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PGMOL Chief Webb on VAR: Gordon's Goal and Wolves' Penalty Decision

 PGMOL Chief Webb on VAR: Gordon's Goal and Wolves' Penalty Decision

Anthony Gordon of Newcastle United
Anthony Gordon of Newcastle United scores the team's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal FC at St. James Park on November 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.(Image-Getty) 

Howard Webb, the chief of the Referees body (PGMOL), addressed the controversy surrounding Anthony Gordon's goal for Newcastle United against Arsenal earlier this month. Webb stated that there was no conclusive evidence available for the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to disallow Gordon's goal at St James' Park on Nov. 4.

The VAR review, which included checking if the ball went out of play, assessing the possibility of a foul in the build-up, and examining for offside, allowed Gordon's goal to stand. Despite Arsenal manager Arteta's critical remarks on match officials after the 1-0 defeat, Webb defended the decision, emphasizing the lack of clear evidence to overturn the goal.

Webb explained, "The ball then comes over, and Joelinton challenges Gabriel (Magalhaes), and it could be a foul, might be a foul. The VAR decides that the evidence from the footage isn't clear enough to intervene with a recommendation for a review for a clear error. So again, no conclusive evidence that Gordon was offside when the ball was last touched. The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal. The process was actually correct."

However, Webb acknowledged that VAR fell short during the Wolverhampton Wanderers game against Newcastle the previous month. In this instance, Newcastle was awarded a penalty after a challenge by Wolves' Hwang Hee-chan on Fabian Schar, a decision criticized by Wolves manager Gary O'Neil as "scandalous."

Webb expressed, "We feel this is a situation that reaches the threshold for a clear and obvious error even though there is contact and the ball isn't played by Hwang. VAR didn't quite get there and, in our opinion, should have done."

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