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Mauricio Pochettino’s side are looking to bolster their defensive options with the signing of the Egypt international
Tottenham Hotspur join Ahmed Hegazi chase
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are looking to bolster their defensive options with the signing of the Egypt international
<p> FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File) </p>
'You'll Never Walk Alone' is a hit from Broadway to Kiev

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing &quot;You&#39;ll Never Walk Alone&quot; during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. “I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the club&#39;s history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium,” said Pochettino. &#9997;️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 “This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years.” The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150m overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Manchester United target Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing with Spurs also willing to listen to offers for left-back Danny Rose and midfielder Mousa Dembele. Telegraph Sport told you so | How Matt Law led the way In terms of incoming players, Pochettino has targeted the likes of forwards Anthony Martial and Wilfried Zaha, left-back Ryan Sessegnon and central defender Matthijs de Ligt. Martial is also a target of Chelsea, but the Frenchman is thought to be keen on the idea of moving to Spurs to work under Pochettino. The former Southampton manager wants Spurs to do their business as early as possible and the swift announcement of his contract will help the club try to attract new players ahead of their rivals. “Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club,” added Pochettino. “We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. “This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this club deserves.” Daniel Levy says he is &#39;delighted&#39; at the news Credit: Getty images Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new deals over the coming weeks and months. Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. His new deal also means Pochettino will earn around £3m more than new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who was this week confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor. As well as Pochettino, there are new Tottenham contracts for his staff – Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Toni Jimenez. Levy said: “I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the club enters the next phase in its history. “Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year Tottenham contract worth £42.5m
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. “I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the club's history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium,” said Pochettino. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 “This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years.” The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150m overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Manchester United target Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing with Spurs also willing to listen to offers for left-back Danny Rose and midfielder Mousa Dembele. Telegraph Sport told you so | How Matt Law led the way In terms of incoming players, Pochettino has targeted the likes of forwards Anthony Martial and Wilfried Zaha, left-back Ryan Sessegnon and central defender Matthijs de Ligt. Martial is also a target of Chelsea, but the Frenchman is thought to be keen on the idea of moving to Spurs to work under Pochettino. The former Southampton manager wants Spurs to do their business as early as possible and the swift announcement of his contract will help the club try to attract new players ahead of their rivals. “Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club,” added Pochettino. “We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. “This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this club deserves.” Daniel Levy says he is 'delighted' at the news Credit: Getty images Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new deals over the coming weeks and months. Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. His new deal also means Pochettino will earn around £3m more than new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who was this week confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor. As well as Pochettino, there are new Tottenham contracts for his staff – Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Toni Jimenez. Levy said: “I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the club enters the next phase in its history. “Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. “I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the club&#39;s history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium,” said Pochettino. &#9997;️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 “This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years.” The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150m overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Manchester United target Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing with Spurs also willing to listen to offers for left-back Danny Rose and midfielder Mousa Dembele. Telegraph Sport told you so | How Matt Law led the way In terms of incoming players, Pochettino has targeted the likes of forwards Anthony Martial and Wilfried Zaha, left-back Ryan Sessegnon and central defender Matthijs de Ligt. Martial is also a target of Chelsea, but the Frenchman is thought to be keen on the idea of moving to Spurs to work under Pochettino. The former Southampton manager wants Spurs to do their business as early as possible and the swift announcement of his contract will help the club try to attract new players ahead of their rivals. “Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club,” added Pochettino. “We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. “This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this club deserves.” Daniel Levy says he is &#39;delighted&#39; at the news Credit: Getty images Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new deals over the coming weeks and months. Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. His new deal also means Pochettino will earn around £3m more than new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who was this week confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor. As well as Pochettino, there are new Tottenham contracts for his staff – Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Toni Jimenez. Levy said: “I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the club enters the next phase in its history. “Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year Tottenham contract worth £42.5m
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. “I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the club's history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium,” said Pochettino. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 “This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years.” The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150m overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Manchester United target Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing with Spurs also willing to listen to offers for left-back Danny Rose and midfielder Mousa Dembele. Telegraph Sport told you so | How Matt Law led the way In terms of incoming players, Pochettino has targeted the likes of forwards Anthony Martial and Wilfried Zaha, left-back Ryan Sessegnon and central defender Matthijs de Ligt. Martial is also a target of Chelsea, but the Frenchman is thought to be keen on the idea of moving to Spurs to work under Pochettino. The former Southampton manager wants Spurs to do their business as early as possible and the swift announcement of his contract will help the club try to attract new players ahead of their rivals. “Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club,” added Pochettino. “We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. “This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this club deserves.” Daniel Levy says he is 'delighted' at the news Credit: Getty images Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new deals over the coming weeks and months. Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. His new deal also means Pochettino will earn around £3m more than new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who was this week confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor. As well as Pochettino, there are new Tottenham contracts for his staff – Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Toni Jimenez. Levy said: “I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the club enters the next phase in its history. “Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/Files
FILE PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/Files
El entrenador de Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, saluda a los simpatizantes de su equipo tras el partido con el Leicester City en el estadio Wembley en Londres, Reino Unido, 13 de mayo de 2018. Imagen de archivo. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Imagen de archivo del entrenador Mauricio Pochettino
El entrenador de Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, saluda a los simpatizantes de su equipo tras el partido con el Leicester City en el estadio Wembley en Londres, Reino Unido, 13 de mayo de 2018. Imagen de archivo. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Pochettino signs new Spurs deal - manager profile
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Pochettino signs new Spurs deal - manager profile
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Pochettino signs new Spurs deal - manager profile
Mauricio Pochettino has ended speculation about his future at Tottenham Hotspur by signing a new five-year deal at the club.
