Premier League chiefs thrilled with VAR despite another chaotic weekend of controversy with Man Utd and Leicester fuming

PREM refs’ chiefs are pleased with the way VAR is working – despite a weekend of controversy.

But referee Martin Atkinson probably should have been urged to check on the pitchside monitor for one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s rejected penalty calls at West Ham.

Top-flight whistlers arrived at St George’s Park on Monday for a scheduled two-day debrief led by Mike Riley.

Although United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers were unhappy with calls that went against their teams.

PGMOL believes the new offside system and light-touch on contact has improved the decision-making process.

However, it is accepted that Atkinson’s initial view of Vladimir Coufal’s challenge on Ronaldo may have been wrong.

Solskjaer complained bitterly that Ronaldo should have had two spot kicks at West Ham.

But while refs’ chiefs believe camera angles show the Portuguese superstar did initiate the contact from Kurt Zouma for the second incident, there was a different view on the Coufal clash.


It is understood that the view expressed to the referees at St George’s Park was that, on balance, that probably SHOULD have been a spot-kick and that the VAR would have been better to recommend a pitchside review.

In both cases, Martin Atkinson made subjective, judgement calls, with VAR Darren England adjudging there was insufficient evidence to determine he had made a “clear and obvious error” in terms of how he read the situations.

So far, there have been just 15 overturned decisions in the first five weeks of the campaign, compared to 21 over the same period last term.

But only ONE goal has been chalked off for a VAR offside call – Mo Salah’s strike for Liverpool against Burnley in week two – with two goals allowed after the flag was wrongly raised.

Seven penalties have been given after VAR intervention, four of them for handball offences, while three spot-kicks have been waived.

Two of those came this weekend, with Manchester City’s Kyle Walker spared a red card against Southampton and Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale rescued by the video booth at Burnley.

Likewise, Harvey Barnes was clearly in an offside position in front of Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez, leading to two disallowed Leicester goals at the Amex – both of which saw the flag raised instantly.

Nevertheless, some fans remain aggrieved, especially at Newcastle, who have had four overturns against them so far, costing Steve Bruce’s team three points and four places in the table.

West Ham have benefited most with three overturns in their favour although even without those decisions they would still have been eighth.

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