Bad Penalties and Other Terrible Refereeing Decisions

In the wake of Raheem Sterling’s ‘penalty’ Bozza has scoured the archives for five worse decisions.

Shakhtar Donetsk and sporting fans the world over were shocked when Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was awarded a penalty during their Group F Champions League match in Manchester on Thursday morning. In a decision so comical it prompted Shakhtar’s keeper to laugh out loud, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai pointed to the spot despite Sterling simply falling over in the penalty area. If somehow you haven’t seen the decision you can check it out below in all its howlerific glory.

After picking our jaws up off the floor at the sheer ineptitude displayed by referee Kassai, we wondered where it stands in the pantheon of inept refereeing decisions. In good news for Kassai, and a sad reflection of sporting officialdom, we found plenty of other decisions equally bad or worse. With that in mind we present to you some of the worst refereeing decisions recorded on film.

What replay was he watching?

The Umpiring in the Caribbean Premier League in 2018 was nothing short of hot garbage. In a very strong field of blunderous decisions, in large part because technology was called upon with no avail, we chose this lbw dismissal of Keiron Pollard. If you can see which part of Jason Holder’s foot was behind the popping crease we would love to hear you tell us.

Are you kidding me?

Hard to believe but we have a worse display of technological intervention from Australia’s own National Rugby Championship in 2014. With the Sydney Stars fiercely defending their line against North Harbour Rays attack on their line, the ball emerged from the breakdown and was grounded on the try line. Unsighted  due to the swarm of bodies, the referee sent the decision to the TMO for assistance as to who grounded the ball.

Remarkably, despite the replay showing Stars’s Prop Mitch Lewis grounding the ball which should have prompted a five metre scrum with a Rays feed, the TMO awarded a try to the Rays! As is almost always the case, technology was once again let down by the human beings operating it.


No video official at play here but we suggest that there is a big chance that the First Base Umpire may have been asleep when he decided to support the Home Plate Umpires decision to call this a ball. Given the circumstances the enquiries from the Pitcher and perplexed manager were very polite indeed.

Are his eyes painted on?

We don’t want to spoil this one for you but needless to say this touchies decision to keep his flag down is not his finest hour.

The only man who didn’t see it hit the post

Cards on the table time here, your humble correspondent is a long suffering St Kilda supporter which might explain how rankled this umpiring decision makes him. Perhaps even more frustrating is the fact that it wasn’t even this decision that prompted the AFL to bring in Goal Review Technology but another Grand Final blunder two years later.

Have your own nomination? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.





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