VAR in England: Major incidents in 2018 include Tottenham, Man United
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino called the Video Assistant Referee system "embarrassing'' after a chaotic FA Cup replay against Rochdale. Spurs claimed a 6-1 win over the League One side but the match was filled with controversy as Tottenham had two goals disallowed, were denied a penalty and awarded another all at the hands of VAR during a farcical first half at Wembley.
Here, we take a look at other major incidents using the technology in England so far this year.
Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace, FA Cup , Jan. 8
This was the first competitive game in England where the VAR technology was made available. The system remained unused but there was a hint of controversy as despite suspicions of handball in Glenn Murray's late winner for Brighton against his former club, it was not called upon. The striker's arm was close to making contact with the ball and television replays were inconclusive, but referee Andre Marriner allowed the goal to stand without requesting the use of VAR, meaning Palace were eliminated.
Leicester 2-0 Fleetwood, FA Cup, Jan. 16
Leicester became the first team in English football to score a goal via a VAR decision as they overcame Fleetwood 2-0 in their FA Cup replay. Kelechi Iheanacho scored in each half but it was his strike 13 minutes from time that required intervention. Referee Jonathan Moss asked to check if the striker was offside before finishing off Riyad Mahrez's reverse pass. Replays showed Iheanacho was onside when the ball was played and the goal stood to see Leicester progress to a fourth-round tie away at Peterborough.
Chelsea 1-1 Norwich (Chelsea win 5-3 on penalties), FA Cup, Jan. 17
Willian was clearly clipped by Canaries defender Timm Klose in the first half of extra-time, although referee Graham Scott may have decided the Chelsea forward was already going to ground. However, despite VAR official Mike Jones watching a number of different camera angle replays, he advised Scott his initial decision did not need to be changed.
Liverpool 2-3 West Brom 3, FA Cup, Jan. 27
Liverpool were dumped out of the FA Cup by West Brom in a match littered with VAR referrals which caused confusion on the pitch and in the stands. Three major incidents in the first half of the Reds' 3-2 defeat required the intervention of technology -- including the first time a match referee has used a pitchside television replay. Although it eventually led to the correct decisions being made it took almost four minutes between Mohamed Salah being fouled and Craig Pawson awarding a penalty, leaving supporters and players on all sides angry and frustrated.
Huddersfield 0-2 Manchester United, FA Cup, Feb. 17
Juan Mata had a goal disallowed, having been caught narrowly offside, during Manchester United's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory. Match referee Kevin Friend had awarded a goal until the VAR's lengthy intervention. There was controversy after those viewing on BT Sport were shown images of Mata's positioning amid crooked lines that created further confusion surrounding the decision.
Tottenham 6-1 Rochdale, FA Cup replay, Feb. 28
Erik Lamela thought he had fired Tottenham ahead only for VAR Graham Scott to controversially rule it out due to slight tugs on Harrison McGahey's shirt by Fernando Llorente. Lucas Moura was then felled by McGahey in the area, with no penalty the eventual -- but far from definitive -- decision, before Spurs were awarded a spot-kick when Kieran Trippier was held back by Matt Done.
VAR again intervened, this time seemingly deciding that because the foul had continued into the area Tottenham should be awarded a penalty. It was only in keeping with the tone of slapstick when Son Heung-Min, having paused during his run-up, had his successful penalty disallowed and was booked for his troubles. Tierney double-checked with VAR, naturally, with more time wasted and players and fans becoming more and more bemused.