Mauricio Pochettino ist seit 2014 Trainer von Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino ist seit 2014 Trainer von Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino ist seit 2014 Trainer von Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur kann weiterhin mit Mauricio Pochettino planen. Der Coach der Spurs hat seinen Vertrag bis 2023 verlängert.
Tottenham-Coach Mauricio Pochettino verlängert Vertrag bis 2023
Tottenham Hotspur kann weiterhin mit Mauricio Pochettino planen. Der Coach der Spurs hat seinen Vertrag bis 2023 verlängert.
Jose Mourinho is hoping to make Fred his first signing of a busy summer as Manchester United move closer to securing an initial £44 million deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for the Brazil midfielder. United are also hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to do their transfer business early in the pursuit of £50 million plus rated Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Fred, 25, who is represented by Gilberto Silva, the former Arsenal midfielder, is due in the north west when Brazil play Croatia in a friendly at Anfield on Sunday week and Mourinho wants a deal wrapped up before the energetic defensive midfielder flies to Russia for the World Cup finals. The fee could top £50 million with add ons. Shakhtar have lined up Maycon from Corinthians as a replacement. Manchester City had been the original frontrunners for Fred, who had set his sights on a move to the Premier League champions in January. But City cooled their interest when United entered the bidding and Shakhtar inflated the price, prompting Etihad officials to eventually walk away and turn their attentions instead to Jorginho, Napoli’s Italy midfielder. City backed out of a deal for Alexis Sanchez in similar circumstances after balking at the sums involved before the Chile striker moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in January. Can Mourinho be trusted to spend effectively this summer? Assuming Paul Pogba stays at United this summer, Mourinho envisages Fred forming a midfield trio with the Frenchman and Nemanja Matic. However, Mourinho will be forced into the market for another midfielder if Marouane Fellaini leaves with the Belgian still to agree a new contract and/or a huge offer is tabled for Pogba and the manager opts to cash in. It promises to be a hectic summer at United, with Mourinho also targeting two full backs and a winger in addition to a centre-half. The prospect of making five signings may be optimistic, though, given how a shortened transfer window is compounded by the World Cup. Mourinho would also like Alderweireld in place before the start of the World Cup on June 14 but negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has proven a taxing experience in the past. Nonetheless, Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in private talks, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist their efforts with Alderweireld. Hit or miss? | Mourinho&#39;s United signings It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld is available for £25 million next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is under pressure from Mourinho to move swiftly but it remains to be seen if he is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value. Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49 million asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are thought to be opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could break down and force United to pursue other targets. Defenders Matteo Darmian, who is attracted interest from Juventus, and Daley Blind, who Inter, Roma and Ajax are monitoring, will head a clear out at Old Trafford.
