Ex-top flight official Keith Hackett has berated the random, inconsistent usage of VAR in the Premier League this season.
His comments come after Tottenham’s 2-0 home victory over Manchester City was blighted by more VAR controversy as multiple decisions were subject to lengthy reviews.
Manchester City were awarded a penalty after Serge Aurier was adjudged to have fouled Sergio Agüero at the end of the first half. Though the actual decision was not disputed by many, the time it took to make the decision has received widespread criticism.
There were four minutes between the foul and the spot-kick being given, as the ball had not left the field of play meaning Mike Dean could not bring the incident back.
Speaking to Love Sport’s Breakfast show, former Referee Keith Hackett did not hold back on his views on VAR’s influence on the tie.
“I think the VAR should have intervened much quicker, at first look it’s a penalty kick. It’s a clear one. Then, the VAR - it’s bizarre. Play continues for about 2 minutes and then Mike gets in his ear it’s a penalty kick, probably something he was looking for in terms of confirmation.”
It wasn’t just the original penalty decision that left Hackett angered, he fumed over multiple of Mike Dean’s calls; “Then we have the penalty kick, the first error - Lloris is off his line, not by an inch but by a mile. The ball goes to the left hand side, then Sterling is down after Lloris challenges him, Dean awards a penalty kick VAR intervenes and says Mike you’ve got it wrong.”
“It’s a mess, we have a top referee here who’s in top form - he’s missed the first penalty kick, he’s missed the red card because there is no question that Sterling’s challenge on Alli is a red card offence. Some bizarre and shocking refereeing, particularly the VAR on this one.”
Hackett has questioned why referees are either reluctant to to use the pitch-side monitors, or have been told not to.
“The impact psychologically on referees is there for all to see, we’ve got some referees who are hesitating with their decisions.”
“What we’ve got here is our top referee Mike Dean, most experienced referee in form, he’s not seen the first penalty kick so the game is allowed to continue. He should have been advised immediately ‘look this is a penalty kick.’ Go to the pitch-side monitor to calm the emotion down and then make the right call. I want to know why Kevin Friend didn’t intervene on the Sterling challenge to say that’s the red card.”
“Here is a situation where Mike Dean should have gone to the screen, had a look himself and then come back and sort it.”
“He’s missed the first penalty kick, he’s missed the red card because there is no question that Sterling’s challenge on Alli is a red card offence. Some bizarre and shocking refereeing, particularly from VAR on this one.”
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