'Ruining football': VAR uproar after 'worst decision in history'

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Seen here, Leeds striker Patrick Bamford was called offside in a highly contentious VAR decision.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford was at the centre of a massive VAR controversy in the Premier League. Pic: Optus Sport/Getty

Another Premier League round has been completed and once again VAR controversies are dominating the wash-up.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford insists VAR is "ruining football" after he was harshly denied a goal because of a mystifying offside decision at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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It was just one of several incidents that has left the football world outraged over the controversial use of video technology in the game.

Bamford thought he had made it 1-1 with a well-taken finish but his effort was checked by VAR and it was deemed that his arm had been in an offside position when the ball was passed to him.

He was actually pointing to where he wanted the ball played and because of a change to the handball rule this season his shoulder/armpit was deemed to be in an offside position.

"I don't understand the rule," Bamford told the BBC after Leeds's 4-1 Premier League defeat at Selhurst Park. "You can't score with your arm. It doesn't make sense. It's happened with me today but I've seen it on numerous occasions.

"It's ruining football. You want to see goals. To have it ruled out for something like that is daft. Even the referee couldn't make sense of it. When the players and the officials can't make sense of it... does it make sense?"

It is the latest of many goals that have been chalked off after forensic analysis of offside decisions -- jokingly referred to as armpit offsides.

BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage described the decision as the "worst" he's ever seen.

"His body is onside, he's pointing to where he wants the ball. The line has been drawn on his arm, where it's not handball, on his sleeve, that's what they're saying is offside," he said. "That is quite incredible. That is the most unbelievable one we've ever seen. Wow."

“That is the worst I’ve ever seen. That is the worst (decision) I’ve ever seen in the history of football.”

Bamford incident one of several controversies

Former England striker Gary Lineker said it was ridiculous while there was sympathy for Bamford from Palace manager Roy Hodgson.

"There are so many decisions that everyone wants to contest that are not really correct, so why should this week be any different?" he said. "It's quite cruel."

Former referee Peter Walton said the decision had been technically correct.

"The handball law includes that t-shirt area of your body where you can't be accused of handball," he told the Yorkshire Post. "Any part of your body that you can score from is offside so unfortunately for Patrick Bamford there he has been caught with the new interpretation of the handball law."

Bamford's was far from the only controversial VAR moment in the Premier League over the weekend, with Liverpool and Wolves both on the wrong end of harsh handball calls.

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez voiced his exasperation with the handball law after conceding a penalty in the champions' 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

The England international was adjudged to have handled a Kevin De Bruyne cross shortly before half-time at the Etihad Stadium when referee Craig Pawson checked the pitchside monitor.

Gomez appeared to be trying to get his arm out of the way when the ball struck him but the VAR process was not in his favour.

Fortunately for Liverpool's sake, De Bruyne missed the opportunity to convert the penalty as the Reds hung on for a point.

Gomez told Sky Sports: “I think then it’s frustrating when the referee goes to look in slow motion when something has happened in real time and De Bruyne hit the ball as hard as he has.

“It just hit my hand. I don’t think there was much I could do about it. He’s hit the ball that hard and that is that.”

Wolves were even harder done by in their 1-0 loss to Leicester after Jamie Vardy scored from another controversial penalty, following a VAR review.

Vardy converted from the spot after Wolves rookie Max Kilman was adjudged to have handled Dennis Praet's cross in the 14th minute.

Referee Anthony Taylor initially gave it as a corner for Leicester before overturning his own decision after checking on the VAR monitor pitchside.

The penalty looked incredibly harsh on Wolves, with Kilman so close to the man crossing the ball and his arms in a natural position at his sides.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo couldn't hide his frustrations at what turned out to be the defining moment of the match.

"It’s difficult to coach a player and tell him that he must put his arms away. That would create unbalance," the Wolves manager said after the game.

"What we expect from VAR is fair, consistent decisions and this is not happening. Week in, week out, we see different things. Until they get it right we’ll be talking about it over and over again. We have enough problems already in football.”

with agencies

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