Saturday October 5th, 2013

Tim Howard was credited with an own goal off Sergio Agüero's penalty kick on Saturday. Tim Howard was credited with an own goal off Sergio Agüero's penalty kick on Saturday. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

One of the great things about soccer is the subjectivity of many of the sport's rules and regulations. There are just 17 laws in FIFA's Laws Of The Game, and though those are strictly enforced most everywhere there's a considerable amount of stuff that simply doesn't get covered. Own goals, and the process by which one should "award" them, is not addressed anywhere in soccer's worldwide rulebook.

All of which brings us to Manchester City's third goal in their 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday, which came via a penalty kick from Sergio Agüero (with a little help from Tim Howard). GIF after the jump.

tim-howard-og

Was it a goal? Of course. But who scored it? According to the Premier League's official record, it's an own goal to Howard. That decision spawned much conversation and soapboxing on Twitter in the goal's aftermath, including this little back-and-forth on Twitter between the AP's Simon Evans, ESPN's Paul Carr, Elias Sports Bureau's Peter Hirdt, and SI's own Brian Straus:

https://twitter.com/PCarrESPN/status/386487238886182912

https://twitter.com/PeterHirdt/status/386502330503675904

https://twitter.com/BrianStraus/status/386503986448039936

https://twitter.com/BrianStraus/status/386507578462593024

https://twitter.com/BrianStraus/status/386509850756149249

The PDF linked at the beginning of the conversation is a FIFA fact sheet on own goals at the World Cup. To quote from said fact sheet:

Own goals are rare in FIFA World Cup finals and they are often surrounded by confusion about whether the attacker should be awarded the goal or not. To help resolve these kinds of issues, FIFA published guidelines in 1997 classifying an own goal as when a player plays the ball directly into his own net or when he redirects an opponent's shot, cross, or pass into his own goal. Shots that are on target (i.e. goal-bound) and touch a defender or rebound from the goal frame and bounce off a defender or goalkeeper are not considered own goals.

So that's how own goals are determined in the World Cup. But this is obviously not the World Cup. So what standard should the Premier League use? Should Howard get the own goal, or should Agüero have added another to his tally?

As Linda Richman would say: coffee_talk_linda_richman1

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