Premier League referees made six incorrect VAR tackles in the early part of the season before the World Cup break, which, according to ESPN sources, includes Arsenal’s goal against Manchester United.
An independent panel, made up of three former players and one representative each from the Premier League and PGMOL, assesses all key match events over the weekend and reports back to clubs on Thursday indicating where errors have been committed.
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Howard Webb has now taken over as Chief Refereeing Officer at PGMOL, responsible for improving management standards both on the pitch and in the VAR room. A dedicated VAR coach has been appointed to work with the two full-time VARs and those who take turns at Stockley Park.
Webb will be keen to reduce the number of fouls being made in the VAR room, with the commission reporting that six of his 48 moves this season are incorrect. Sources told ESPN the list of fouls includes the goal Gabriel Martinelli thought he scored to put Arsenal ahead in the 12th minute at Old Trafford when the game was scoreless. The video assistant referee, Lee Mason, advised referee Paul Tierney to disallow the goal due to a foul in the match that Martin Odegaard committed on Christian Eriksen. United went on to win the match 3-1.
Also among the fouls was the decision to have Maxwell Cornet’s late equalizer for West Ham United at Chelsea ruled out for a foul on Jarrod Bowen’s build-up on Edouard Mendy, and an own goal by Newcastle United’s Terek Mitchell that was disallowed for a foul in reinforcement by Joe Willock On goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
The penalty awarded to Brentford at Nottingham Forest, when the VAR ruled that goalkeeper Dean Henderson brought down Yoann Wissa from the penalty spot, was also wrong.
There were several missed tackles too, with ESPN sources revealing that two West Ham goals had to be disallowed for handball in the 3-1 home win over Fulham.
Six incorrect VAR flips
Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa
A penalty kick (recorded on the rebound by Wilfried Zaha) was conceded once by Lucas Digne, minute 55
Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
Maxwell Cornet’s goal ruled out for a crowd foul by Jarrod Bowen on Edouard Mendy, 90th minute
Newcastle 0-0 Crystal Palace
Terek Mitchell’s own goal ruled out for a crowd foul by Joe Willock on Vicente Guaita, min. 51
Man United 3-1 Arsenal
Gabriel Martinelli’s goal ruled out for a reinforcement foul by Martin Odegaard on Christian Eriksen, 12th minute.
Fulham 3-0 Aston Villa
Douglas Luiz was sent off for violent behavior against Aleksandar Mitrović, in the 61st minute
Nottingham Forest 1-3 Brentford
Penalty (scored by Brian Mbeumu) awarded for a foul by Dean Henderson on Yoann Wissa, min. 44
Webb will be visiting all of the Premier League clubs in the new year to meet senior staff and talk about what is expected of referees, try to open a conversation about how things can turn around and discuss the rationale for making the decision. This will include reviewing the Premier League’s VAR implementation and managing predictions.
A decision has not yet been taken on the introduction of semi-automated video technology in the next season, as it is used by FIFA in the World Cup and UEFA in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, the Premier League – in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Ligue 1 France – has made a request to soccer’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Association (IFAB), to trial temporary concussion disabilities from next season.
Currently, the player is evaluated on the field before the doctor decides whether he should be removed from the game. This has led to some disturbing scenes with players determined to stay on the field, including Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand against England, who was eventually substituted after trying to play and come off a second time.
The Premier League wants players taken out of the game and into the medical room to be assessed for 10 minutes, at which point they will either return to the match or the temporary substitute will become permanent.
The IFAB’s annual general meeting is scheduled for March when leagues will be told if they have track permission, but some other European leagues oppose deviating from permanent concussion alternatives.