Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 33742

Mechanics 10/29/2019

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33739

I cannot hold back any longer !!

What a joke the VAR decision to rule out the Arsenal goal.

It is a joke due to as both Ref McHugh and Grove allude too - the push by the Palace defender.

I agree, that different leagues tolerate different physical level - but surely, any level of push that notably stops or greatly hinders access " as was the case in the the disallowed goal " should be called " particularly, when VAR is the equivalent as being a spectator at home with remote in hand.

It is a joke that this incident was considered to be a 'clear and obvious error' " rubbish!
If you need to go to the slow-mo, frame by frame monitoring of a play, to determine the right outcome - it can hardly be an obvious error !!!!

But the biggest joke is not Atkinson, nor " dare I say it " the Aussie Ref on VAR duties on this occasion. The biggest joke is the decision by the English referring association to say, that the ref is not allowed to view a sideline monitor " as is the general guidance of using VAR.
There was a nice irony late in the telecast of the Arsenal v Palace match that showed the sideline VAR monitor that was clearly 'on', yet, also clearly in a collapsed position that said 'nobody is going to use me'. The commentator had fun with that.

So, why is it that the English leagues can not use the advised practice of the centre ref checking the monitor and making the call themselves.

I'm all good for the VAR official advising the Ref 'I think you need to look at this' - however, how is it that they don't recommend an 'on field' review, as is the generally accepted practice?

We know 'why' -""" they say they don't want to delay or interrupt the flow of the game. What rubbish. the game is already interrupted. Look how long it took in both incidents in the Arsenal v Palace match. I'd prefer another 30 or more second delay while the official goes to the sideline to review.
At least, the call is then still on their shoulders - and how it should be. Sure it is still 'subjective' - but that's fine. If we disagree with their final call - so be it. That's the fabric (and romance) of footy.
The real joke in the English leagues is that the 'subjective' call is not being made by the official in the middle.

The Arsenal v Palace incidents are just one set of incidents. The worry is the trend is there.

Apologies, rant over.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
For me there are two main reasons why this VAR intervention/decision should not have happened. Firstly, it was by no stretch of the imagination, a clear and obvious error for the potential foul by Chambers not to have been given. Secondly, the PGMOL stated that this was a subjective decision by the VAR which is simply not allowed. The VAR protocol is quite clear that the VAR is not to make any decisions, only to relay information to the referee, who is the only official authorised to make decisions regarding play.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The issue for me is the protocols being used by individual associations and the lack of consistency
I understand that PGMOL the referee body in charge of refereeing in the Premier League has advised its referees to only use the monitors sparingly as it is understood to delay the game by up to 90 seconds. That many believe in the English game is too long of a delay.
As a result the decision has been left to the VAR official to convey it verbally to the referee to make the final decision. That to my way of thinking on a matter of judgement is flawed as I would rather see the incident rather than have another referee make the subjective call. Fine if it is a matter of fact such as offside position, ball out of play etc but not on a judgement call. Sure whose judgement is it really then?
I wonder what Referee Martin Aitkinson made of the disallowed goal decision when he saw it again on video.
A few seasons ago I had an incident where an AR got a bit flustered with a flag on an incident inside the penalty area on the goal line. I immediately shouted *corner kick* and that was the decision. At half time I asked the AR what happened at the incident and he said he was going to flag for a penalty kick but forgot the signal. Now here was a perfect example of two views of the same subjective incident. I would not have wanted a penalty signal nor given a penalty kick for the incident. Like the Arsenal incident there was some contact yet not enough in my opinion for a penalty.
Anyway I understand the process is under review by the Premier League managers and they may ask for a change to the monitor use.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
That has been a highly controversial decision - personally I don't think it was the correct one. I think 3 players got tangled up due to nobody's fault - I don't think the attacker acted without due care or attention, so I don't see that a foul was committed. As for the push, again, I just don't see that as being a foul. For one, it's well within the tolerances of how much pushing is permitted in that league. Two, I simply don't think the push had any effect at all. The attacker was leaning forwards a little as a result, but the push didn't cause the tangle - and it was the tangle of the feet that knocked the players over.
Occasionally players just get tangled up.
Now, if both offences were fouls then by the book the referee would have to disallow the goal and award a penalty kick - the pushing foul doesn't mean the tripping foul (if we're going with the argument of that's what has happened) can occur, and a player can't foul to take an advantage.
Though the better solution would be to consider neither of them fouls unless they're so blatant that you have absolutely no choice BUT to go down that path.
But I agree that the referee not using a sideline monitor is just fraught with problems. It's interesting to note that VAR is starting to actually intervene in fouls in that league - for the first few weeks it only intervened in handling offences and offside decisions. So clearly they ARE changing the approach to find a way to work it, but I don't think keeping the referee out of it is the best way to go.
At times the referee may simply have a better view than any camera at the ground. VAR making a decision by themselves doesn't take that into consideration.
The VAR protocol clearly states that the VAR is to communicate their opinion that a clear and obvious error has occurred but NOT the decision to be taken - the referee then makes a final decision based on the referee's own perception and the information from the VAR, and, where appropriate, input from other match officials – VAR-only review.
For objective decisions a VAR-only review can save time - but for incidents like this? Imagine how many different ways you can describe the same incident to completely change how somebody would view it. That process is highly problematic for decisions like this.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33742
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.