Following Thursday’s round of games in the English Premier League, where Everton played out a 1:1 draw with Southampton, followed by a very dour goalless draw by Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur, and then by Aston Villa’s 0:3 loss to Manchester United, the hierarchy of the League has described as wrong, all penalty decisions made by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). The Premier League confirmed United and Southampton should not have been given penalties, but Tottenham should have been awarded one.
2. Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0:0)
In the Bournemouth game, England forward, Harry Kane appeared to have been pushed by Joshua King, while trying to head home from a corner kick, but the VAR turned a blind eye to it.
The Harry Kane penalty appeal.
This angered Tottenham manager, Jose Mourinho, a great deal, to which he said, “The game had the most important moment – you know when, you know who.”
Mourinho told BBC that he feels “powerful people do not like to be criticised”.
Asked to clarify who he was referring to, Mourinho said, “The same referee that was the VAR against Sheffield United. In the world, everybody knows that is a penalty. And I say everybody, I mean everybody.”
Mourinho wasn’t pleased with the officiating.
“Like Sheffield, the man of the match was not one of the players. But at Sheffield I could blame myself and the players, today I could not do that,” Mourinho lamented.
BBC Match of the Day pundit Dion Dublin said, “It’s clear because Harry is setting himself ready to head that ball and he gets fouled. It is a penalty.”
Former Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Celtic player, Dublin.
2. Aston Villa vs. Manchester United (0:3)
Manchester United also got a wrong penalty call, from which Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandez converted to give them the lead.
The Portuguese pirouetted on the ball and appeared to catch Villa defender Ezri Konsa’s leg – but referee Jon Moss awarded a penalty, a decision supported by VAR.
Bruno wasn’t fouled, instead he fouled Konsa by stepping on his shin.
Fernandes scored from the spot to set United on their way to victory and leave Villa four points from safety.
The Premier League match centre told Match of the Day, “It was the wrong decision. It should have been overturned by VAR but wasn’t and should actually have been a foul on Konsa.”
Villa boss Dean Smith called it a “disgraceful decision”.
Villa Boss, Smith, called the decision “disgraceful.”
“I can understand Jon [Moss, referee] getting it wrong but I don’t know what VAR are looking at,” he said. “They have a screen they can go and look at it but they don’t seem to be bothered.
“Fernandes is trying a double drag-back – his first touch is on the ball, his second touch is on Ezri Konsa’s shin.”
On his part, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, disagreed.
“I think it’s a penalty. The boy sticks out his leg, Fernandes does a fantastic Zidane, Maradona turn and he lands on him,” he said.
To United Boss, Solskjaer, it was a Maradona-like turn by Bruno.
Dublin, who played for both clubs, said, “It’s clearly, in our opinion, not a penalty.
“Anybody who has played the game knows what Fernandes is trying to do. He does the turn and he gets it wrong. He puts his stud on Konsa’s shin. It changed the game.
“VAR is there to say has the referee made an error and they didn’t think he had. That might cost Villa millions.”
Former Everton midfielder, Tim Cahill also said, “It’s a big mistake. I feel for Aston Villa. This totally goes against them. VAR needs to step in and it needs to protect the players as well.”
3. Everton vs. Southampton (1:1)
The Premier League also confirmed Southampton should not have had a penalty against Everton.
Ward-Prowse ‘won’ a penalty against Everton, but failed to convert it. Payback?
Ward-Prowse appeared to fall into the standing Andre Gomes, although he missed the penalty as he hit the crossbar.
“The performance of the referee was like my team, not so good,” said Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“Straightaway we said no penalty,” said MOTD pundit Cahill.
Tim Cahill, also said a former player should be involved to work alongside the VAR officials at Stockley Park.
Former Everton and Australia midfielder, Cahill.
“I think that would really help them, to understand the movements,” the former Australia international said.
“When a player falls to buy a penalty you can feel it. It must need a player there to give advice on what the player is doing.
“They’re there to make the big decisions and they can’t do it. It’s really disappointing.”
FIFA is taking over direct responsibility of VAR from football rulemakers IFAB and is expected to insist on greater consistency across more than 100 global leagues, on issues such as the use of pitchside monitors.
There has been confusion in the Premier League, with referees’ chief Mike Riley limiting the use of monitors to not slow the game down.
Referee chief, Mike Riley.
Although Fifa has declared VAR to be “a universal success”, the lack of pitchside monitors in the Premier League went against the general guidance and the expectation is Fifa will expect this to be used more extensively.
In addition, rules around handball, offside and goalkeepers standing on their lines for penalty kicks will all be dealt with through Fifa, with clarification expected for next season, which individual leagues will be expected to adhere to.