November 15, (THEWILL) – The audio from the VAR review of Newcastle’s controversial goal against Arsenal has provided insight into the decision-making process. Referee Stuart Attwell’s original decision to award the goal was upheld, after a lengthy four-minute review by VAR Andy Madley and assistant VAR, Stuart Burt.
Their conversation was aired on Sky Sports’ Match Officials Mic’d Up programme. In the audio, Madley states he saw no conclusive evidence the ball went out of play in the build-up. On the potential foul by Joelinton on Arsenal’s Gabriel, he said: “I don’t see a specific foul…I don’t see anything of a push that warrants him flying forward like that.” The offside was impossible to call definitively too due to the players being so close together.
With no clear and obvious error established, the VAR officials stuck with Attwell’s on-field call to allow Anthony Gordon’s goal. This enraged Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta, who labelled it a “disgrace” in his post-match interview. Arteta felt the goal should have been ruled out and criticised the standard of officiating.
However, PGMOL chief, Howard Webb, has defended the VAR process. While admitting the decisions were subjective, he insists there was insufficient evidence to overturn the on-field call. The tight offside, potential foul and ball being close to the line were all marginal decisions with no clear camera angle.
The goal proved decisive as Newcastle claimed a controversial 1-0 victory over Arsenal. Yet, Arteta’s fury at the decision being upheld after a marathon review has put the VAR system under fresh scrutiny. This VAR audio gives an insight into how the officials reached their judgement, even if it will not appease Arteta and Arsenal.