Goalline technology: Referees body to review error that denied Sheff Utd

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June 19, 2020
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    Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland holds the ball behind the goalpost

    Sheffield United would have moved up to fifth in the Premier League with a win at Aston Villa

    Premier League referees will review the goalline technology error that denied Sheffield United a goal in their draw at Aston Villa, BBC Sport understands.

    The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said the video assistant referee did not intervene because of the “unique” circumstances.

    PGMOL will now discuss how a similar incident in the future can be handled.

    It comes as former top-flight referee Mark Clattenburg said the controversy had highlighted a “fundamental flaw”.

    The situation occurred in the 42nd minute of Wednesday’s 0-0 draw – the first Premier League match for 100 days, after the competition was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March.

    Sheffield United – who would have moved above Manchester United into fifth place with a win – thought they had scored when Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood’s free-kick over the line. But referee Michael Oliver did not receive a signal to indicate a goal.

    Hawk-Eye – the operator of the goalline technology – subsequently apologised but said the system “remained functional throughout”.

    The company added it was the first time such an error had occurred in more than 9,000 matches using the system.

    However, speaking to BBC Sport, Clattenburg, said it showed technology “can fail at any time”.

    Clattenburg, who took charge of almost 300 Premier League games between 2004 and 2017, went on to apportion further blame for the failing to the video assistant referee system.

    “I automatically expected the video assistant referee to come in,” he said.

    “He’s probably thought: ‘We have the technology in place. Why do we need to make a decision?’ and that is the fundamental flaw. Technology is there to help, it is not there to make the final decision.

    “The VAR has let the referee Michael Oliver down. If he had checked the goal, we would not be talking about it now. Referees can make mistakes; the VAR can’t, because he has all the evidence there.

    “I have had situations in the Premier League, where the watch would go off and give a goal when the ball did not enter the goal. This can happen sometimes, where it just malfunctions and people would not notice that.

    “Overall I think it [VAR] has been letting referees down in the Premier League. The Premier League spend a lot of money on technology but if it is not used correctly, people lose confidence in it and they get frustrated. That’s one of the biggest problems at the moment.

    “Sheffield United could miss out on a European place because of two points they lost because of technology.

    “It’s not like a [normal] refereeing decision. You can say they balance out over a season – but not when you’re talking about something that was so clearly wrong.”


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