Football: Everton remain top of Premier League, as Chris Wood involved in Burnley controversy

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has blasted the new interpretation of the handball law is ruining the game, after a controversial penalty saw his side lose 2-1 to Everton on Sunday (NZ time). 

Referee Kevin Friend awarded Everton a penalty, which was converted by Richarlison, after the ball struck the arm of Palace defender Joel Ward, who appeared to be pulling his arm away from the flight of the ball.

The rule was changed for last season by the  International Football Association Board (IFAB) and is having a bigger impact on the Premier League this season after FIFA insisted all leagues apply the same interpretations and uses of the VAR video referee system.

In practice, the latest interpretations of the handball law are seeing more offences given for what would once have been viewed as accidental handball.

"I think the rule is a nonsense," says Hodgson. "I can't understand how everyone in the game of football - the Premier League, referees, managers and coaches - have allowed this rule to come into operation. It is ruining the game of football, no question of that.

"We can't understand what constitutes a handball and what doesn't. The idea that you can look at this on a screen and this constitutes a handball. It is just an absolute nonsense. I don't want to profit from it or lose from it.

"I predict what will happen is players will start flicking the ball on to a hand and screaming 'handball!'.

"This was a really good game destroyed by a decision. I do not believe in the rule. People in football find it hard to accept."

Meanwhile, All Whites striker Chris Wood has an appeal for a penalty rejected during Burnley's 1-0 defeat to Southampton. 

Southampton's in-form striker Danny Ings grabbed an early goal to secure the win, and the England international has now scored  25 times in 54 games since the start of last season. 

Injury-ravaged Burnley had an appeal for a penalty rejected when Wood went down after Polish defender Jan Bednarek laid his hands on his back and there was more controversy involving the New Zealand international after the break.

Jan Bednarek jumps on Chris Wood.
Jan Bednarek jumps on Chris Wood. Photo credit: Reuters

Wood got behind the Saints defence to latch on to a long ball but the assistant flagged for offside with the Burnley striker continuing his run and putting the ball in the net.

VAR rules instruct officials not to flag or whistle until a move is complete, leading to confusion and frustration on the bench with the Burnley staff believing Wood was onside.

Elsewhere, Manchester United beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 away in the Premier League on Saturday after an incredible finale in which Bruno Fernandes struck the winning goal from the penalty spot in the 100th minute of the game.

Chelsea battled back from three goals down to draw 3-3 at West Bromwich Albion.