Sheffield United fall foul of new law in friendly with Real Betis

A new law that sneaked in for this season caught Sheffield United players on the hop in the first half of their friendly with Real Betis in Portugal.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 9:00 pm
Updated Friday, 12th July 2019, 9:01 pm
Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp

While higher profile changes to the laws were flagged up in various summer tournaments, one passed many people by, including it seems, the Blades.

During the first half of their match against the Spaniards, the referee pulled back play for a dropped ball when he was hit by a Betis player’s pass and United won possession.

The bemusement on the faces of Blades appeared to suggest this was a new one on them.

It got worse, though, as later in the half United had the ball in the net but the referee again had blown his whistle after a cross from the right had deflected off the official into the path of Billy Sharp, who slipped it home.

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The official wording of the new ruling says: “If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded.”

One for the players to remember for next time.

The score was 0-0 at the break, with Betis coming closest to scoring, only to be denied by a goal line clearance from Kieron Freeman.

MATCH REPORT FROM JAMES SHIELD IN PORTUGAL TO FOLLOW