Former referee recommends rule change after farce of Arsenal disallowed goal vs Brighton

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Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey was not too impressed with how long it took to disallow Gabriel Martinelli’s goal for Arsenal against Brighton yesterday.

The Brazilian forward thought he’d scored Arsenal’s equaliser on the stroke of half time, but his goal was eventually chalked off after a lengthy VAR check.

Brighton went on to win the game 2-1 in what was a hugely frustrating afternoon for Mikel Arteta’s side, and Halsey thinks the disallowed goal was poorly handled.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, the x-ref called on a time limit for VAR checks, as officials are always likely to find something wrong with a goal if they spend that long looking at it so closely.

“Arsenal’s disallowed goal against Brighton looked like the right call. Gabriel Martinelli was just offside, his foot strayed offside,” Halsey said.

Gabriel Martinelli thought he’d scored Arsenal’s equaliser against Brighton

“The question is why did it take four minutes to decide? I know there were other questions in there too – was there a foul? Did it come off a Brighton defender? – but it shouldn’t be taking four or five minutes to make that call.

“That’s what frustrates everybody, the length of time taken. If you’re looking at if for that long then maybe there’s an argument it should just be a goal. It might make sense to introduce a time limit on these decision-making processes, because otherwise it can go on and on and on. You can find whatever you want to find it an incident when you take that long.”

Halsey also discussed the two penalty shouts in the earlier game between Everton and Manchester United.

The Toffees earned an important three points as they fight for Premier League survival, but they could quite feasibly have had a second goal as they were denied a penalty.

Halsey says there was not a lot in it, but if Alex Telles’ contact had been deemed a foul, there probably wouldn’t have been a VAR check on this subjective call.

“Looking at Everton vs Manchester United and Alex Telles’ challenge on Anthony Gordon, it’s one of those, not a clear and obvious error…I think if it had been given then VAR probably wouldn’t have given a review. It’s subjective, so with the penalty not being given, VAR wouldn’t get involved either,” Halsey said.

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t get a penalty against Everton

“There’s a little clip from Telles, but for me it’s subjective and I think you have to accept that. Another day, another referee might’ve given it and it wouldn’t be overturned.”

There was also a penalty shout for Man Utd, but Halsey thinks there’s no way a handball could have been the fair shout in that situation.

He added: “There was a claim for handball by Cristiano Ronaldo, but I can’t see it myself. The ball was very close and hit at pace at Michael Keane.

“Can you really call that a deliberate act? Was his arm in an unnatural position? I think the answer to those questions is no. What’s Keane supposed to do in that situation? I think it was correct not to give a penalty or for VAR to get involved.”

More Stories Anthony Gordon Cristiano Ronaldo Frank Lampard Gabriel Martinelli Michael Keane Mikel Arteta Ralf Rangnick


  1. The length of time that VAR took to make a decision on the offside was a farce Referreing is an instinct and if someone in Stockley Park is forensically taking it apart then it takes away the immediacy of decision making I would allow no more than a minute because if itis not clear and obvious after that time then the on pitch decision should stand

  2. The one minute time allowed should be enforced. I posted exactly that at the seasons beginning.
    I also believe that clear space should be between the LAST defender and attacking player. The STUPID rule that someone’s TOENAIL is offside .

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