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Keith Hackett column: West Ham red card vs Chelsea was wrong and I fear refs are taking the lazy way out with VAR reviews

We’ve all found ourselves in that situation where it’s just easier to agree with a colleague and move on, but it’s concerning to see that referees aren’t having the courage of their convictions anymore.

It’s easy to forget that they do get most of their decisions right, but if a VAR review is called then it’s natural for their immediate reaction to be that they’ve made an error.

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There’s also a danger with slow motion replays that you can convince yourself of anything if you see it enough times, and we saw the perfect example at the weekend between Chelsea and West Ham.

You can see that the West Ham defender is just trying to kick the ball upfield, his leg actually retracts when it collides with Ben Chilwell so there’s no forcible attempt to injure him on the follow-through, and he doesn’t seem to look at where his leg is going to be planted either.

The actual contact will have been a sore one for Chilwell but football is a contact sport so that will happen, and on first viewing it was an accident. The incident was neither reckless or fulfilled the criteria for serious foul play.

Keith Hackett

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett is a columnist for CaughtOffside.com

The danger facing referees when they are called to review an incident is that they take a lazy way out and go with the thoughts of the VAR.

The other distortion is playing an incident back in slow motion which in my opinion often makes things of this nature look worse.

Referee Kavanagh looked at the screen and then produced the red card and dismissed the West Ham player.

VAR continues to interfere far too often and should only come in on clear and obvious errors, not attempt to re-referee a game from Stockley Park.

I do think that the issuing of the red card was therefore incorrect.

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