UEFA have released a statement defending the use of VAR in Man City 3-2 Champions League win over Schalke on Wednesday and say that “VAR protocol correctly applied for two penalty decisions”.
The controversy arose during a 10-minute period in the first half in which Schalke were awarded two dubious penalties through VAR when a technical fault meant the referee could not see pitch-side replays.
City were a goal to the good thanks to Sergio Arguero when the ball struck Nicolas Otamendi’s arm in the penalty area. Spanish referee Carols de Cerro Grande took around three minutes to give the penalty as the VAR referee described what had happened due to the screen not working.
The second penalty occurred when Fernandinho was judged to have dragged down Salif Sane as a free-kick was swung into the box. Sane was in an offside position when the foul was made but as the foul occurred before Sane could even attempt to play the ball, and as he was inside the box, it was a penalty.
Nabil Bentaleb scored both spot-kicks to put Schalke 2-1 ahead.
UEFA have defended the use of VAR, placing an emphasis on ‘accuracy over speed’ as both decisions were correct in the eyes of the laws.
A statement on their Website read: “In regards to the first decision, the inability to access the incident replays at the pitchside review area led to a delay in reaching the correct decision to award a penalty kick for a handball offence, while the VAR orally described the situation to the referee to allow him to make a final decision, and for the referee to then provide an explanation to the two team captains to clarify the circumstances regarding the pitchside review area and the decision-making process.
“The second decision was also correctly made on the basis of the Laws of the Game (Law 11 – Offside) which stipulates: “if a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence”.”
However, Pep Guardiola agreed with UEFA and said that both penalty decisions were correct.
The Blues boss said after the game: “It’s a penalty. The second one is too. Offside too. And the red card can be a red card.
“I trust VAR. I have arguments sometimes but not this time. They are both penalties.”
UEFA say they will address the technical failure with its VAR technical supplier to ensure that the issue does not happen again.