May 14, 2021

Man Utd

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Ex-Premier League referee slams VAR following Manchester United controversy

2 min read

A former Premier League match official has claimed referees also dislike the use of VAR amid a critical assessment of the technology.

VAR was once again in the spotlight during Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Tottenham, where on another day the game could have been decided by an extremely controversial decision.

In the first-half, Edinson Cavani latched onto Paul Pogba’s pass to dispatch a cool finish through the legs of Hugo Lloris – only to see the goal disallowed following a VAR review.

The decision was made as, during the build-up, Son Heung-Min was caught by a trailing arm from Scott McTominay – though the contact was extremely minimal and the reaction was exaggerated.


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An explanation from the PGMOL said: “It wasn’t part of McTominay’s natural running movement. And it was careless” – which led to ridicule from Roy Keane and the other pundits on duty for Sky Sports’ coverage of the game.

Fortunately for United, they fought back in the second period to take all three points with a stellar victory but the scenario could have been entirely different.

Now, speaking anonymously, a former match official compared the incident to an earlier event in the Premier League, where Newcastle United were denied a penalty despite an extremely high boot from Burnley defender James Tarkowski, and stated officials were ‘just as frustrated as anyone else’.

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“A kick to the head is not a foul, but a player collapsing after his face is barely touched is and we have the PGMOL coming out with all sorts of crap to justify the decisions and we wonder why there’s no trust in the process,” an ex-match official told the Independent.

“I have spoken to a few refs from the Select Group and they are as frustrated as everyone else. Some hate being a VAR because it is a completely different job to actually reffing a game on the pitch.

“Some feel like they are being undermined by Stockley Park. I don’t know any official who agrees with the way offside is being reviewed and it doesn’t help when instead of admitting mistakes, the PGMOL tell us why wrong is right. We are talking about decisions more than we ever have because VAR is creating problems to solve.”

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