Premier League referees chiefs have been left frustrated by statements from football’s lawmakers that suggested they are wrongly applying VAR rules when judging marginal offsides.
VAR struck again during the FA Cup third round yesterday as Wigan had a goal overturned at Leicester for a fractional offside while fans chanted ‘F*** VAR’ at Molineux as Manchester United were denied a penalty for a challenge on Brandon Williams by Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker.
Last week the head of the game’s lawmaking body IFAB, Lukas Brud, said that ‘if you spend multiple minutes trying to identify whether it is offside or not, then it’s not clear and obvious and the original decision should stand. What we really need to stress is that clear and obvious applies to every single situation that is being reviewed.’
This was seen as criticism of how the Premier League have used VAR, with fans, players and managers incensed at seeing goals ruled out for players’ armpits and toes being offside. There is a feeling within the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) that Brud’s statement was misleading because they insist they are applying VAR on offsides in line with IFAB’s own protocols.
The protocols do not say that ‘clear and obvious’ applies to offsides as they are seen as objective decisions, despite Mail on Sunday revelations that the technology is not accurate enough for them to know for certain. Brud has since gone back on his comments, telling German outlet Sportschau ‘if the images... show that there is an offside position, the video assistant should continue to report. Even if it is only a centimetre. Offside is offside.’