You What Ref? Five of the worst refereeing decisions ever

Corry Evans blocks the ball with his back. Result - penalty
Corry Evans blocks the ball with his back. Result - penalty
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Northern Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup hang by a thread after they were on the wrong end of a terrible refereeing decision last night against Switzerland. It was just the latest in a series of blunders - Max Liu rounds up some of the worst....

"Bettors make the Swiss [1.59] favourites to win Sunday's second leg and [1.1] to reach next summer's World Cup in Russia."

It's been branded "disgraceful," "terrible" and "a decision from the dark the age." Few would disagree that Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan's decision to award a penalty against Corry Evans for deliberate handball, when it clearly struck his back, was a shocker. Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez tucked away the spot-kick on the hour and, as the only goal of the World Cup qualifying play-off, it means Northern Ireland have a mountain to climb in Sunday's second leg in Basel.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill hopes his men will channel their anger but bettors make the Swiss [1.59] favourites to win the second leg and [1.1] to reach next summer's World Cup in Russia. Northern Ireland are [10.0] to qualify.

There's no doubt Hategan's decision was one of the worst but, ahead of Sunday's match, here are some of the worst we've witnessed down the years.

Thierry Henry's handball v Republic of Ireland

This was one happened to the team from across the Irish border and it was a case of the referee failing to spot a handball in a World Cup qualifying play-off for South Africa 2010. You have to wonder how the referee failed to see France striker Thierry Henry control the ball with his hand then scoop it up like a basketball.

Graham Poll shows three yellow cards to Josip Simunic

Graham Poll was one of Europe's top referees but even the best make mistakes and here the Englishman blundered on the biggest stage, showing Croatia's Simunic not two but three yellow cards before ordering the player to leave the pitch in a 2006 World Cup match against Australia.

Frank Lampard's goal is disallowed

We'll never know if Frank Lampard's goal against Germany at the World Cup in 2010 would have turned the course of the match. Some pundits have argued that, with Germany 2-0 up, it would have put England back in contention. The Three Lions eventually lost 4-1 and the mistake was a catalyst for the introduction of goal-line technology.

Reading's phantom goal

This is one of the strangest decisions and, while the buck stops with Stuart Attwell, equal blame lies with the linesman who said he'd seen the ball cross the line after Reading's corner in this match against Watford in 2008. As you can see from the film, it's nowhere near.

Pedro Mendes' disallowed goal v Manchester United

A perplexing decision and a calamitous piece of goalkeeping from Roy Carroll. Tottenham have long complained that they get no luck at Old Trafford and this disallowed goal by Pedro Mendes from 2005, which was so far across the line it almost touched the net, shows why.


These are just five of the worst refereeing decisions. If you can think of any more we'd love to hear about them in the comments below or on Twitter @Betfair.

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