Fred moves closer to joining Man Utd in £44m transfer
Jose Mourinho is hoping to make Fred his first signing of a busy summer as Manchester United move closer to securing an initial £44 million deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for the Brazil midfielder. United are also hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to do their transfer business early in the pursuit of £50 million plus rated Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Fred, 25, who is represented by Gilberto Silva, the former Arsenal midfielder, is due in the north west when Brazil play Croatia in a friendly at Anfield on Sunday week and Mourinho wants a deal wrapped up before the energetic defensive midfielder flies to Russia for the World Cup finals. The fee could top £50 million with add ons. Shakhtar have lined up Maycon from Corinthians as a replacement. Manchester City had been the original frontrunners for Fred, who had set his sights on a move to the Premier League champions in January. But City cooled their interest when United entered the bidding and Shakhtar inflated the price, prompting Etihad officials to eventually walk away and turn their attentions instead to Jorginho, Napoli’s Italy midfielder. City backed out of a deal for Alexis Sanchez in similar circumstances after balking at the sums involved before the Chile striker moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in January. Can Mourinho be trusted to spend effectively this summer? Assuming Paul Pogba stays at United this summer, Mourinho envisages Fred forming a midfield trio with the Frenchman and Nemanja Matic. However, Mourinho will be forced into the market for another midfielder if Marouane Fellaini leaves with the Belgian still to agree a new contract and/or a huge offer is tabled for Pogba and the manager opts to cash in. It promises to be a hectic summer at United, with Mourinho also targeting two full backs and a winger in addition to a centre-half. The prospect of making five signings may be optimistic, though, given how a shortened transfer window is compounded by the World Cup. Mourinho would also like Alderweireld in place before the start of the World Cup on June 14 but negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has proven a taxing experience in the past. Nonetheless, Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in private talks, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist their efforts with Alderweireld. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld is available for £25 million next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is under pressure from Mourinho to move swiftly but it remains to be seen if he is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value. Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49 million asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are thought to be opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could break down and force United to pursue other targets. Defenders Matteo Darmian, who is attracted interest from Juventus, and Daley Blind, who Inter, Roma and Ajax are monitoring, will head a clear out at Old Trafford.
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018 file photo, Tottenham Hotspur&#39;s manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives for the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, in London, England. Tottenham announced on Thursday May 24, 2018 that Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has signed a new five-year contract, tying him to the Premier League club until 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018 file photo, Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives for the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, in London, England. Tottenham announced on Thursday May 24, 2018 that Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has signed a new five-year contract, tying him to the Premier League club until 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018 file photo, Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives for the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, in London, England. Tottenham announced on Thursday May 24, 2018 that Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has signed a new five-year contract, tying him to the Premier League club until 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino
FILE PHOTO: Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 9, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino has been a huge success since joining Tottenham from Southampton in 2014.
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year contract at Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino has been a huge success since joining Tottenham from Southampton in 2014.
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Pochettino has demanded Tottenham back him in the transfer market this summer Credit: AP Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150million overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing. But Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new contracts. &#9997;️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. In a statement on the club&#39;s official website, Pochettino said: &quot;I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the Club&#39;s history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium. &quot;This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years. Daniel Levy says he is &#39;delighted&#39; at the news Credit: Getty images &quot;Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club. We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. &quot;This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this Club deserves.&quot; Spurs chairman Daniel Levy added: &quot;I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the Club enters the next phase in its history. Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.&quot;
Mauricio Pochettino signs new five-year Tottenham contract worth £42.5m
Mauricio Pochettino has handed Tottenham Hotspur a huge boost by signing a new five-year contract worth up to £8.5million-a-year. The deal, which runs to 2023, makes Pochettino one of the highest earning managers in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. The Argentine has been rewarded for guiding Spurs into the Champions League for a third successive season and means he will lead the club into the new stadium. Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the admirers of Pochettino, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has convinced the 46-year-old that he can achieve his ambitions in North London. The timing of the new contract could not be better for Spurs with Zinedine Zidane’s future likely to be the subject of debate after Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool. Pochettino has demanded Tottenham back him in the transfer market this summer Credit: AP Telegraph Sport revealed last month that Tottenham were confident Pochettino would recommit himself to the club this summer. He raised doubts over his future by urging Levy to back him in entering a new phase with Spurs, but the pair held positive talks last week and have now struck an agreement. Pochettino plans a £150million overhaul of his Tottenham squad this summer to try to secure a first piece of silverware with the club. Toby Alderweireld is expected to head the list of players departing. But Pochettino’s new contract will help Spurs keep all their stars with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen all set to be offered new contracts. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/Ao8MAbh9zh— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 24, 2018 Pochettino’s previous Tottenham contract, which ran to 2021, was worth around £5.5m, meaning he has earned a £3m pay rise for his work over the last two years. In a statement on the club's official website, Pochettino said: "I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the Club's history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium. "This is just one of the factors that makes this one of the most exciting jobs in world football and we are already making plans to ensure we continue to build on the great work that everyone has contributed to over the past four years. Daniel Levy says he is 'delighted' at the news Credit: Getty images "Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club. We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success. "This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this Club deserves." Spurs chairman Daniel Levy added: "I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio. We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the Club enters the next phase in its history. Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio."
