Man United FC

Man United involved in three big VAR apologies from the Referees Association after Liverpool worst mistake

Manchester United Finds Themselves in the Midst of VAR Controversies Leading to Apologies

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In the past two seasons, Manchester United has been at the center of three VAR decisions that prompted apologies from the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited).

The recent weekend brought yet another round of controversy fueled by the video assistant refereeing system, prompting Sky Sports (via a tweet from @football_tweet) to compile a list of decisions acknowledged by the referee’s association as incorrect.

While most fans may argue that there are numerous instances, 14 decisions have been officially recognized, with two benefiting Manchester United and one going against them.

The first incident, dating back to September 2022, involved a goal by Arsenal against United that was disallowed.

The statement acknowledges, “Gabriel Martinelli’s goal for Arsenal was ruled out by VAR after Martin Odegaard was incorrectly deemed to have fouled Christian Eriksen in the build-up.”

The second case involving the Red Devils occurred in a match against Aston Villa in November 2022. The apology stated, “Lucas Digne scored a free-kick, but a post-match review concluded the United wall was set too far back, giving the Villa full-back extra room for the set-piece.”

The third incident took place in United’s opening game of the current season against Wolves. The statement reads, “Andre Onana recklessly challenged Sasa Kalajdzic inside the Man Utd box, but VAR Jonathan Moss failed to instruct on-pitch referee Simon Hooper to check the pitchside monitor for a penalty.”

While these refereeing errors have plagued the game in the past two years, the inclusion of the Onana incident in the list of apologies is particularly intriguing.

Onana’s challenge, where he did not make contact with the ball, raised questions about VAR’s judgment and the definition of a clear and obvious error.

Contrast this with the events of the recent Saturday’s game, where two handball incidents—one in favor of United and one against—might have warranted a pitchside review by the referee. Yet, neither was brought to the referee’s attention by the VAR.

Against Arsenal, Erik ten Hag expressed frustration over three decisions that went against United, including a potential foul by Gabriel on Rasmus Hojlund in the penalty area.

Towards the end of the previous season, a fan compiled a video montage showcasing numerous decisions that went against United during that campaign, many of which appeared to warrant some form of explanation from the PGMOL.

While it’s common for fans of every club to feel that referees are biased against them, there seems to be a recurring pattern concerning Manchester United.

Referees are human, as evidenced by Mike Dean’s recent admission of not using VAR to contact his friend Anthony Taylor during a Chelsea vs.

Tottenham game to “avoid causing him extra grief.” Such admissions highlight the need for a revised and less subjective system where personal preferences and personalities do not unduly influence particular clubs.

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