Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, former Premier League referee Mark Halsey was critical of the harsh decision to disallow Mohamed Salah’s goal for Liverpool against Brighton this afternoon.
Halsey, who officiated in the Premier League for 14 years after making his name within the Football League, branded the review of the Salah strike a ‘forensic’ one.
Halsey reiterated that offside is a ‘matter of fact’ rule, which is why the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is problematic.
The technology itself is able to spot the ‘tight’ margins like in this case, which saw Salah’s brilliant goal chalked off as a result of his toe being narrowly offside.
Halsey believes that strikes of this ‘calibre’ should be ‘given’, just look back through the years and think about the iconic goals that would’ve been disallowed for extremely close offside calls.
Importantly, Halsey states that the lines that are shown when VAR is reviewing an offside incident need to be taken away immediately and should instead be judged by the ‘naked eye’.
See More: Halsey also questioned the decision to award a game-changing penalty for Andy Robertson’s ‘marginal contact’ on Danny Welbeck
Here’s what Halsey had to say on the two disallowed goals:
“Liverpool had two goals ruled out for offside and we know offside is a matter of fact.”
“If you look at the Salah one first, that was very very tight, and I think when it’s that tight and it takes that long to review it, we want to see goals of that calibre given, because it is so so tight.”
“Different with Mane, because on the first replay you could see clearly that he’s offside, so there’s no problem with that.”
“Take these lines away, with the Salah one, it was more forensic than it was with Mane. The first replay showed Mane was offside whereas with Salah, you couldn’t see it and they start putting and moving these lines.”
“I think we need to take the lines away and view these types of decisions with the naked eye.”
When I suggested that the offside decisions have now became a case of ‘nit-picking’, here’s what Halsey had to say:
“Absolutely, we know that technology’s not 100% so there needs to be a margin of error, the frame changes around 50 times per second.”
“We all know offside is a matter of fact – it’s factual – but we’ll have to wait and see what Pierluigi Collina and Arsene Wenger have come up with to combat this problem we have in football with very very tight offside calls.”
“With the Salah incident, it’s so so close. I don’t think anybody foresaw this situation, whether it’s your armpit, toenail or your heel.”
“We definitely need to look at it for next season, it can’t be changed this season, because they’ve been consistent with it.”
“We can’t complain, you’ve got to sometimes be careful what you wish for with VAR.”
Halsey’s ‘careful what you wish for with VAR’ message is the perfect sign-off. Look at what we’ve subjected ourselves to, there may be no turning back now.