Exclusive: “One of the worst” – Stan Collymore raging over Newcastle decision

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It’s fair to say that former Premier League striker turned pundit, Stan Collymore, is still raging over the decision to award Paris Saint-Germain a last-gasp penalty against Newcastle United in the midweek Champions League game.

Anyone watching the match will have surely drawn the same conclusion, and no matter how many times the incident is played back, it’s difficult to justify how the VAR team and on-pitch referee came to the conclusion that they did.

To Eddie Howe’s credit, he maintained a sense of dignity after the match, though no one would surely have blamed him if he’d gone on a similar rant to Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta after recent VAR decisions went against Liverpool and Arsenal respectively.

Newcastle United’s English head coach Eddie Howe arrives for a press conference at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on November 27, 2023 on the eve of their UEFA Champions League football match against Paris Saint-Germain. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

“Let’s go back to the very basics of what handball is meant to be. In the spirit of Association Football, it’s if a player deliberately uses his arm unnaturally to gain an advantage, or stops the ball crossing the line. So in other words something that’s obvious. It’s a no brainer,” Collymore said in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.

“We all watched the game and we’ve all watched enough football from pretty much the age of 10 to 11 onwards to know intuitively what handball is.

“What I’m struggling with is the fact that a professional referee in the world’s premier club competition looked at the Newcastle decision after three or people in the VAR room told him to attend the monitor, and still went with their decision to award a penalty. I’ve even watched the passage of play and decision in real time again, and I just think it’s ludicrous.

“The ball was fired too close to the Newcastle player for him to be doing anything deliberately because his body just doesn’t have time to react. One hundred percent of the time that should be given as not handball and the fact that four people have effectively given it as handball tells me that they don’t understand what the very basic rule is.

“It’s one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen.

“We need to stop reverting to laws and rules and just go back to common sense, because common sense would say no handball.”

It’s difficult to argue with anything Collymore says, and his suggestion of going back to common sense would actually seem to be a move forward.

VAR is clearly not being interpreted correctly by those using it, which seems to be the real problem rather than the technology itself.

Officials are being put under greater pressure week in and week out and, frankly, it really is starting to spoil the beautiful game now.

Whether FIFA, UEFA and the various leagues can come together to agree a more acceptable accord is highly unlikely, but there will come a point when everyone says enough is enough.

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