We are all aware that the VAR system is in its experimental stage.

I have said and written on more than one occasion that incidents will occur that will stimulate debate and controversy, whilst officials go through a steep learning curve.

With Kevin Friend in the middle and Neil Swarbrick operating as VAR they were called upon in the Huddersfield Town v Manchester United to judge on a goal scored by Juan Mata.

The AR kept his flag down judging that Mata was level with the second rearmost defender.
I have to say that I would have supported that decision given the view afforded to the naked eye.

Given the criteria I have to ask also if this was a clear and obvious error and a serious missed incident.

So the first question to ask is why did the VAR stimulate the review?

What happened next was frankly dreadful with the pictures shown on our television screens showing a highlight line that was not even parallel to the edge of the penalty area and immediately putting into question the decision by the VAR to advise the referee to rule out the goal.

It highlights the importance of the role of the VAR technician operating the video. They are integral to the system and and a key member of the VAR team to ensure that accurate television replays are made available at speed to enable accurate decisions to be made.

The broadcaster also has a duty when broadcasting images to ensure that they are not distorted.

It was a mess and drew unnecessary attention on the match officials and delay to the game.

BBC came up trumps several hours after the game MOTD camera feed and their coloured line across the field of play supported the VAR decision to advise that the goal should be ruled out.

However was it a serious and obvious error by the Assistant who kept his flag down? it was a very tight decision even with several replays.

The debate on VAR will continue and sure to be discussed on our Ref Show on Monday.


  1. Yeah, for me whether Mata was onside or not, we cannot in any way refer to this as a “serious and obvious error”, and so VAR should stick with the on-field decision of no offside and the goal stands.

    What was shown on TV was utterly farcical, with lines clearly not even close to parallel with the 18 yard line, not to mention all wobbly as if they’d been hand-drawn. And while they claim those were not the lines used to make the decision, I don’t believe they have released the image that was actually used to make the decision, which they really did ought to for total transparency.

    What’s really frustrating for me is because of how seemingly unprepared for VAR PGMOL’s referees are, it is dampening people’s opinions on using technology to help referees with key decisions. Use of technology is an absolute must in the modern age I feel, the problem is how badly it is currently being implemented.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here