Arsenal vs Man City made it clear and obvious that we need more consistency with VAR but “petulant” Gabriel can have no complaints

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Each weekend, the debate on Premier League games sadly doesn’t focus on the quality and skillsets of players that we are privileged to watch, but on refereeing decisions and the way in which the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is operating.

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) is responsible for the referees that operate in the English Premier League along with the VAR’s.

The laws of the game are the responsibility of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA.

The PGMOL should therefore operate and apply the laws in accordance with the governing bodies, along with the VAR protocols.

However, the PGMOL are failing to achieve a consistency of operation and its officials are confused around what is clear and obvious – the trigger point at which VAR is expected to intervene and advise the referee to view the monitor.

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In so doing, the referee is afforded another view of the incident and a chance to re-consider his decision.

Sadly, VAR operators who have often officiated a game the day before, are failing to achieve a balance between consistency and understanding as to when the referee may need their help.

In the Arsenal vs Manchester City game for example, the home team had every right to feel aggrieved when Ederson brought down Martin Odegaard.

Referee, Stuart Attwell, was unmoved and at this point, VAR should have intervened and Attwell should have reviewed his decision on the pitch side monitor.

It was a penalty kick in my opinion, the goalkeeper playing the man first and then the ball, and this type of incident must in future come into the criteria of a clear and obvious error.

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

Later in the same game with a similar incident, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva was brought down by Arsenal’s Granit Xhahka, and with the referee close to play he signalled for the City player to get up he was not awarding a penalty.

Unlike the first incident, VAR now intervened and Attwell reversed his decision having viewed the pitch side monitor.

Why do managers, players, fans have to put up with this inconsistency? Why is nothing done and why don’t we hear from the PGMOL?

They are locked away at Stockley Park leaving their referees to carry the can, with their reputation for being the best referees in the world in tatters.

Why doesn’t the PGMOL recognise that in Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor they have an operational benchmark for the remaining Select Group referees to achieve?

Finally, how stupid that a petulant Gabriel Magalhaes decided to scuff the penalty mark and within minutes of being shown a yellow card commits a reckless challenge that correctly received a second yellow.

More Stories Anthony Taylor Bernardo Silva Ederson Gabriel Gabriel Magalhaes Granit Xhaka keith hackett Martin Odegaard Michael Oliver PGMOL


  1. “It was a penalty kick in my opinion, the goalkeeper playing the man first and then the ball, and this type of incident must in future come into the criteria of a clear and obvious error.”
    I agree that there was contact between the two players before Emerson kicked the ball. However in the close-up of the incident that I saw Odegaard’s foot was on top of Emerson’s. So Emerson was “first to the ball” in his attempt to clear the ball. But just before he made contact with the ball Odegaard stood on his foot thus committing a foul. The corect referee verdict should have been a foul for Man City. No penalty.

    1. Utter rubbish being punted by flame baiting mullets.
      The Ciry keeper comes in from the side, Ofegaard is in control of the ball and the keeper’s foot hits his foot from the side, never making contact with the ball at any point in the incident. Odegaards foot is NOT on top of the keepers foot.
      Utter rubbish being punted by a number of desperate Ciry supporters (and probably PGMOL – same WhatsApp group anyway)

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