NWSL: Bad Call in Reign v Thorns Wasn't Exactly "Wrong"

But it wasn't exactly right?

I had a brief chat with NWSL spokesman Patrick Donnelly today concerning the controversial call in last Saturday's Reign v Thorns game.

In case you haven't caught up: The Thorns beat the Reign in that game after making a penalty kick that resulted from a foul called in the 84th minute by referee Margaret Domka. It appeared at the time, however, that no foul had occurred.

Today, the Professional Referees Organization, which oversees all NWSL officials, issued this statement concerning the call:

"After a pass is made from Christine Sinclair to Allie Long, referee Margaret Domka witnessed Seattle Reign defender Kristen Meier hold Allie Long inside the penalty area to prevent her from gaining possession of the ball, and called a penalty kick. The available video evidence does not show this hold to have significantly impacted Long's ability to play the ball prior to being cleared by the Seattle defense, and play should have been allowed to continue."

I asked Donnelly a few questions about this, which I'll get to, but here is the most interesting part, verbatim:

JW: Does the NWSL have a policy or protocol concerning situations like this, when a call is shown to be wrong post facto?

PD: The last part of your question where you say it was "wrong post facto"--they didn't say it was wrong, they said it wasn't necessary, in the PRO's explanation.

So what does that mean exactly? That a foul could have occurred, it just was not a good judgment call?

PD: Correct. That's the way I would read it.

So, there's that. I have contacted PRO for more clarification and am awaiting their reply.

Meantime, Donnelly also said that the PRO statement will have no influence or effect on any potential fines or disciplinary action that might occur in response to comments made by players and coaches from both teams after the game. When asked whether Domka (or other officials in the future) face possible disciplinary action after such a questionable call, Donnelly said that was a matter for PRO.

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