Martin Odegaard: EPL Releases Audio for Non Penalty Incident in Liverpool vs Arsenal

Martin Odegaard: EPL Releases Audio for Non Penalty Incident in Liverpool vs Arsenal

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • The referee's body has released an explanation for the Liverpool vs Arsenal game on December 23
  • Liverpool were denied a penalty despite Martin Odegaard handling the ball in his penalty box
  • Referee Chris Kavanagh was not asked to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor

The head of the referees body in England, Howard Webb, has agreed that Liverpool were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty during their Premier League home game against Arsenal on December 23.

The Video Assistant referee had a controversial moment at Anfield when Martin Odegaard slipped and handled the ball inside his own penalty box.

Martin Odegaard, Liverpool vs Arsenal, Howard Webb, PGMOL
Martin Odegaard in action for Arsenal against Liverpool on December 23. Photo by Michael Regan.
Source: Getty Images

Referee Chris Kavanagh immediately waved away the strong appeals from Liverpool players, with the VAR also rubberstamping the decision. PGMOL has now released an audio of how the VAR David Coote made the decision.

Kavanagh is heard telling the screaming Liverpool players that the Arsenal skipper's hands were on the floor already. Exceptions are often made to handball offences when the player tries to break a fall.

Coote then tells Kavanagh,

"He’s falling; he’s moving his arms towards him, so it’s check complete for me."

Here is the full audio of the incident

PGMOL head admits Liverpool were denied a penalty

Appearing on Match Officials Mic'd Up, Webb agreed that the correct procedure was followed but was uncertain if the officials made the right call.

"The VAR thought it was a case of Odegaard trying to make himself smaller by bringing his arm back to his body. That is the element that's important here. He gets a huge advantage, whether instinctive or deliberate, by bringing the arm back towards the ball. The game expects a penalty in this situation and I would agree. As such, this one did not reach the right outcome on that basis."

The two sides battled out to a hard-fought one-all draw in that game. Gabriel Magalhaes opened the scoring for the visitors after just four minutes, but Mohamed Salah restored parity with a wonderful solo effort before the half-hour mark.

Odegaard gestures to wrong crowd

A few days later, Sports Brief reported that Odegaard suffered an embarrassing moment after he waved at Liverpool fans, thinking they were Arsenal fans.

The two sides renewed their rivalry at the Emirates in an FA Cup tie on January 7 - a game Liverpool won.

At one point in the game, Odegaard tried to psyche up his fans but mistakenly made gestures to the away end.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)