3-0 up from their spot kick in their win over Killie, while St Mirren took advantage of David Dickinson’s decision following a VAR intervention to take the lead early in their heavy defeat to the Scottish champions.

They are the latest handball decisions which has caused plenty of confusion and consternation amongst players, coaches and fans but, confessed Conroy, they were the correct calls going by the IFAB laws.

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“In a sane world, the real world, not in a million years is that a penalty,” he told Grosvenor Sport. “Never, ever. There’s no intent, he had no idea where the ball was. It hit him in that armpit zone where it’s already a borderline between a handball or not. But in this day and age - and with the current interpretation - it is. It’s ‘he didn’t need to have his hand up there’, ‘making himself big’ - all the usual catchphrases.

“The Greg Taylor one at St Mirren is the same argument, although easier to suggest that it was a penalty as his arms were up out of his body at a strange angle. But NO WAY did he mean to handle that and the ball is kicked right in front of him, there’s nothing he can do about it.

“It’s just nonsense. An utter, utter farce. For the good of the game we need to have a look at this at the end of the season. Everyone is totally frustrated by it, you can see the look on players’ faces all the time.”

Conroy believes there is a solution and that means going “back to the old days” when it was up to the referee “to decide whether a handball was deliberate or not”.

“It wasn’t perfect," he admitted. “It was prone to error, of course it was. But there’s absolutely no infallible way of judging a handball. VAR could get involved in flagging up a handball but cannot decide if it’s deliberate or not. All the weird and wonderful inventions in the world can’t decide that. So it must come down to the ref otherwise this lottery will continue.”



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