Jamie Redknapp believes Saturday marked the VAR’s worst day since its introduction in the Premier League, and questioned the decision to not give Tottenham star Giovani Lo Celso a red card for his stamp on Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
The former Tottenham and Liverpool player didn’t completely blame, David Coote, who was operating VAR for the game, as he feels the pressure the operator must have been under was immense but did question why he was doing a double shift.
Coote was not only the video assistant referee for the Chelsea-Spurs game, but then also had to act as VAR for Leicester-Manchester City afterwards.
“Saturday was possibly the system’s worst day since its introduction,” Redknapp said in his column for the Daily Mail.
“We look at VAR as if it’s the oracle but in reality it’s one man, sat behind a bank of screens at Stockley Park, offering his opinion.
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“It’s not matter of fact — it’s subjective and occasionally he gets it wrong.
“What we all recognised as a red card offence by Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso against Chelsea, David Coote thought otherwise.
“I don’t want to hammer Coote too severely here — he simply had a bad day at the office and it was hardly his fault he had to do a double shift.”
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Match referee Michael Oliver felt Lo Celso’s challenge on Azpilicueta didn’t warrant any further action and Coote decided not to overrule the referee.
However, this left Chelsea boss Frank Lampard furious on sidelines and after the game the Blues manager insisted that VAR as it currently is, isn’t good enough.
“Everybody knew they made a mistake,” Lampard said.
“We have the monitor and can view it. I was just waiting for the red card to be shown – not with real pleasure – because it’s just a tackle that endangers the player. That’s what VAR was brought in for, to see things that the referee and the pitch-side [official] don’t see.
“It’s just not good enough.”
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After the clash the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), who are the body responsible for the way the game is officiated, admitted Lo Celso should have been sent off.
A statement from PGMOL said: “[The] view of PGMOL is that it should have been a red card as it ticked the boxes – intensity and point of contact
“But it’s a human being making the subjective decision and he didn’t think it was a red card.”
However, Redknapp has some sympathy for Coote because of the limited time he has to make a decision.
“I visited Stockley Park at the start of the season and was shown how it all works,” Redknapp added.
“Having given the system a go for myself, I do have a degree of sympathy for the officials.
“Imagine being in Coote’s shoes when he has less than 30 seconds to make a game-defining decision.
“He’s rewinding and playing, rewinding and playing, rewinding and playing, desperately trying to make sure he has analysed every angle. We do that in the Sky Sports studio, too.
“It can be easy to overlook something. The pressure on Coote and Co must be immense.”
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