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19th March 2020

Technology VAR in Premier League: Referee ‘made the wrong call’ on Lo Celso

Technology VAR in Premier League: Referee ‘made the wrong call’ on Lo Celso


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Final Score’s Garth Crooks and Leon Osman react to Giovani lo Celso’s controversial tackle

The video assistant referee “made the wrong call” in failing to send off Tottenham’s Giovani lo Celso against Chelsea, says a leading figure at the body that oversees match officials.

Lo Celso escaped a red card for a tackle on Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chris Foy, head of public engagement at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), says it was a “human error” by VAR official David Coote.

“He will learn from that, he will certainly reflect on it,” said Foy.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Foy – a former Premier League referee – added: “David is a very good referee, he is a human being and human beings make mistakes. Human error played a part in that and it was the wrong call.”

During the game, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Mark Chapman was given a statement by the PGMOL stating Lo Celso’s tackle was not worthy of a red card because “the VAR didn’t feel there was anywhere else for Lo Celso to put his foot”.

However, after the game finished, Chapman posted on social media to say the station had spoken to Stockley Park and, on reflection, “they did think the tackle was a red card”.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said the Lo Celso incident leaves “another huge question mark” over VAR while former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel went as far as suggesting VAR would “ruin football forever” if it was not removed.

There were further incidents involving the technology on Saturday in Bournemouth’s defeat at Burnley and Manchester City’s win at Leicester.

VAR was introduced in the Premier League this season but has been criticised for its inconsistencies in decision making as well as for the time it takes for rulings to be made killing the excitement of matches.

Foy admits there have been teething issues but says patience is needed as the game adjusts to the technology.

“I refereed in the Premier League for 15 years and this is the biggest change I’ve seen in my refereeing time,” he said. “You have to remember that we have not even had a full season with VAR and it will take two or three years (to adjust to it).

“There is a lot of feeling out there, but if I was still refereeing I would have loved VAR.”


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