Wednesday 23 October 2019

Ref ignored VAR advice to avoid walkout by Cameroon

Cameroon players appeal to match referee Qin Liang after England's second goal was given by VAR after an offside call. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
Cameroon players appeal to match referee Qin Liang after England's second goal was given by VAR after an offside call. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire

Katie Whyatt

The referee of England's last-16 victory twice overruled the video assistant referee late on to prevent Cameroon players from abandoning the match.

Qin Liang was concerned Cameroon would walk off the pitch when she rejected advice on a Fran Kirby penalty claim and refused to dismiss Alexandra Takounda for a scraped challenge on Steph Houghton.

It is understood that Fifa has backed Liang's decisions, too, given the ugly incidents that preceded the two decisions in a match that threatened to spiral out of control.

Augustine Ejangue had spat on Toni Duggan and the Cameroon team twice seemingly threatened to leave the field when two earlier VAR calls went against them.

Football's governing body is conducting a priority investigation into the unsavoury scenes during England's 3-0 win on Sunday, compiling reports from match officials and the match commissioner, Alexandro Benado, of Chile. It is hoped the inquiry will be concluded today.

Fifa has studied Liang's performance - officially ruled as "good" in the report to Fifa - finding "every decision and the use of VAR correct, using the protocols" and that she tried to get the Cameroon players to restart the game promptly following each flashpoint.

England head coach Phil Neville condemned the "shameful" behaviour of Cameroon's players, saying their actions were "so bad for the image of the game that I've fallen in love with in the past 18 months".

"I sat through 90 minutes of football and felt ashamed," he said. "Proud of my own players' behaviour under circumstances that I've never seen on a football field before, and completely and utterly ashamed of the behaviour of the opposition."

Telegraph.co.uk

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