Trossard handball against Man United. Red cards for Ayling Leeds and Fabinho, Liverpool player?

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) causes controversy every week in the Premier League, but how are decisions made and are they right?

After each weekend, we take a look at the most famous events and examine the process in terms of the VAR protocol and the laws of the game.

The most violent moments of the VAR: Two Alisson red cards in one match
How has the VAR affected all English Premier League clubs?
The English Premier League VAR: The Ultimate Guide

Possible disallowed goal: Handball by Trossard

What happened: Brighton and Hove Albion were already 3-0 ahead when Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot tried to keep the ball off the line, but he managed to only kick it at Leandro Trossard, and it bounced into the goal.

VAR Decision: No handball, the goal stands.

VAR review: Undoubtedly, the clearance hit Trussard on the chest. The question was whether the ball had moved his arm before it entered the goal.

Video Assistant Referee Chris Kavanagh watched the goal re-score from several angles, but there was no conclusive evidence that the ball had hit Trussard’s arm. If so, the goal should not be allowed because you cannot score with your arm/hand, even if the contact is accidental.

In these situations, the VAR is looking for a replay that shows beyond reasonable doubt that the ball hit the arm and that the on-court decision was incorrect. There was no angle showing any kind of evidence of handball, so the VAR was right to allow the goal.

There was a perfect comparison in Sunday’s game, when Norwich City’s Sam Byram thought he had scored against West Ham United.

However, Byram hit the ball with his arm before scoring. Unlike the Trossard, this was visible from three different camera angles, so the VAR, Graham Scott, had the simple task of telling the referee not to allow the goal.

VAR overturned: Eyling red card

What happened: Arsenal were already 2-0 up when Luke Ailing tried to tackle Gabriel Martinelli with a corner flag. The Leeds United player entered with his feet off the ground, but referee Chris Kavanagh showed only a yellow card.

VAR Decision: Video Assistant Referee John Brooks advised the referee that the yellow card should be promoted to a red.

VAR review: The only real surprise was that the VAR took so long to report the red card, and even then the referee needed an extended look at the screen before changing his decision to the red card.

Ayling was off the ground with both feet, making the challenge with his studs showing. It was a worse tackle than Granit Xhaka’s against Manchester City at the start of the season, although the red card was shown by the referee and did not follow the VAR review.

The only thing that could have saved Ayling was that the challenge wasn’t great, which is why Kavanaugh only warned him at first. But the nature of the challenge, with both feet off the ground, was a clear case of dangerously poor play endangering the opponent’s safety.



Steve Nicholl’s reaction to Liverpool’s draw with Tottenham and how it affects their pursuit of the Premier League title.

Possible red card: Fabinho on Jr

What happened: In the 80th minute of the match, Fabinho vigorously challenged Son Heung-min and in his attempt to win the ball grabbed Spurs with his elbow. Fabinho received a yellow card.

VAR Decision: No red card, and the warning was deemed sufficient.

VAR review: Video referee Darren England quickly looked into the incident, but saw the yellow card as a justified decision by the referee.

This is the main difference between Ayling and Fabinho chronicles. A key consideration in the VAR is whether the card presented by the referee is an incorrect decision within the Laws of the Game. In Fabinho’s case, the argument can certainly be made for caution; With Ayling, the nature of the treatment made it hard to argue against Red card.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that referee Michael Oliver managed the match with a degree of leniency. This meant Fabinho got away with a number of fouls that could have been cautioned another day – so by the time he made that foul on his son, it would have been a second yellow card and thus sent off.

However, this will not change how the VAR assesses the challenge when the player is not on a card yet.

No doubt Fabinho deserved the reservation, but there was no throwing his arm to create strength or an element of brutality. Also, there was no fist from the 28-year-old, which referees use to determine if there was violent intent.

Video Assistant Referee: Loftus-Cheek goal disallowed for offside

What happened: The score was goalless when Ruben Loftus-Cheek thought he had scored from close range.

VAR Decision: After a very lengthy VAR review, Jared Gillett correctly disallowed the goal for offside.

VAR review: The problem wasn’t the final decision but the time it took to reach it and the process Gillette went through. He spent quite a bit of time checking out a potential first offside against Antonio Rudiger after a near-post flick.

Next, VAR had to check if Romelu Lukaku or Leander Dendoncker had touched the ball before it passed through Loftus-Cheek to score. If Lukaku plays it, this is a clear offside. If Dendoncker, Chelsea’s top scorer couldn’t be offside.

The review would have been much faster had Gillette focused first on the offside against Loftus-Cheek, as the offside position was in doubt. All that needs to be confirmed is that the ball was touched by a member of the team.

VAR overturned: penalty to Chelsea

What happened: The result was still goalless in the 52nd minute when Romelu Lukaku fell under a challenge from Romain Saiss. Referee Peter Banks gave a goal kick when the ball went out of play shortly thereafter.

VAR Decision: Gillette reviewed the challenge and advised the referee that it should be a penalty kick.

VAR review: Sais’s mistake wasn’t obvious at first, but replays showed the defender hit Lukaku high in the leg. It was the right decision to award the penalty kick that Lukaku scored himself.

Information provided by the Premier League and PGMOL has been used in this story.

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