Howard Webb: ‘VAR made clear error with Newcastle United penalty versus Wolves

Webb: 'VAR made clear error with Newcastle pen versus Wolves'

Last month’s Premier League fixture between the two sides at Molineux ended in a 2-2 draw, Wolves twice having to come from behind to earn a deserved share of the spoils.

Wolves had got back to 1-1 before Newcastle were handed the opportunity to retake the lead from the spot after Hwang Hee-chan was adjudged to have upended Fabian Schar.

Referee Anthony Taylor perceived that Hwang had miscontrolled the ball and then mistimed a challenge, kicking Schar instead of making contact with the ball.

Newcastle United's Callum Wilson scores against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 28, 2023© Reuters

However, replays showed that the South Korea international had held back his foot at the same time that it appeared that Schar looked to instigate contact to draw a foul.

While the two VAR officials agreed that there had been minimal contact, they deemed it not to be a clear and obvious error, resulting in them advising Taylor to keep to his original decision.

Speaking on the latest edition of the Match Officials: Mic’d up programme on Sky Sports, Webb says that VAR should have intervened, and the lack of decision using the technology has led to a small change in protocol going forward.

Webb said: “VAR shouldn’t re-referee the game and be reserved for clear situations when errors occur on the field. In this situation we see Hwang does not play the ball, it is played on to him by Schar and then there is contact between the players.

But what the referee has seen in real time is Hwang bring that leg through and make contact with Schar. If we see the reply Hwang pulls his swing back a little bit, Schar brings his foot through and there’s contact. We feel this reaches the threshold for it being a clear and obvious error, even though there is contact.

“We are asking the VARs going forward to have a look and if they don’t like the decision ask the referee what they saw. If it is significantly different to the video then recommend a review so the referee can look again at the screen.

“In this situation this VAR didn’t quite get there and in our opinion should have done.”

The following week, another decision – their fourth controversial VAR call in 11 Premier League games – went against Wolves, Sheffield United converting a last-gasp penalty to prevail by a 2-1 scoreline.

A Premier League Panel later ruled that referee Robert Jones and the VAR officials had made the wrong call in not overturning the decision.


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