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HomeSportsRe-Writing History: What sporting results should be overturned?

Re-Writing History: What sporting results should be overturned?

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Sport has always been filled with controversial moments, with officiating blunders leading to many teams or individuals being ‘robbed’ of potential greatness.

Unfortunately, the old saying of “the referee’s decision is final” means that results can’t be overturned and this has led to many injustices over the years. 

But this week, Australian boxing icon Jeff Fenech was retroactively awarded his fourth world title, and had the result of his controversial fight with Azumah Nelson 31 years ago overturned.

So that got us thinking – what other historical sporting results should be overturned due to refereeing decisions?

The Sporting News had a dig through the archives and found plenty of wrongs that should be made right. 

Cowboys vs Tigers, 2022 NRL season

Let’s start with the most recent and obvious example.

In Round 19 of the 2022 NRL season, North Queensland – who were one of the leading sides all year – narrowly escaped with a win over wooden spooners, Wests Tigers.

Down by one point with just one second remaining, the Cowboys received a highly-controversial penalty off the kick-off and nailed the goal to give them the win.

Wests even launched a formal complaint to the NRL and were seeking for the result to be overturned, but they were unsuccessful in their attempt. 

Argentina vs England, 1986 FIFA World Cup

Perhaps the most famous missed call from a referee in sporting history, Diego Maradona and the ‘Hand of God’ in the 1986 FIFA World Cup proved to be a major turning point in the tournament. 

Six minutes after half-time with the score at 0-0 between Argentina and England, Maradona would jump up to head the ball in for a goal. The only issue was, replays showed a clear handball from the legendary footballer. 

Back then, VAR didn’t exist and the goal stood, with Argentina going on to win the match 2-1 and win the entire tournament with a victory over West Germany. 

Italy vs Australia, 2006 FIFA World Cup

This is still a sore point for many Aussie football fans.

With the scores tied at 0-0 and just seconds left in regular time during the 2006 World Cup clash between the Socceroos and Italy, Lucas Neil was penalised for a dubious tackle inside the box.

Replays would show Fabio Grosso took a clear dive, but there was nothing the Aussies could do as Francesco Totti slotted the penalty and gave the Azzurri victory.

In the coming weeks, Italy would go on to win the entire tournament. Fast-forward to 2022, and they can’t even qualify. 

England vs Australia, 2019 Ashes

This match will always be remembered for Ben Stokes and his remarkable innings to help England to victory – but there was one umpiring decision that was an absolute howler.

With the hosts needing two runs to win at Headingley, Nathan Lyon trapped Stokes in front and the entire Australian side went up to appeal for LBW. Unfortunately, on-field umpire Aleem Dar turned it down and with the Aussies already burning their reviews, there was nothing they could do.

Moments later, Stokes would crunch the ball through the off-side and England would secure the win in dramatic fashion. 

Australia did win retain The Ashes, drawing the series 2-2, but it’s clear by this decision that they should have won the series. 

Geelong vs St Kilda, 2009 AFL Grand Final

This is a tough one to look back on for many fans, even after 13 years. 

In the second quarter of the 2009 AFL Grand Final between St Kilda and Geelong, the Saints were in control of the game heading into the half-time break.

But a goal that was awarded to Tom Hawkins put the Cats in front, despite replays showing the ball connecting with the post. 

Geelong would go on to win the game by 12 points and shatter the hearts of St Kilda fans across the nation. 

Roar vs Glory, 2012 A-League Grand Final

Win at all costs is something that can be attributed to many players throughout sporting history – but perhaps none more so than Besart Berisha.

One of the greatest overseas imports the A-League has seen, Berisha remains the all-time leading goal-scorer in the competition’s history with 142. 

But his sneaky dive for Brisbane in the dying stages of the 2012 grand final against is one of the more unsavoury moments in A-League, handing the Roar the title in controversial circumstances after he slotted the penalty. 

Sharks vs Cowboys, 2013 NRL finals series

Perhaps a forgotten moment in modern rugby league – unless you’re a Cowboys fan.

In an elimination final between the Sharks and Cowboys in 2013, Cronulla were awarded a try early in the game that occurred on the 7th tackle of their set. Bear in mind, back then there was no such thing as a six-again or a seven-tackle restart. 

North Queensland would ultimately lose the match by two points, leaving head coach Neil Henry furious and demanding answers from the NRL in his post-game press conference. 

“How can two men out there, experienced, full-time referees, two touch judges, two blokes up in a video box not be counting?,” he said. 

“It’s a schoolboy error. It’s something you don’t see out there in QLD Cup, you don’t see at the local A Grade.

“If you were a conspiracy theorist you’d go – hang on, they’re so Sydney-centric here that we don’t really care about the boys up north.

“The press talks about the ideal grand final, Souths and Roosters, bring it on. Don’t worry about Melbourne, they’ve won a couple and they’re down there. Don’t worry about North Queensland.

“Yeah, well we’ve just been dudded an opportunity to maybe make a dent in this competition. Where’s our pull? We’re out of sight out of mind up there.”

Cronulla would go on to be eliminated by Manly the following week, while the Cowboys would again be on the receiving end of a controversial call against the Roosters a year later, before finally winning their maiden title in 2015. 

Victory vs Jets, 2018 A-League Grand Final

While perhaps not as memorable as the 2012 A-League decider due to the circumstances and time in the game, the VAR blunder that saw Kosta Barboureses awarded a goal in 2018 was a bad look for the competition.

Early in the Victory’s 1-0 win over the Jets, Barboureses scored in the ninth minute in scrappy circumstances, despite indications that James Donachie was offside in delivering the assist.

Unfortunately for Newcastle, the technology failed them and an untimely VAR ‘glitch’ meant the footage was unable to be shown and the goal stood. 

Melbourne would win the match 1-0 and seal their fourth championship. 

Armando Galarraga’s perfect game, 2010 MLB season

While this isn’t a team losing or a result gone wrong, Armando Galarraga was clearly robbed of a ‘perfect game’ by MLB officials back in 2010. 

Instead of trying to explain it in words, watch the video below for a full explanation of why Galarraga should be alongside 23 others in the history of the competition. 

Storm vs Dragons, 2014 NRL season

St George Illawarra were absolutely dudded in this 2014 NRL clash, and it came back to bite them in the latter stages of the season.

Leading by two points with just seconds left on the clock, the Red V scrambled to make what should have been the final tackle of the game. 

But after the siren sounded, Melbourne played the ball and the referees allowed play to continue, with a litany of kicks and passes leading to a last-ditch try for the Storm and a late victory.

For the Dragons, this loss would prove costly, missing out on the finals by two points. It’s a tough game, rugby league. 

Credit: sportingnews.com

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