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Sport

No replay of Watford game

LONDON (Reuters) - Watford’s league match against Reading will not be replayed despite the match officials awarding Reading a goal that they never scored.

Reading manager Steve Coppell waves to the crowd following relegation after their Premiership match against Derby County at Pride Park in Derby, May 11, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples

The Football League, which runs the Championship (second division) said on Monday the result of Saturday’s match, which ended in a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road, would stand and there were no plans to replay the game.

Andy Williamson, the League’s chief operating officer, said in a statement that the decision of referee Stuart Attwell to award the goal after linesman Nigel Bannister flagged for a goal rather than a corner, must remain final.

“The Laws of the Game give no discretion in these matters -- the referee’s decision regarding whether a goal is scored or not is final and binding. Given this explicit position, the League cannot intervene,” Williamson said.

Reading manager Steve Coppell said earlier on Monday he would be happy to replay the game after the linesman flagged for a goal after 13 minutes although the ball had drifted four metres wide of the goal.

Most of the players and crowd thought referee Attwell, at 25 the youngest referee in the league, had blown for a goal-kick or corner and were stunned when he pointed to the centre circle.

“I have seen it and my conclusion is that it obviously wasn’t right,” Coppell told the club’s website (www.readingfc.premiumtv.co.uk).

“If the authorities decide a replay is the correct thing to do then I’ve got no objections whatsoever.”

Reading’s Stephen Hunt, whose corner was clearly deflected wide by Watford defender John Eustace, said after the game: “It was probably the worst decision I have ever witnessed in football.”

Paul Rejer of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which is responsible for match officials, told Watford’s website (www.watfordfc.com): “It appears a mistake has been made. It will be reviewed by us. The assistant referee gave the goal and from his position and angle it appeared the ball had crossed the line for a goal. He has made a human error.”

Editing by Justin Palmer and Sonia Oxley

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