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, Liverpool owner John Henry and his wife Linda Pizzuti arrive ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England. John Henry is preparing for his first Champions League final as Liverpool owner. The game on Saturday May 24, 2018 against Real Madrid comes eight years after Henry led a takeover by the Boston Red Sox ownership group of a club on the brink of financial collapse. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, Liverpool owner John Henry and his wife Linda Pizzuti arrive ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England. John Henry is preparing for his first Champions League final as Liverpool owner. The game on Saturday May 24, 2018 against Real Madrid comes eight years after Henry led a takeover by the Boston Red Sox ownership group of a club on the brink of financial collapse. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, Liverpool owner John Henry and his wife Linda Pizzuti arrive ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England. John Henry is preparing for his first Champions League final as Liverpool owner. The game on Saturday May 24, 2018 against Real Madrid comes eight years after Henry led a takeover by the Boston Red Sox ownership group of a club on the brink of financial collapse. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
Who made England&#39;s 23-man squad? Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate&#39;s bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Now you know the squad, pick you England starting XI and formation: England Formation Builder Who is in England&#39;s group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England&#39;s toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. Belgium will provide the stiffest test in England&#39;s World Cup group Credit: Reuters When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup predictor And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez&#39;s goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction What has Gareth Southgate said? “We are not a team in the relegation zone, worrying about what might happen and what we might lose. We have to have a positive mindset of how far can we go, and there’s a difference in the mentality and the feel of all that. “I feel that the players we’ve picked are free, they’ve got a point to prove, they’re hungry. They’re not where they want to be yet. Talking to them individually they have loads they want to do in their careers. “What gives me optimism? I see such exciting players coming through. Some of them, I don’t think they know how good they might be.&quot; What are the odds on how far England will make it? Group stage 5/1 Last-16 11/5 Quarter-final 11/5 Semi-final 5/1 Runner-up 10/1 Winner 18/1
England World Cup 2018 guide: Squad news, fixtures, group analysis and match dates
Who made England's 23-man squad? Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Now you know the squad, pick you England starting XI and formation: England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. Belgium will provide the stiffest test in England's World Cup group Credit: Reuters When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup predictor And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction What has Gareth Southgate said? “We are not a team in the relegation zone, worrying about what might happen and what we might lose. We have to have a positive mindset of how far can we go, and there’s a difference in the mentality and the feel of all that. “I feel that the players we’ve picked are free, they’ve got a point to prove, they’re hungry. They’re not where they want to be yet. Talking to them individually they have loads they want to do in their careers. “What gives me optimism? I see such exciting players coming through. Some of them, I don’t think they know how good they might be." What are the odds on how far England will make it? Group stage 5/1 Last-16 11/5 Quarter-final 11/5 Semi-final 5/1 Runner-up 10/1 Winner 18/1
Who made England&#39;s 23-man squad? Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate&#39;s bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Now you know the squad, pick you England starting XI and formation: England Formation Builder Who is in England&#39;s group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England&#39;s toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. Belgium will provide the stiffest test in England&#39;s World Cup group Credit: Reuters When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup predictor And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez&#39;s goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction What has Gareth Southgate said? “We are not a team in the relegation zone, worrying about what might happen and what we might lose. We have to have a positive mindset of how far can we go, and there’s a difference in the mentality and the feel of all that. “I feel that the players we’ve picked are free, they’ve got a point to prove, they’re hungry. They’re not where they want to be yet. Talking to them individually they have loads they want to do in their careers. “What gives me optimism? I see such exciting players coming through. Some of them, I don’t think they know how good they might be.&quot; What are the odds on how far England will make it? Group stage 5/1 Last-16 11/5 Quarter-final 11/5 Semi-final 5/1 Runner-up 10/1 Winner 18/1
England World Cup 2018 guide: Squad news, fixtures, group analysis and match dates
Who made England's 23-man squad? Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Now you know the squad, pick you England starting XI and formation: England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. Belgium will provide the stiffest test in England's World Cup group Credit: Reuters When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup predictor And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction What has Gareth Southgate said? “We are not a team in the relegation zone, worrying about what might happen and what we might lose. We have to have a positive mindset of how far can we go, and there’s a difference in the mentality and the feel of all that. “I feel that the players we’ve picked are free, they’ve got a point to prove, they’re hungry. They’re not where they want to be yet. Talking to them individually they have loads they want to do in their careers. “What gives me optimism? I see such exciting players coming through. Some of them, I don’t think they know how good they might be." What are the odds on how far England will make it? Group stage 5/1 Last-16 11/5 Quarter-final 11/5 Semi-final 5/1 Runner-up 10/1 Winner 18/1
Football - Besiktas v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Group Stage Matchday Six Group C - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey - 11/12/14 General view of the stadium Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Livepic
Besiktas v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Group Stage Matchday Six Group C
Football - Besiktas v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Group Stage Matchday Six Group C - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey - 11/12/14 General view of the stadium Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Livepic
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho&#39;s first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Man Utd look to take advantage of Spurs' stance on transfers with early Toby Alderweireld approach
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho's first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho&#39;s first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Man Utd look to take advantage of Spurs' stance on transfers with early Toby Alderweireld approach
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho's first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.