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W-League: Canberra United asks for please explain from FFA after refereeing blunder

Canberra United chief executive Heather Reid has written to Football Federation Australia referees boss Ben Wilson for an explanation of how a blatant foul was missed, leading to their elimination from the W-League.

Canberra goalkeeper Lydia Williams was clearly obstructed by striker Kyah Simon in the lead-up to the lone goal in their 1-0 semi-final loss to Sydney FC at McKellar Park on Sunday.

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Referee Casey Reibelt inexplicably allowed Jasmyne Spencer's goal to stand, refusing to speak with Canberra captain Nicole Begg and handing Williams a yellow card for dissent.

It's also unclear whether Reibelt consulted the additional assistant referee who was standing on the goal-line for their view of the incident.

Canberra United goalkeeper Lydia Williams is obstructed by Sydney FC striker Kyah Simon.
Canberra United goalkeeper Lydia Williams is obstructed by Sydney FC striker Kyah Simon. Photo: Supplied

The FFA is expected to comment on the incident on Wednesday to allow Wilson the opportunity to review both semi-finals.

"I've written to the head of referees at the FFA and I've expressed my disappointment at the incident that occurred in the 61st minute," Reid said.

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"While I understand the result can't change, we're extremely disappointed with the way in which the matter was handled and I would appreciate his feedback on the way in which it happened.

"Usually in that situation, the goalkeeper is given the benefit of the doubt and the goal shouldn't have been allowed."

This isn't the first game where Canberra has been on the wrong end of a decision from Reibelt.

She also waved away a goal from Ashleigh Sykes in the previous week's 1-1 draw with Adelaide United, deciding Canberra had taken the free kick too quickly.

Canberra had plenty of chances to level the scores in the semi-final, but couldn't find the equaliser which would have sent the game into extra-time.

"I've made it very clear you need to score goals to win the game and Canberra had chances to score and we didn't," Reid said.

"But I made it clear that that incident was the game-changing moment.

"It clearly rocked the team to the point where they struggled to get back into the match."

Fans made their feelings clear with plenty of comments on a post on the W-League's official Facebook page, asking if the goal should have stood.

An FFA spokesman said the performance of match officials was reviewed after every game.

"FFA receives a report from a referee assessor regarding the performance of the match officials following each W-League match," an FFA spokesman said.

"The FFA Director of Referees reviews these reports at the completion of each round (which includes rounds of the W-League finals series) and then provides feedback to the match officials, FFA league management team and clubs as required.

"FFA will not be making any comment regarding any particular incidents until this process has been completed."

Canberra coach Rae Dower said she couldn't afford the fine she would have received if she gave her honest opinion of the incident.

The loss ended Canberra's nine-game unbeaten streak.

Sydney FC will now face premiers Melbourne City in the W-League grand final next Sunday at AAMI Park.