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"Devastating" Walcott decision shows VAR failure | Pat Nevin

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

09:52 13 Jan 2020

The pedantic use of VAR in the Premier League this season has achieved the rare feat of uniting nearly all of the game's stakeholders – albeit in opposition.  

David Moyes is the most recent manager to cast his ire at the system that was introduced to bring clarity and fairness into the league.

Moyes' player Declan Rice joined the condemnation last week, commenting after his side had a goal disallowed: "I don't think pretty much anyone wants to have VAR in the game."

Meanwhile, pundits and presenters across the board and as high profile as Gary Lineker have been constant critics of the system for going against its mandate of correcting only errors that are "clear and obvious".

However, Pat Nevin's latest criticism of VAR use is for what it ignored rather than for what it awarded or disallowed.

Speaking on Monday's Off The Ball Nevin described the decision not to award a penalty for Theo Walcott against Brighton on Saturday as "one of the worst this season".

Despite being visibly pulled back when running into the box, Walcott was not awarded a penalty and Nevin feels it shows the system is not working on a number of fronts.

"I know there have been lots of decisions and lots of anger and comment but we have spent a lot of time trying to get diving out of the game and make sure that players stay on their feet, but give the penalty when it's a penalty kick. It's as clear as clear can be."

"It was a real disappointment that when they had the opportunity to show that all the systems are working well and if players stay on their feet they can still get it.

"It couldn't have been clearer. It was a massive, massive disappointment that they got that wrong."

One proposed benefit of VAR, Nevin pointed out, was that it was meant to eradicate diving from the Premier League but Walcott's phantom penalty on Saturday was proof that players still have to go to ground to get the referee's attention.

"Next time if he does just fall down and lets his legs buckle even though he's just been tugged on the shirt, can you blame him now?" Nevin asked.

"That's disappointing. That's devastating. The players can take the blame but you have got to say the officials were at fault this time."

"They are part of the blame if they don't give that decision."

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Everton Pat Nevin Theo Walcott VAR

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