LONDON: VAR has made an instant, controversial impact on English football after being introduced competitively only last week in selected ties in the third round of the FA Cup.
On Monday Kelechi Iheanacho became the first player in English football to be awarded a goal after the use of the video assistant referee when Leicester beat Fleetwood 2-0. Iheanacho’s second goal was disallowed initially for offsideand then awarded 67 seconds after it hit the net.
Last night/Wednesday the use of VAR infuriated Chelsea manager Antonio Conte though the Premier League club eventually managed to defeat Norwich 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in their cup replay.
Chelsea won despite finishing with nine men after red cards for Spanish forwards Pedro and Álvaro Morata.
Controversy erupted early in extra time when Chelsea thought they had earned a penalty as Willian fell over the outstretched leg of Timm Klose. Referee Graham Scott booked Willian for diving without, apparently, referring to the VAR.
Conte criticised referee Scott for a “big, big mistake” in choosing not to overturn the decision.
Chelsea’s manager added: “We need to improve if we want to use this new system. There was a very clear situation, with Willian. I watched it and this is a penalty.
“The referee quickly took a decision to book Willian. If you do this quickly it means you don’t have doubt. If you want to improve this system you have to wait to check with the person who is watching. At least you must have a doubt, because there is a kick to Willian.
“Maybe it’s not a penalty, but it’s better if you go [to VAR].”
Norwich manager Daniel Farke questioned the rush to introduce VAR when its practical application was causing so many teething troubles.
He said: “I’m a bit old fashioned and not a deep believer in changing the game too much. I like it when it’s simple.
“We have to be open if technology can improve the quality of decisions. It’s a good idea, but a bit tricky to handle. It doesn’t work from the start, so we need some time. It’s up to the referees to find the best way to handle it.”
English football saw the first use of the VAR in a competitive game as Brighton knocked Crystal Palace out of the FA Cup on Monday, January 8.