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The Standard – Kenya: VAR incorrectly overturned four key Premier League decisions on-field refs got right | The Standard



VAR has come under increasing scrutiny. [Courtesy]

Premier League VAR officials incorrectly overturned four big decisions in recent weeks, in what referees chief Mike Riley describes as “the worst outcome” of the new system.

The new technology has come under increasing scrutiny since its introduction into the English top-flight this season, with some fans and pundits calling for it to be reviewed or scrapped until it can be improved.

Decisions such as the failure to award a penalty for a handball by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold against Manchester City before the international break, with Reds midfielder Fabinho scoring at the other end seconds later, have been criticised.

VAR didn’t intervene to overturn referee Michael Oliver on that occasion, but the Mail Online has now revealed the four incidents in which the changing of the on-field referee’s decision by the VAR was the wrong call.

“The worst outcome is when the referee on the field makes the right decision and the VAR intervenes to make wrong decision,” said Riley, the former Premier League official who now heads up the Professional Game Match Officials Board.

“It will happen. That is part of the balance of understanding of what is clear and obvious.

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“Look at any country that has put in VAR, everyone has to go through a learning curve. We are going through that now.”

Arsenal were denied a late winner against Crystal Palace last month. [Courtesy]

The review has concluded that the VAR was wrong to disallow Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ late goal for Arsenal against Crystal Palace last month, with the match finishing in a 2-2 draw amid controversy surrounding Granit Xhaka.

In addition, it is said that Brighton shouldn’t have been awarded a penalty against Everton last month when Michael Keane stepped on Aaron Connolly’s foot in a game at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls went on score the spot-kick and win 3-2.

Brighton’s penalty against Everton also shouldn’t have been given. [Courtesy]

The on-field referees also failed to point to the spot when Manchester United’s Daniel James was ‘fouled’ by Norwich defender Ben Godfrey, and Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu went down in the vicinity of Chelsea’s Jorginho.

Both were eventually given as penalties, but the on-field official’s initial decision should have been allowed to stand.

Daniel James was wrongly awarded a penalty at Norwich. [Courtesy]

Despite the problems, Riley is pleading with fans to give the system more of a chance.

“Let’s not look at what might have happened so far,” he continued.

“Let’s take all these learnings and go how do we improve the system going forward because we’ve all got a stake in making sure that happens.”


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