Ex-Fifa official issues 'harsh' claim as 'unusual' Alexandro Bernabei footage emerges from Celtic
The referee was right to award Dundee United a penalty in their 4-2 defeat to Celtic on Saturday (5 November), according to Keith Hackett.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee admitted Alexandro Bernabei’s handball was “unusual” but the referee was right by the letter of the law.
As shown on the BBC’s Sportscene programme, the ball hit Bernabei’s outstretched arm after a Steven Fletcher header.
It was initially missed by the referee but after he reviewed the footage on the pitchside monitor, he awarded Dundee United a penalty.
Fletcher then converted from the spot to level the scores.
“It was an unusual one because he actually flicked it from behind his back,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
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“To me, that indicated to the referee that he was trying to stop the ball by putting his arm behind his back to hide them.
“Sadly, because they have got VAR they can have a second look.
“These are subjective decisions, they rely very much on the referee.
“I think his actions have extended his body, they’ve made his body shape bigger because his arm is an unnatural position.
“You’re going to get penalty kicks for that. I think the whole process worked really well.
“Harsh? Yes, they always are. Could he have avoided it? Yes, just keep your arm by your side.
“He got caught. Again, it’s a good use of VAR and a good decision.
“They are subjective and I do think the handball law are ridiculous but that’s not for the referee to judge, he has to apply the law.”