Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler says that he would have done the exact same as Luis Suarez after the Uruguyan has come under fire for failing to own up to the referee after handling the ball before scoring the decisive goal against conference side Mansfield Town.
Fowler has been held up as an example of honesty in football after he told the referee not to award a penalty after he fell in the box against Arsenal in 1997.
While commentating on the game ESPN’s Jon Champion branded the handball “the work of a cheat,” and the broadcaster was forced to issue a statement saying they had reprimanded the commentator.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said after the match that Suarez was right not to own up to the infringement saying, “it’s not Luis’s job to do that.
“It’s not been deliberate as it’s pushed up and hit his hand. It’s up to the officials to decide that.”
Former striker Fowler told the club website that he agreed with Rodgers’ reasoning.
“If he has to tell the referee that he handled, do the defenders have to go and tell the ref every time they foul a striker? It’s laughable, it really is.
“Seriously, Suarez did nothing wrong, and I’m amazed at the reaction. I honestly don’t even believe he handled deliberately. The ball is smashed right at his hand from very close range, and he’d need some reactions to have calculated that one.
“You can see by the way his arm bounces above his shoulder after the ball hits him that he isn’t braced for it. That tells you something. I think the way he then knocked the ball in the net he assumed it would be ruled out, but if there’s any criticism, it should be at the referee, not the player.”
SportsNewsIreland.com fact: Fowler scored 120 goals in 236 games during his first spell at Anfield