After two UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg games were decided by penalty kicks awarded via VAR, European soccer’s governing body has released a statement detailing why both decisions were made.
That was rather nice of them, wasn’t it?
Manchester United’s dramatic 90th minute winner at Paris Saint-Germain came via a handball decision made by the on-field referee after reviewing the TV monitor on the side of the pitch, while Porto’s winning spot kick in the 116th minute of their clash against Roma was also given with the help of VAR.
Here is the explanation, in full, of the decision to hand Man United a penalty kick against PSG.
“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.”
And here is the explanation for FC Porto being awarded a penalty kick in the 116th minute
“The VAR, after checking the offside line – which confirmed the attacker to be onside – asked the referee if he had seen the holding offence committed by the AS Roma defender. The referee confirmed he was unaware of any holding during live play and he asked for the images to be prepared to allow him to conduct an on-field review (serious missed incident). The review convinced the referee that a penalty kick should be awarded for a holding offence.”
Now, these explanations do act to clear up the thinking behind the decisions and why the referee and/or his video assistants came to the decision they did.
But some of the reasoning given for United’s penalty at PSG raised a few eyebrows, especially with the line saying “the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected.”
If you accept that opinion on certain calls will not disappear with the introduction of VAR, then that will probably allow you to sleep at night…