Premier League issue clarification on VAR’s usage in Spurs’ draw at the Etihad

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Manchester City players and fans were disappointed to walk away with just a point from their encounter with Tottenham on Saturday as the Premier League champions saw a latter winner chalked off by VAR due to a handball.

After the game, Mauricio Pochettino admitted (Sky Sports) that controversial incident late in the game triggered the same emotions it did during the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal a few months ago when VAR ruled out a late goal by Raheem Sterling which meant that Spurs progressed at the expense of City.

However, some City fans were aggrieved that VAR did not intervene in two other controversial moments during the game when City had seemingly realistic penalty shouts.

Now, the Premier League has clarified to Manchester Evening News as to why the penalty decisions weren’t overturned by the VAR while the late winner was.

They said that while the handball towards the end was a factual decision given the recent rule change and thus required VAR to intervene, the penalty calls were subjective and thus had to be clear and obvious to be overturned.

When the publication wrote to the Premier League seeking clarifications regarding the decisions, they reportedly wrote back, “The VAR is constantly monitoring the match.

“VAR will be used only for ‘clear and obvious errors’ or ‘serious missed incidents’ in four match-changing situations: goals; penalty decisions; direct red-card incidents; and mistaken identity.

“But factual decisions such as offsides, and the issue of whether a player is inside or outside the penalty area, are not subject to the ‘clear and obvious’ test.

“If the VAR sees an error has been made in such a situation they will intervene, regardless of how marginal the decision is. There will be a high bar for the VARs to intervene on subjective decisions, to maintain the pace and intensity of matches.”

Spurs Web Opinion

As with the introduction of new technology in any major sport, it will likely take time for the players, fans and the media to get used to how it works. While I think we will start realizing the benefits of VAR the more it is used, we also shouldn’t completely dismiss suggestions from detractors that the way it is used at the moment may not be optimal. It will likely be fine-tuned as we go along.

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