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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 14:01 UK

Dutch goal correct says ref chief

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Watch Ruud van Nistelrooy's controversial goal

By Andrew McKenzie

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy's opening goal in the win over Italy was legitimate, says Premier League referees' chief Keith Hackett.

Van Nistelrooy looked yards offside when he prodded home from close range.

But it appears he was played onside by defender Christian Panucci, who was lying off the pitch at the time.

"The fact is the assistant was correct; the defender who slid off the field is still regarded as active," Hackett told BBC Sport.

"Christian Panucci went off through contact with his own goalkeeper (Gianluigi) Buffon. He is still considered part of the game."

Uefa general secretary David Taylor said Swedish referee Peter Frojdfeldt and his assistant Stefan Wittberg were absolutely correct in their interpretation.

He told a news conference: "There is a lack of understanding as to why this particular goal was awarded. In fact some television commentators have insisted the goal was clearly offside, but that is not the case.

Dirk Kuyt on Van Nistelrooy's goal

"The player was not offside because in addition to the goalkeeper there was another Italian player in front of the goalscorer. Even though he had fallen off the pitch his position was still relevant for the purposes of the offside law.

"Not many people, even in the game, and I include the players, know this interpretation.

"Incidents like this are very unusual - although I'm informed that there was an incident like this about a month ago in a Swiss Super League match between FC Sion and FC Basel 1893."

Van Nistelrooy stuck out a leg to poke home a Giovanni van Bronckhorst shot, after Italy had initially cleared the ball.

Italy's players were furious with the decision and even the Dutch delayed their celebrations until they were sure the goal had been given.

Italy striker Luca Toni, who was booked for protesting, said: "I looked at the replay during the match and it looked to me as if it was offside.

Phil McNulty
"I said to the referee, 'look at the replay'. But he didn't look so that was that."

It also provoked some angry reaction among the Italian fans when it was replayed on the giant screens inside the Stade de Suisse stadium.

Taylor said Toni's yellow card would stand and that goals wouldstill be replayed on the screens throughout the tournament.

After the game, Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt admitted he was waiting for the goal to be chalked off for offside.

He told BBC Sport: "I thought it was definitely offside but Ruud told me Panucci was in the goal. Maybe he was behind the line but he is still included in the game so he is not offside. But I definitely thought it was at the time - I was looking at the assistant but he didn't wave his flag so we were really happy."

Hackett's comments were also backed up by the chairman of Austria's refereeing commission Gerhard Kapl, who said the decision was "100% correct".

Do you agree with Keith Hackett's ruling? Why not debate the incident or make a suggestion for future editions of You Are The Ref

see also
Netherlands 3-0 Italy
09 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Highlights: Netherlands 3-0 Italy
09 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Van Basten hails 'historic' win
09 Jun 08 |  Netherlands
Netherlands v Italy photos
09 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008

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