Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham: VAR chief Neil Swarbrick defends Rodri penalty decision and Gabriel Jesus disallowed goal

21 Aug

Neil Swarbrick has defended VAR for not overturning a Manchester City penalty claim against Tottenham last weekend.

Referee Michael Oliver waved away protests when Rodri went down in the box after tussling with Erik Lamela in the first-half of City’s 2-2 draw with Spurs.

There was further VAR controversy when Spurs played at the Etihad on Saturday evening
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It is understood VAR was not used to change the decision because Oliver did not make a clear and obvious error.

Swarbrick, a former Premier League referee in charge of implementing VAR, claims Rodri was ‘looking for a penalty’.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It [the penalty claim] was looked at.

“The arm was around the top of the body fractionally. If you look at that in slow motion multiple times, it’s exaggerated.

“We look at it in real time, that’s how we referee games and that’s how we use VAR.

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“The arm was around the top of the body, yet Rodri fell forward. He didn’t fall backwards like he was pulled, he fell forward, so he felt contact, can he win the header? No he can’t, so he’s gone down looking for a penalty.

“That’s how the referee saw the incident and VAR looked at the replays and what Michael said was exactly that, so its check is complete. It’s been left alone for the referee to decide.”

And on talkSPORT, a Man City fan told the Sports Bar Oliver’s decision left her devastated.

“I’m absolutely fuming after Saturday,” Jackie said. “I’ve been a match going fan for 40 years and I’m seriously thinking about giving it up,” declaring football to be dead.

There was more controversy in the latter stages of the game when Gabriel Jesus’ injury-time goal – which surely would have secured City a 3-2 win – was ruled out by VAR.

The ball brushed Aymeric Laporte’s arm in the lead up to the goal, and the new handball rule states a goal must be disallowed if a player, intentionally or not, handles the ball in the build-up.

 

Swarbrick said: “We’ve got to follow the laws of the game which are set by the International Football Association Board.

“We went to all 20 Premier League clubs from mid-July, just before the start of the season and went through the amendments in the laws of the game, we specifically talked about handball.”

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