VAR causes controversy again
Brought into English football at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, it has proved to be a point of controversy every day since, with many fans suggesting a “bias” against their club if a decision or multiple decisions don’t go their way. The FA cup final was no different, with Chelsea fans quick to pick up on two decisions that ultimately consigned Thomas Tuchel’s side to defeat in a second FA Cup final running.
🗣 “Disgrace from VAR, FA needs to review that.”
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 16, 2021
A 30 yard strike from Youri Tielemans was the only goal in a tight affair at Wembley, but Chelsea fans immediately raised questions over a potential handball in the build-up by Ayoze Perez, with replays showing that the ball had hit his knee and bounced up onto his arm.
Er…Wasn’t that a massive handball in the build up? Cracking strike mind you
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) May 15, 2021
What the rulebook says:
According to the FA laws of the game handbook, handball is given if “after the ball has touched their or a team-mates hand/arm, even if accidental, [a side] immediately”:
“Scores in the opponent’s goal”
“creates a goalscoring opportunity”.
The laws continue:
“Except for the above offences, it is not an offence if the ball touches a players hand/arm”:
“Directly from the players own head or body (including the foot)”
With seven seconds between Tielemans’ strike and the potential offence, it is clear to see why Chelsea fans feel aggrieved at the decision, as whilst it would not have been a handball if nothing had come of the play, due to the fact that Leicester City had scored, the goal should, unfortunately, have been disallowed as per the official rules.
There is, in fact, previous evidence of this rule being implemented. A stoppage-time equaliser in a game between West Ham United and Sheffield United was ruled out in the 2019/20 season due to the ball hitting Declan Rice’s hand 30 yards from goal before he set up the equaliser.
The only slight, and perhaps significant, difference in this example is that Rice provided the assist for the equaliser, whilst Perez’s handball allowed the ball to drop to a Leicester player, who subsequently provided the assist.
Equaliser ruled out:
It appeared as if Chelsea had rescued the situation in the dying embers of the game, as a combination of full-back Ben Chillwell and Leicester defender Wes Morgan bundling the ball into the Leicester net. VAR once again intervened, however, concluding that Chilwell had strayed fractionally offside in the build-up to the goal, and breaking Chelsea hearts.
I just don’t get VAR.
It can’t call hand-ball on Leicester for their goal, but it can take ours away by calling offside based on millimeters of body parts.
Good for the game? Really?
— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) May 15, 2021
Some Chelsea fans chose to hardly celebrate the goal at all, certain that VAR would yet play a part in breaking hearts in Wembley and across West London.
You’ve got to give it to VAR.
We scored a 90th minute equaliser but because Chilwell looked slightly offside I didn’t even bother celebrating whatsoever.
An FA Cup final.
Taking the game to new levels 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
— Jack (@isoncfc) May 15, 2021
Whilst others pointed out the inconsistency in VAR, not intervening in the Leicester goal but ruling out Chelsea’s.
Gone to VAR..and is ruled out. VAR not a factor for Leicester’s goal, where there was a handball.
— Simon Johnson (@SJohnsonSport) May 15, 2021
As the dust settled, more controversy emerged, as it appeared that VAR used a frame when the ball had already left Thiago Silva’s foot before adjudging Chilwell offside.
Leicester’s goal was handball.
Chelsea’s goal wasnt offside because when they checked it, the ball was in the air, the pass already happened. They should check the moment Thiago Silva touches the ball, Chilwell was going to be onside.
— Billie Gnnl (@whyysoseriouuss) May 16, 2021
Whether he would have been found on or offside (likely still the latter) one frame earlier, it demonstrated the glaring flaw in the technology, which cannot keep up with the play. Judging such minute decisions, as a result, can never be definitive, and is certainly no way to have a heart broken in an FA Cup final.
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