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Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon joins growing calls for VAR to be scrapped if technology does not improve | Football News

Anthony Gordon has questioned the purpose of VAR after being denied a penalty during Newcastle’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

On the day it was announced that Wolves are campaigning to get VAR scrapped from the Premier League next season, the England forward felt aggrieved when referee Robert Jones and VAR Jarred Gillett ignored a strong penalty appeal after Sofyan Amrabat caught his heel in his attempt to recover from an error.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Gordon said: “[My ankle’s] really sore. Not sure how good my ankle will be.

“I’ve watched it back and it’s a clear penalty. I don’t mind the referee getting the decision wrong on the pitch, but I don’t understand what the point of VAR is then. It is there to correct mistakes.

What do other PL clubs think?

Liverpool are among the clubs that would not support scrapping VAR, Sky Sports News understands.

While a leading Premier League executive from a separate club has told Sky Sports News “VAR is here to stay”.

There is a feeling among several top clubs that VAR is a help more than a hindrance, and that the focus should be on improving its application and communication with supporters, rather than scrapping it altogether.

“Amrabat goes down my Achilles and then pushes me in the back. Casemiro gets the ball but there are two fouls before that. I just don’t see the point in [VAR].

“I knew straight away, that’s why i didn’t appeal, because I didn’t mind the ref not giving it. It’s fast. But I’ll wait for the VAR to check. You can see me tell my team-mates it’s a clear penalty.

“Then we carry on and I’ve got no sock left. How can that be possible?”

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Wayne Rooney felt Newcastle were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after Gordon was challenged by Amrabat

Wolves have been on the end of several controversial refereeing decisions this season and believe the decision review system is “undermining the value of the Premier League brand”.

They have submitted a resolution to trigger a vote at the league’s AGM in June and will need 13 of the other 19 clubs to agree with them. They are likely to canvas other clubs in order to gain support between now and next month’s meeting.

Anthony Gordon has spoken out against VAR
Image:
Anthony Gordon has spoken out against VAR

The Premier League does not believe scrapping VAR is the right way forward.

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“It’s a big decision,” Gordon continued when the proposal was put to him. “I’m actually quite fond of [VAR], I’m fond of the idea. It should work, but it’s not.

“There’s constantly too many mistakes. We missed too many chances to blame anything else, but we could go 1-0 up and the game changes.

“It’s a clear and obvious mistake. I don’t know how you can get it wrong. Either get rid of it or get better, it’s simple.”

When scrapping VAR was put to Eddie Howe, the Newcastle boss said: “I have always been in an era where the referee makes a decision and I back it.

“I would possibly keep it [VAR] with offsides, but I want more power with referees.”

More VAR drama dominates Chelsea win at Brighton

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Watch highlights of the Premier League match between Brighton and Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino admitted Reece James’ late red card was “painful” after Chelsea moved to the verge of European qualification with a gripping 2-1 Premier League win at Brighton.

Blues captain James was dismissed for the second time in an injury-plagued season for kicking out at Seagulls striker Joao Pedro in the 88th minute at the Amex Stadium after a lengthy VAR review.

The England defender, who came on in the 69th minute for only his second appearance since December following hamstring surgery, faces a four-match ban and cannot play again before Gareth Southgate names his preliminary Euro 2024 squad.

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Mauricio Pochettino believes VAR can still be a big help in the Premier League, but thinks it needs to improve

“It’s difficult to give my opinion because I didn’t have time to see the action,” Blues boss Pochettino said of James’ costly retaliation. “I turned my back at that moment so I will need to see it again but I don’t think it was the intention of Reece to damage the opponent.

“Maybe it’s the frustration of him. But, yes, painful. Painful because it was a fantastic night of football and he’s our captain and a really important player.

“I’m disappointed because now he’s going to miss the next game and maybe a few games in next season.”

By then, Chelsea had already seen the awarding of a penalty on the field by referee Michael Salisbury over-ruled by VAR official Peter Bankes, who deemed Facundo Buonanotte had played the ball in a challenge with Marc Cucurella.

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Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane and Andy Cole react to the possibility of a VAR-free Premier League

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In another first-half flashpoint, Mykhailo Mudryk was forced off the pitch with a head injury after an off-the-ball incident with Tariq Lamptey that went unpunished.

On the Mudryk incident, Pochettino said: “It’s difficult to see from my position but too many things happened where we had to go and check with the VAR.

“I would rather the decisions were made by the referee. For sure, mistakes arrive from both sides. It’s frustrating.”

There was also a disallowed goal for Nicolas Jackson in the first half for a push on Lamptey.

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Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol discusses why Wolves and other Premier League clubs have the vote to abolish VAR for next season

“It was difficult to see from my position but we need to move on and next season see if we can improve the use of VAR. For me, it’s not VAR in or out, yes or no. It’s about improving the way we use it.

“I think it’s amazing if it is used in a really good way. The problem here is that some similar situations we judge in a very different way. That’s the problem.

“When Jackson went around the goalkeeper it was given [as] a yellow card. Sometimes, it’s a red card. We have to agree the outcome on a specific action. The most important thing is the person who drives the VAR.”

Salisbury did not review the pitch-side monitor when Seagulls winger Simon Adingra appeared to be fouled by Malo Gusto at 1-0.

Roberto De Zerbi felt his side were denied a blatant penalty and criticised the performance of Salisbury, while empathising with James, who was also red carded in Chelsea’s 4-1 thrashing at Newcastle in November.

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Roberto De Zerbi says it’s been a tough season for Brighton with the amount of injuries they’ve had, but is pleased they can still finish in the top 10 in the Premier League

“We have to speak of the level of the referees like the level of the coaches,” said the Italian. “Behind the VAR, there are people and we have to analyse the level of the referees.

“I didn’t like the referee today. But not for the penalty because nothing changed for us if we win or lose this game (in terms of league position).

“I didn’t like the personality, the control of the game. I’m sorry for the red card of James because I think it was a normal reaction.

“If you have played in your life football it can happen this reaction but the penalty of Adingra was clear, it was clear from my bench. On TV, it’s more clear.”

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Premier League stats earlier this season showed correct decisions had increased from 82 to 96 per cent under VAR, with Tony Scholes, the Premier League’s chief football officer, telling Sky Sports in February: “VAR is, and remains, a very effective tool in supporting the match officials on the pitch.”

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The Ref Watch panel discuss why VAR disallowed Max Kilman’s goal against West Ham and assess Gary O’Neil’s strong comments on the decision

However, Scholes did admit: “We are doing too many checks, we’re taking too long in doing them as well. It’s to a degree understandable, given the level of scrutiny these guys are under. But the reviews are taking too long and it’s affecting the flow of the game and we’re extremely aware of that and the need to improve that speed while always maintaining the accuracy.”

Meanwhile, Premier League officials believe the proposal would seriously impact it reputationally as one of the elite leagues in world football and would mean no semi-automated offsides or in-stadium announcements to the crowd that the top flight is pushing hard for.

A Premier League spokesperson said: “The Premier League can confirm it will facilitate a discussion on VAR with our clubs at the Annual General Meeting next month.

“Clubs are entitled to put forward proposals at shareholders’ meetings and we acknowledge the concerns and issues around the use of VAR.

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Watch highlights from the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United

“However, the League fully supports the use of VAR and remains committed, alongside PGMOL, to make continued improvements to the system for the benefit of the game and fans.”

Wolves have been on the end of several controversial refereeing decisions this season and believe the decision review system is “undermining the value of the Premier League brand”.

However, they will need 13 of the other 19 clubs to agree with them and are likely to canvas other clubs in order to gain support between now and next month’s meeting.

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