Are The Laws Applied Evenly?

Between the bigger and smaller teams of the Premier League?

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During the 2014-15 season we visited the King Power Stadium to play Leicester City in the season which they were fighting relegation, before going on to win the Premier League title the following season.

The date was 7th February and we would win the game 1-0 with the most memorable event being when Nigel Pearson pulled James McArthur to the ground off the pitch and ‘playfully’ strangle him.

However, there was another incident which almost led to us conceding a goal which was glossed over at the time and explained away as one of the quirks of the laws of the game.

The Incident In Question

Palace scored in the 55th minute through Joe Ledley and as Leicester tried to get back into the game we were under sustained pressure.

On the Leicester left wing was Jeffrey Schlupp up against Palace right back Joel Ward who were enjoying a good contest against each other.

After about 70 minutes a ball was played out to the left wing. Schlupp put the ball past Ward and ran on the outside of him to go by. Ward tried to force Schupp as wide as he could forcing him to go off the pitch and in doing so the two had hold of each other.

Eventually, Ward fell over through the obvious result of Schlupp pulling him over and he continued down the pitch to put a cross over that almost led to the equaliser for Leicester.

Palace fans were up in arms at the ground and online that no foul was given for the obvious foul on our right back. Surely a foul is a foul even if it is off the pitch?

After the game on Match of The Day the incident was discussed as Alan Pardew mentioned it in his post match comments. The pundits in the studio explained that as the incident happened off the pitch no foul could be awarded.

“Where would the free kick take place?” questioned one pundit. “a player can still be booked though!” added the other pundit.

Palace fans at the time, rightly, wondered if you could kick a player off the pitch or worse and get away with it as long as it happened off the pitch.

Well, it seems either the rules have changed or at the very least they are applied differently to big teams.

Spurs v Huddersfield, 14th April 2019

During the Tottenham Hotspur versus Huddersfield game at their new stadium an incident happened off the field in which Moussa Sissoko was fouled, as shown below.

Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham fouled off the ball and off the pitch

I think there is no doubt whatsoever that the Huddersfield player was late and there is no doubt whatsoever that the incident happened off the field of play. Both can be clearly seen in the picture.

My first reaction was that it couldn’t be a foul for reasons mentioned earlier. To my surprise the referee blew for a foul.

“This will be interesting!” I thought. “I wonder where the free kick will be taken from.

Christian Eriksen takes the resulting free kick inside the pitch boundary

The result was to allow the free kick to be taken inside the boundary of the pitch so either the officials don’t know the laws of the game or Tottenham were awarded special treatment.

In truth, it was probably a bit of both.

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