VAR must improve after controversy in Tottenham victory over Chelsea, claims former Premier League referee

9 Jan

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has criticised the use of VAR in Tottenham’s Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Chelsea.

Harry Kane scored the game’s only goal from the spot after the video assistant referee overruled an offside flag in the build-up to the penalty decision.

Controversy followed as Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri provided an alternative angle seeming to show Kane offside, while Blues defenders insisted they stopped playing due to the assistant’s flag.

And Hackett, 74, believes the confusion is a result of poor training among referees and insufficient communication.

Harry Kane was adjudged to be onside after video analysis

“The referees and the VARs are still learning on the job, and that’s causing some confusion,” the former Premier League official told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“In fairness to Michael Oliver, I thought he handled the situation really well. He didn’t give any concerns, he did what he had to do and I thought he got the right decision in the end.

“It’s the lack of communication and transparency which I think is causing us all to question how this thing is being introduced to the game in England.


MORE: Harry Kane was OFFSIDE and we have the camera angle to prove it, claims Maurizio Sarri


“At the moment, it’s not good. What we saw last weekend [in the FA Cup] was pretty poor.

“It’s just a farce. The PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) have got to get their guys together and get the training done rather than see the problems we’re encountering on a fairly regular basis.”

VAR will be introduced in the Premier League at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, but Blues boss Sarri has claimed English referees are not yet ready to use the system.

Sarri takes another look at the penalty incident
Sky Sports
The angle appears to show Kane in an offside position

And Hackett agrees: “On tight calls, the assistant referee doesn’t raise his flag, he uses the communication kit to shout down the line to the referee, and the VAR can listen in as well, to say he thinks it’s offside so play can continue.

“He didn’t do that and you play to the whistle. The Chelsea manager makes a very good point, the problem I see with this is that we are not using VAR on a consistent manner across the competitions.

He added: “There’s a gap in the referee trusting the VAR. The PGMOL have abandoned the idea of the referee using the monitor at the side of the pitch.

“It’s put them all under pressure because they’re all getting used to the system. It’s exposing doubt in a lot of people’s minds.

“That’s my concern. I’m a big supporter of VAR, the referees need the support, but they’ve got to do it a lot better than they’re doing it at the moment.”

Liverpool news: Mohamed Salah dived to win penalty against Newcastle, says former top referee Keith Hackett

27 Dec

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has accused Liverpool star Mohamed Salah of diving to win a penalty during the Reds’ win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.

He says people are forgetting football is a contact sport and has blasted the slipping standards of current officials.

Salah has been accused of going to ground too easily against Newcastle

Liverpool went six points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a thumping 4-0 victory at Anfield, as title rivals Manchester City lost to Leicester.

But there was controversy against the Magpies when Salah went down in the box under a challenge from Paul Dummett.

The Magpies defender tugged on Salah’s arm as he ran past him in the penalty area, with the Egyptian going to ground and the referee pointing to the spot.

Salah went to ground after feeling contact from Paul Dummett

Salah converted to score the Reds’ second goal, but some outraged fans were calling for the Liverpool star to be hit with a retrospective ban for simulation after the incident.


‘PATHETIC’ – Fans call for Mo Salah to be BANNED after ‘dive’ against Newcastle


On Thursday morning, Sports Breakfast hosts Alan Brazil and Dean Saunders both agreed that there was enough contact to correctly award a penalty.

But former man in black Hackett disagreed, and said people – and some referees, it appears – are forgetting that football is a contact sport.

He told talkSPORT: “No, it wasn’t a penalty for me.

“What really concerns me is the inconsistency that we see from referees on incidents inside the penalty area.

“We see defenders grabbing, hauling, tugging and grappling and we see that go unpunished week-in, week-out.

Salah stepped up to slam home the resulting spot kick

“We’re talking about a contract sport and there’s no way I’m going to buy it.

“It’s easy to give a penalty kick at Anfield and yes there is contact, but if I was in the middle I would want to be 100 per cent certain that I’m giving the home team a penalty kick that is worthy of one, and it would have to be a little bit more than what I saw yesterday.

“I can remember Sam Allardyce talking to me and saying, ‘If there’s contact my player is going to be instructed to go down’, and I think that’s the nature of the game now.

Sam Allardyce left feeling 'angry' after watching Arsenal thrash Everton 5-1 at the Emirates
Sam Allardyce apparently told his players to look for a penalty if they felt contact

“You two [former strikers Alan and Dean] would have continued to play and head for the ball, but the modern game is different – if there’s a touch, they’re going to ground.

“There’s a huge debate around it, about if it’s worthy of a penalty kick, but it’s a contact sport.

“When we get a penalty kick like this we all question the referee’s decision because it’s soft. Well it’s either a penalty or it’s not and for me it’s not enough, it’s really not enough.”

Keith Hackett says it ‘defies logic’ Premier League have voted against using VAR

1 Aug

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has blasted the Premier League’s decision to not implement Video Assistant Referees (VAR) ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Hackett, the former head of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, along with the wider public watched on as VAR was used to great success throughout the World Cup.

After a shaky start, VAR became a great success at the World Cup

Aside from a couple of dodgy calls which caused concern, the use of video replays to aid referees was a roaring success to ensure incorrect calls were overturned, leading to suggestions the scheme would be implemented in the world’s biggest football competitions before too long.

The Premier League actually discussed having VAR in place for the start of the 2018/19 season, but clubs voted against the option, with England’s top flight to continue ‘advanced testing’ of the system throughout the coming campaign.

Tests undertaken last year in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup were not particularly successful, but the implementation of VAR at the World Cup has proven the system does work, and Hackett has blasted the Premier League’s decision to delay VAR in the English top flight.

“It’s the biggest clanger the Premier League have ever dropped,” Hackett told talkSPORT.

“They’ve got a reputation of bringing things forward; the communication kits they supported and they helped referees, they introduced goal-line technology ahead of the game.

“VAR is never going to be an absolute answer to all errors through the course of a game, but it will help referees.

“I think we’re short of match officials in the Premier League, and we are going to have fun, because over the next few months we, as spectators and pundits, are going to be criticising those decisions that are made incorrectly, and we are going to be calling for VAR.”

Hackett may have suggested the public will be having fun over the next few months due to the Premier League’s misstep, but he actually believes it will only take until the first gameweek for the decision to not implement VAR to backfire.

He continued: “It defies logic! I mean, who makes these decisions?

The biggest criticism of VAR at the World Cup was over the awarding of penalties for alleged handballs

“They’ve got this one wrong. Wait until the first weekend, then we’ll get the first error and everyone will be saying: ‘that could have been resolved by VAR’.

“One of the things we didn’t see in the World Cup was a Maradona goal [Hand of God]. We did see the odd error, but that’s only down to getting the system in operation and in use.

“Once it was bedded in, it worked superbly.”