Premier League referees chiefs say Tomas Soucek’s arm was going to break his fall

REVEALED: Tomas Soucek’s blatant handball against Chelsea wasn’t given as a penalty because his arm was going to BREAK HIS FALL… after the West Ham star controversially saved Conor Gallagher’s goal-bound shot

  • Chelsea were denied a penalty by the on-field referee Craig Pawson late on
  • VAR checked the incident but didn’t recommend a second look at the call
  • The decision wasn’t overturned because Soucek’s arm was breaking his fall 

Chelsea were not awarded a spot kick against West Ham when Tomas Soucek blatantly handled the ball inside the penalty area because his arm was going to break his fall. 

Soucek handled an effort from Conor Gallagher in the 89th minute of the 1-1 draw at the London Stadium on Saturday, leading to several Chelsea players begging referee Craig Pawson for a penalty.

Pawson, the on-field official, dismissed claims while a VAR check was short and backed up the original call.

The decision left several fans scratching their heads as to why a spot kick wasn’t given.

But Sportsmail understands because Soucek’s hand was breaking his fall to the ground, there was no way he could be penalised.

Chelsea were not awarded a spot kick against West Ham when Tomas Soucek blatantly handled the ball inside the penalty area because his arm was going to break his fall

Chelsea were not awarded a spot kick against West Ham when Tomas Soucek blatantly handled the ball inside the penalty area because his arm was going to break his fall 

A shot from distance from Conor Gallagher hit the midfielder's arm towards the end of the game on Saturday

A shot from distance from Conor Gallagher hit the midfielder’s arm towards the end of the game on Saturday

Calls came from the players by referee Craig Pawson waved away appeals on the field

Calls came from the players by referee Craig Pawson waved away appeals on the field

It seemed a certain penalty for Chelsea, who have now won just once in their last six trips to West Ham.

Players, fans and staff were left bewildered by the call, with several pundits also wondering why the decision was made.

Rio Ferdinand, Gianfranco Zola and Joe Cole, who were working as pundits covering the game for BT Sport, were all in agreement that it should have been a penalty.  

Ferdinand said: ‘I was happy the referee and VAR didn’t see it, but I think he more or less saved it. It was a great save.

‘No wonder the Chelsea players are going bananas there, I would be going crazy. He [Soucek] gets down really well to his left, what a save that is. I can’t believe that has not been given. It is unbelievable, it is lucky.’

When questioned by presenter Lynsey Hipgrave on whether Soucek was using the arm to break the fall, Ferdinand replied: ‘Come on Lynsey.’

Zola added: ‘Maybe, but clearly the hand is attached to the body. There is a shot to goal that has been blocked. In my opinion it is clearly a penalty.

Cole then said: ‘The crucial thing for me is the distance he is from Gallagher. If he is right next to him, two yards away, you can argue no penalty. But when you are that far away, you get a split second and he knows what he is doing. It is a penalty.’

VAR checked the decision but didn't ask Pawson to look at the decision for a second time

VAR checked the decision but didn’t ask Pawson to look at the decision for a second time

The ball clearly hit Soucek's hand and the ball was then diverted away from goal

The ball clearly hit Soucek’s hand and the ball was then diverted away from goal

Former Premier League official Peter Walton was also working for BT and suggested VAR should have sent Pawson to look at the incident again.

He said: ‘The law is clear, the VAR clearly thinks the arm is in a natural position and that he is going down to break his fall.

‘If you analyse it in slow motion, you can see the ball is past his knee and then his arm is there. For me, I think it is a deliberate act and am disappointed the VAR didn’t give the referee the opportunity to go and have a second look at it.

‘Football, I think, as a community, would want that given as a penalty. As a former Premier League referee I think that was the wrong decision today.’

Chelsea manager Graham Potter, meanwhile, fumed after the game. He said: ‘It was a good save. You need your goalkeeper sometimes to give you the points.

‘It looks like one of those that, if it was given, it wouldn’t have been overturned. But obviously it wasn’t given. It looked quite a handball and, like I said, I didn’t know Tomas could get down so easily and save like that. It’s a good stop from him.’

Chelsea’s social media team also poked fun at the incident. 

Chelsea manager Graham Potter vented his frustrations at the call after the game in London

Chelsea manager Graham Potter vented his frustrations at the call after the game in London 

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