Referee seemed to forget the law in awarding North Macedonia penalty against England

England's Rico Lewis concedes a penalty against North Macedonia's Bojan Miovski
Rico Lewis was harshly ruled to have conceded a penalty when his arm struck Bojan Miovski - Reuters/Peter Cziborra

The decision to award North Macedonia a penalty kick in the first half of England’s 1-1 draw in North Macedonia was one of the worst decisions I have witnessed as it seems the referee forgot to apply an important part of the law.

IFAB laws account for natural positions of arms when offences are committed in the box and Manchester City midfielder Rico Lewis uses his arms naturally to generate elevation to win the header before his arm accidentally connects with the face of Bojan Miovski.

While the handball law needs correcting, it still needs to be applied accurately under its current legislation and referee Filip Glova has not done that. The fact he comes to the decision to award a penalty even after a handful of replays is quite frankly, concerning.

Yes Lewis does not commit a handball offence, but it is the understanding of natural and unnatural positions of arms from the handball law which is vital in this instance.

Referee Filip Glova
Referee Filip Glova had a bad night - Shutterstock/GEORGI LICOVSKI

Incidentally, it was also clear earlier in the match that North Macedonia were denied a penalty when Harry Maguire fouled inside the box. The Manchester United defender gives the ball away before falling into the attacker inside the box and committing a foul which Var ignores.

Whether that is in the thinking of Var and Glova when making the decision on Lewis’s accidental contact remains to be seen, but two wrongs do not make a right.

Var did correctly rule out Jack Grealish’s goal for offside but again it was unclear as to why it took three minutes to come to the decision when it was clear and obvious he was offside.

Whilst Glova is an athletic referee and moves at pace around the field, refereeing is about securing good viewing angles and making good decisions. He failed to recognise the difference between a fair or foul challenge resulting in an inconsistent application of the law.

A poor performance by the referee which was well below the expected standard of an Uefa official.

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