Jamie Carragher believes the decision by the video assistant referee to disallow Gabriel Jesus’ late winner for Manchester City against Tottenham was “VAR at its best”.
Jesus’ goal against Tottenham was disallowed after a VAR review spotted that the ball had deflected to him off the hand of City defender Aymeric Laporte.
Under changes to the laws of the game which took effect from June 1, any use of the hand which leads to a goal or a goalscoring opportunity will be penalised, whether intentional or otherwise.
There was some criticism of the decision, but former Liverpool defender Carragher believes the technology did its job.
“I think VAR has taken some unjust criticism,” Carragher told Sky Sports. “I think in some cases it has been absolutely fantastic and a massive success and that was evident in what happened in the last minute at Man City.
“VAR was brilliant on this. If people have got a problem, it is with the law. I personally think handball should be disallowed if the person scores with the hand, not sets one up. But it is there in law. So that is VAR at its best.
“It spots something that no-one else has spotted, that’s what it’s there for. Also a lot of the players coming out and saying ‘what is this rule? What if it hits the defender, does it count?’
“The players don’t know what’s going on and that’s because, you know when the referees come in to a meeting as they do every year, they (the players) are on the phones, they are not listening, they haven’t got a clue what the rules are. I was probably the same (as a player).
“We went to that meeting at Stockley Park, we were told about the handball rule. You may not agree with it but it is there as a rule and that for me is VAR at its best.”
VAR was introduced into the Premier League for the first time this season having been used in the domestic cup competitions and at international tournaments.
Some pundits have already suggested that VAR should be scrapped, but former Manchester United defender Gary Neville feels its use should be widened even further.
“I think the factual stuff is a no-brainer, the stuff like the handball on Saturday, the offside stuff. It’s perfection and it has to be better for the game,” Neville said. “Accuracy is important on big goals and moments.
“For me, and it’s the fear I had when I went to Stockley Park a few weeks ago, is these subjective calls where they say they won’t overturn the referees’ decision on the pitch unless it’s clear and obvious.
“I think they will alter the test. It’s too high, they have backed themselves into a corner.
“The Rodri one (a potential foul by Erik Lamela on the midfielder at the Etihad). That is a penalty. Michael Oliver (referee) is not watching the incident, it’s impossible for a referee to see every incident at a corner.
“This is why VAR was brought in. That is an absolute stonewall penalty. He has got his arms around his neck. They have set such a high bar on what they said were subjective calls that they are basically nervous of overturning the referee on the pitch.
“I think if Michael Oliver saw that again he would want you to overturn it. They have to have the nerve and the courage to make the big call in the truck.
“I’m sure it will change. I think we will start to see more subjective calls overturned.”
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