Like it or not, it seems VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is here to stay.
However, people who fear that the introduction of this technology would eliminate all controversy and talking points needn’t have worried.
In fact, it may have had the opposite effect. It’s brought a new level of controversy to football.
In this week’s Champions League knockout round fixtures, there was VAR controversy in almost every fixture.
The biggest talking point was the decision to award Manchester United a late penalty against Paris Saint-Germain when Diogo Dalot’s speculative shot hit Presnel Kimpembe on the arm.
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Marcus Rashford converted the spot-kick and PSG were eliminated from the competition.
However, UEFA have now explained the decision to award the penalty in a statement on their website.
Paris Saint-Germain – Manchester United FC
Penalty award - 90'
“The VAR, after checking various different angles available to him, recommended to the referee an on-field review following the penalty area incident.
“Given that the referee did not recognise the incident clearly during live play (referred to as serious missed incident in the VAR protocol) an on-field review was conducted.
“Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected. The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick.
“All the above-mentioned decisions were made in full compliance with the VAR protocol.”
In fairness to UEFA, it’s a clear and thorough explanation which is hard to argue with.
Some people still believe the decision was wrong - Neymar being one of them - but UEFA’s statement at least explains why a penalty was awarded.
UEFA have also explained why Dusan Tadic’s goal was allowed to stand midway through the second half at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid CF – AFC Ajax
Ball in/out of play - 62’
“There was no conclusive evidence that the ball would have been entirely out of play from all video angles and images that were carefully analysed by the VAR.
“The assistant referee, who was perfectly positioned, had adjudged that the whole ball had not fully crossed the touchline. No on-field review was therefore required. Consequently, the referee was right not to intervene and to allow the goal.”
Interesting. It seems UEFA accepted the assistant referee’s verdict on this occasion - although that decision may have been taken because video replays were inconclusive.
Certain angles suggested the whole ball may have crossed the line but it was impossible to be 100 per cent certain.
UEFA have also reviewed two incidents from the FC Porto v AS Roma match, which you can view HERE.