Wednesday 24 October 2018

'A shambles' - Antonio Conte and pundits condemn VAR system after controversial night at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte confronts referee Graham Scott at the end of extra-time. Photo: Getty
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte confronts referee Graham Scott at the end of extra-time. Photo: Getty
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte suggested the new VAR system should be tested for longer before it is introduced into matches after a night of high drama saw the Blues beat Norwich in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea won 5-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 in normal time, but three Chelsea players - Pedro, Willian and Alvaro Morata - were all booked for simulation, with Pedro and Morata subsequently sent off.

While Pedro was guilty of an obvious dive in the second half, and could have no complaints about his subsequent red for bringing down Wes Hoolahan, the other decisions were not so clear cut.

Willian was clearly clipped by Timm Klose, although referee Graham Scott perhaps felt the Brazilian was already going to ground.

Conte offered these views on a night that puts the debate over VAR into full focus on again.

"I think that we need to improve if we want to use the new system," he declared.

"Today in this game there is a situation very clear, with Willian, at the start of extra-time. I think the situation was very clear and I watched and this is a penalty. Very clear. Not that I am unhappy with the referee, because the referee took the decision quickly to book him.

"That means you don’t have doubt, if you do this quickly. If we want to improve, you have to wait to check with the person that is watching the game. Then if this person is sure 100% then you book him.

"The person that is watching the game, at least you must have a doubt because there is a kick to Willian. You have to call the referee that there is a doubt.

"It is better if you go to watch the decision. This is not right. In Italy, before to arrive this new system they tried and tried. If you want to try quickly this new system then you have to find the right solution.

"The final decision is for the referee on the pitch, not the one watching the game."

This is because we want to use a new system and it is my opinion to try to use the new system. You can reduce a lot of mistakes

On BBC One, Alan Shearer called Willian's yellow card a 'shocking decision' and the failure of the video assistant to correct it a 'shambles'.

"We all think that's an obvious penalty here, and he's booked him for diving?" he said. "Who on earth is looking at that screen at Stockley Park? What a shocking decision that is. Shambles."

While Shearer said the decision to book Morata - who then earned a red card for his reaction - was correct, colleague Jermaine Jenas was not so sure.

"It's another incident that I've seen given in the past - but for me Alvaro Morata goes down very easily there," he said. "It's a tough one though, because there is contact, so he's within his rights to go down. I don't envy the referee."

Speaking on Radio 5 Live, Phil Neville expressed regret that the VAR system seemed to have created as many problems as it had solved.

"I'm confused," he said. "I am not a fan. I like the English game as it is, with talking points. Referees get decisions right and get some wrong. That is football.

"If it wasn't for VAR tonight, we'd be talking about it maybe being a penalty. Now we'll be talking about it for the next two days because of VAR."

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